Leslie Barker, a writer at the Dallas Morning News, got in touch with me way back in October and asked me about a subject I consider myself an expert on: the benefits of boredom.
Here’s what I wrote in Steal Like An Artist:
When it comes to the benefits of boredom, I’m certainly not the first to write about the subject…
Neil Gaiman: “The best way to come up with new ideas is to get really bored.”
Steve Jobs: “I’m a big believer in boredom. Boredom allows one to indulge in curiosity, and out of curiosity comes everything.”
Peter Bregman: “Being bored is a precious thing, a state of mind we should pursue. Once boredom sets in, our minds begin to wander, looking for something exciting, something interesting to land on. And that’s where creativity arises.”
Scott Adams: “I’ve noticed that my best ideas always bubble up when the outside world fails in its primary job of frightening, wounding or entertaining me.”
Joseph Brodsky: “Boredom is your window… Once this window opens, don’t try to shut it; on the contrary, throw it wide open.”
Albert Einstein: “Creativity is the residue of time wasted.”
The trouble is that we live in an age in which we never get ourselves the chance to be bored. All the entertainment we could ever dream of is at our fingertips, waiting on the phone in our pants pocket.
I think the time is ripe for us all to recognize boredom as the delicacy it is. Here’s a quote from Leslie’s piece, “How Boredom is becoming anything but boring”:
“I think boredom might make a comeback,” he says from his home in Austin. “I think it’s almost a luxurious thing, a decadent thing. To allow yourself to be bored is almost like a pampering thing. I can see a boredom ranch: ‘Come here and be bored!’ ”
See you at the ranch!
Update: the folks at Texas Standard read Leslie’s piece and had me in the studio to talk boredom: