When We Don't Slip Into Distraction


If you're a parent with kids currently on school holidays then I'm guessing you've probably heard this quite a few times - 'I'm bored'. It's probably followed up pretty quickly with a request to get on whatever technology is closest by. Am I right? We all experience boredom, that's for sure. But what we do next (or don't do) is where outcomes vary significantly.

"Boredom always precedes a period of great creativity.” - Robert M. Pirsig

Last week I got to spend some time with a facilitator friend. We always love chatting about the art of facilitation, but also always get lost in questions and ideas that grab our attention within the conversation. As we spoke we got stuck on the concept of fun. And the cycle that he shared to achieve it was such an important reminder for us all.

"Boredom has an important function, because pushing through it can unleash creativity." - Amy Dickinson

A lot of times people think of fun like a theme park. Entertain me. Thrill me. It's someone else's responsibility to create it. We just have to turn up. Hence why we grab for the iPad and think that'll solve all our boredom issues. But they're just distractions on most occasions. If we're interested in real fun, the fun that builds connection and gives us deep contentment and joy, there's another direction we need to turn.

"Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye" - Dorothy Parker

The 'disciplined eye' referred to above I feel is sitting within the boredom for long enough (without choosing distraction) so we can get to creativity. This is because it's through creative expression that the real fun I described above is unlocked. It doesn't mean that technology can't be a part of this process at all. What it does mean though is just mindlessly grabbing at distraction (in whatever form that takes) keeps us at arms length from feeling lit up by how we're spending our time.

"Don't try to 'fix' the child's boredom - rather, let the child find his or her inner resources." - Julia Cameron

So I wonder, what's your tolerance level like when you experience boredom? Are you a quick trigger to distraction? Or a slow burn to induce creativity that can lead to real fun? There'd be a situational element to your responses I'm sure, but it's interesting to reflect on our patterns of thoughts, words and actions that impact significantly our journeys of potential. What practices do you use to mindfully navigate bypassing the easy slipping into distraction? And how do you then choose to model, support and foster those within your spheres of influence?

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