Practicing “Boredom”

I’ve always loathed boredom. Any time I heard a friend say “I’m bored”, I’ve always felt sorry for them. My response would be, “How does that even work? Find something to learn. Find something to create. It’s the 21st century, and you have a smart phone; the entire world is at your fingertips. How can you possibly be bored?” I can’t remember a single time in the last several years when I’ve truly felt “bored”. If my day is at a lull, I can turn on a podcast, quiz myself on something I’m learning using Quizlet, or browse the vast void of the Internet for various learning topics (recent favorites: Church history, population density around the world, and differing perspectives on what sidewalks should be made of). One of my favorite go-to spots when things are slow is TED.com. I recently listened to a talk by Manoush Zomorodi called “How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas”. The premise is that the human mind solves problems subconsciously, and it does that best when it’s given long periods of quiet time. During times that we might normally get a sense of “boredom”, such as while folding laundry or sitting in a waiting room outside an office, the mind might actually be working productively in ways that it otherwise can’t. Zomorodi suggests that these quiet times should actually be sought out. This is contrasted with the nonstop “busyness” produced by constant connection: You have five seconds before your webpage loads, so you check your email; you’re standing in line for 10 minutes, so you watch a video; basically your brain...