Boredom – the golden time

I came across a TED video 2 days ago linked from the Intel Labs’ blog postDr. Genevieve Bell, an anthropologist (yes, she is) from Intel Labs (yes, the tech giant behind your smart stuffs), gave a talk about another perspective about being bored.

It is quite interesting that the word “boredom” was just invented about 150 years ago. And, this word has become more tangible after industrial revolution. People before the revolution were just idle. After the revolution, we are taught that being bored is bad. We must find things to do all the time. You can listen a brief narration of boredom definition from her talk around 5:12.

Hence, we desperately find ways to get rid of boredom all the time no matter what the definition of “boredom” is. Since there is (extremely huge) need, companies can see this is a source of profit! You can see we have so many distractions all around us to keep us away from being bored. Sports, shops, televisions, smartphones (I spent most time of these! Ugh!) and etc., you name it, are created to fill that gap of your time.

Boredom, in my idea, is when your brain is very active. It wants to engage in things so much, but it does not how to release its energy out in a proper way. It starts wandering inside. It keeps looping on and on and on. So, you start to feel the pain of nothing to do. That is when the engagement comes in such low time. You will eventually interact with something, start engaging. It can be in intangible realm as thoughts or tangible realm as activities.

From that, boredom leads to engagement. Engagement leads to creation. People are defined by what they do, and boredom pushes them to do something. In my case, I don’t like to go outside if I don’t have an appointment with friends. I will just play games. When I completed a game, I will go looking and buying another one. In my hometown, Bangkok, people usually spend their time in department stores.They don’t even know what they will do after arriving there. But, they know there are more things to do than lying at home. Videos below are documentaries about Thai culture about “Why do we go to department stores?” and “Rights to be lazy”. Unfortunately, they are only in Thai language.

Most of us cannot stay idle, so we have to do something. And that, we can see the circulation of money rooting from a tumid feeling, boredom. It is a source of profit. Next time you feel bored, you should try observe yourself of what you will do. You may discover a new business out from your activity niche.


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