“Many people live with assorted states of boredom – and yes, some parts of life (paying bills, loading the dishwasher) are quite dull. But giving in to living a life that feels tedious can ultimately be very destructive, says life coach and author, Lauren Zander. Boredom is a state of mind, she says – in her view, this truth is very, very powerful.
The Destructive Part
People who are bored at work start showing up late, making mistakes and otherwise begin to act in ways that may eventually lead to the exit door (or at least, keep them stuck doing the same job without much prospect of advancement). Boredom can also destroy relationships. No longer excited about the other person, people quit paying attention to conversations or doing nice things for their spouse
Some even use their boredom to justify having an affair. Boredom doesn’t strike only in romantic relationships. It can also cause you to take friends, siblings, even your children for granted.
Boredom can even arise in areas where you have achieved success – precisely because you have succeeded. Say you have a wonderful job and are on the top of the career ladder, but you find yourself getting restless and, yes, bored. The reason is simply that you have attained mastery (and kudos to you!) and now it just feels like the same-old, same-old.
Boredom feeds on itself
It often breeds laziness and yet even more dissatisfaction. When you’re bored, you do nothing, which leads to… being bored. If you are sitting on the couch being bored, you are not reading books that suggest new adventures or challenge your old way of thinking. You aren’t out enjoying events and activities and interactions with others. You are not engaging in activities that are creative, fun, stimulating or enriching.
Of course, you’re bored!
But, flat as it may make you feel, Zander does not see boredom as one-dimensional at all… in fact, it has many layers, she says. If you find yourself saying, “it is what it is” about your boring life, it’s partly out of laziness, partly indifference, and also likely has elements of fear and depression, too.
All this wrapped up tightly in the belief that you cannot do anything to make life better. People blame outside forces for their boredom… their same old job, spouse, house… everything but themselves.”
Boredom is a Choice
Boredom may be an inevitable part of life, but it’s not a life sentence – it’s a signal that you need to find something interesting to do!
Begin to start looking to learn something from your boredom. It may mean that you have achieved your goals in one part of your life, so it is time to create a change for yourself – perhaps search out new challenges that you could add to your job description or maybe even look for a new position. Or if your weekends are empty and dull because they’re no longer filled with your children’s lives, it’s time to schedule new activities of your own.
Here’s the powerful part: Becoming aware of your boredom shows you the parts of life where you are letting things just exist rather than taking action to shape them to your liking.
So now you can do something about it.
Take an inventory of your current life
Look for areas where you have become lazy, slightly depressed, indifferent and feel resigned about facing another day. These are all indicators of boredom. They are your signals to step in to start making change. It is important to be careful when you look at this so you don’t confuse boredom with contentment. Contentment is when you truly are at peace with the way things are. Boredom leaves you unhappy with the status quo.
Bringing Zing into Your Life
Finding ways to bring some zing into your life isn’t hard. When people consider making changes in their lives, they tend to think globally, as if they have to change everything. Not so! In fact, the best way to get going is with very small changes, which may be as simple as adding air to the tires of your bike and going for a ride, getting in the car and heading out for a field trip to a town you’ve never visited, or even going food shopping in a very different sort of place like a farmer’s market or gourmet shop.
If your relationship with your spouse seems stagnant, you can change that by taking small steps as well. Take a trip together, ask for a kiss in the morning, or do something new together each week – slowly inch your way back to where you would like your relationship to be. Try something new and different to engage your imagination and emotions. Start by breaking the boredom of the moment, and then go on to making plans to break the cycle in more important areas where you feel stuck.
It is important to remember that boredom is actually a valuable signal that can energize you and put you back in power. Pay attention to your “boredom radar” so that you spot it quickly, before it harms the quality of your life.
You are the driver in your life . . . and that is a powerful thoug
Take just a moment and consider these areas of your life . . . Career, Family, Marriage, Hobbies/Personal Pursuits, and Spiritual Life/Making a Difference. On a scale of 1 to 5, provide a score in terms of your personal level of contentment, with 5 being very content/full of zest and 1 being not content/bored. In those areas that you ranked the lowest, take a moment to jot down a couple of small steps that you can take to put some “zest” back into these specific areas of your life.
What areas of your life have you encountered boredom?
How did boredom, if applicable, contribute to challenges in your relationship?
In what ways can boredom cause conflict in your relationship? (Example: one partner is content while the other is bored.)
Think of a personal example of how contentment or achievement can eventually turn into boredom?
How does recognizing boredom help you as a couple? (Example: realized that our spiritual life lacked fulfillment and we found a new church with a more active congregation.)
What are some of the steps you may have taken to bring ‘zest’ back to your relationship or life?
In considering the earlier self-evaluation of the various areas of your life, what do you view as your most significant area that needs attention to address boredom right now.
[quote]Connecting Conversations to have with your partner[/quote]
In what ways can we work together to beat boredom in our relationship? How do I feel about this?
Adapted from an article by Lauren Handel Zander.
LAUREN HANDEL ZANDER is a life coach, university lecturer, public speaker, and the Co-Founder and Chairwoman of Handel Group®, an international corporate consulting and private coaching company based in New York City. Lauren is also the author of Maybe It’s You: Cut the Crap, Face Your Fears, Love Your Life, a no-nonsense, practical manual that helps readers figure out not just what they want out of life, but how to actually get there.