The internet has done so much good for almost all of us, but one bad thing it’s done is that it’s taken away our boredom. Years ago, there were times when there was just literally nothing to do. That could be annoying, and it frequently was, but that also can lead to great insights.
In an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep, Pamela Paul put it this way:
“In order to either be in the moment completely mindlessly or to generate that thing we call output – like, to have an original idea or to do something creative or just to have suddenly something sort of strike you, “out of nowhere” – you have to stop all that input.”
That makes me think of two things.
First, a severe lack of input can sometimes be a problem. As I said last year, in order for me to write more, I need to read more. Boredom doesn’t help much if you don’t have problems crawling around for your brain to crunch on.
More importantly, though, those quiet moments are indeed where things can really become clear in your head. I’ve shared a few times about my practice of periodic “clarity breaks”, where I intentionally sit for a while with no distractions. If boredom won’t find me, I need to find it.
I’m very thankful for the wonderful things that our always-on connections have brought us, but it’s worth taking a bit of time off now and then to let your brain work some magic on its own. I hope you find time to do that periodically, particularly over these past few weeks.