Bored? Really?

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Question for Today: What is a sure-fire sign that an activity, and it doesn’t matter what activity that is, is going to be boring? (If you have kids at home right now, instead of at school, this is a timely question.)

You can be sure that an activity is going to be boring, if the person who is doing it is bored. Now this may sound perfectly obvious – but let’s dig a little deeper into the subject.

Consider the story of a student in college, taking a class in Shakespeare that was enjoyed a great deal. One day, when the discussion centered on “King Lear,” one of the students made the comment that he thought the textbook, “The Complete Works of Shakespeare,” was boring. Well! It seems that the professor drew himself up to his full five feet six inches and said something never to be forgotten. “Young man,” he said, “there are boring books and then there are bored readers reading fascinating books. I am afraid you are one of the latter.”

Some folks believe that boredom is a subtle form of negative thinking. Some have defined boredom as hostility without enthusiasm. It is a surface-level pushing back that often contains elements of fear or anger, and sometimes both. Uncertainty is surely another element to it. Ultimately, it is an attitude, rather than a condition. And since attitudes are learned, they can be unlearned and replaced with more productive attitudes.

So, when you find yourself feeling bored, ask yourself if there is something you are anxious or angry about. Look beneath the surface and see what is draining your enthusiasm, what you are resisting or perhaps, avoiding. Boredom can be a signal that you may be just a step away from doing some real growing.

Remember: boredom, like beauty, is strictly in the eye of the beholder.