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September 7th, 2020

There are certain boring things that we must do: taxes, visits to the dentist, taking out the garbage.  These mostly consist of the inconvenient detritus of a society that has not reached the sort of technological maturity that would automatically take care of all these things.  Otherwise, there is an entire host of things we do - or don’t do - which inspire a boredom which we don’t appropriately appreciate.


Nassim Nicholas Taleb has written about procrastination as a useful tool regarding what he should and shouldn’t write about.  If he has a chapter in mind that he keeps putting off, he takes it as a sign that perhaps it shouldn’t be written.  The logic: why should I force both the reader and myself through something that neither enjoy?


The logic is simple, but perhaps should be taken to a greater extreme.  Just consider if it were applied to one’s job.  How many people are stuck in a boring job because of a host of obligations they’ve grown entangled in?  How many, if given the choice would gladly switch it up?


Boredom, in this sense is a useful metric: it’s the underwhelming sidekick of curiosity that tells you what to minimize.  If the job is boring, then perhaps it’s time to find an interesting route out.  Obligations and responsibilities might not make this easy, but interesting is rarely easy.  And the journey itself can be seen as the new, interesting job.  How exactly do I wiggle my way out of this situation and plop myself into a more interesting situation that makes money to fulfill my responsibilities and obligations?


Perhaps many people don’t think this way because the boring job, the boring task, the boring life trains us to continually expect something easy - something boring.  We train ourselves into an unsolvable paradox:  if you’re used to a boring life, how exactly does a person find the inspiration to create an interesting escape?


One way is to simply firebomb one’s own life.  Nothing jogs the rusty gears of creativity like an epic day of quitting combined with a near breakdown about what to do next.


In lieu of such drastic tactics, one can start small by merely getting frisky with the job at hand: how much of this is extraneous.  And how much can I get away with not doing in order to make the stuff I do do, that much better?  Can this job be leveraged into a remote position where I can control my own schedule and start allocating more time to other avenues?


We frantically run from boredom each day by inundating our minds with mindless social feeds and underwhelming entertainment.  The paradox exists here too.  The best entertainment is what you create for yourself.  The book you write, the pilot show you script, the piece of art you make.


Those bound for truly satisfying lives have figured out that it’s possible to stitch the two lessons together: to make money from a creative way of entertaining yourself.


Writers do this,

Painters do this,

Artists of all types,

And particularly: the entrepreneur does this.


All use boredom as a reverse-north-star: it’s something to avoid.  It tells you which direction you shouldn’t be headed.

Check out the Tinkered Thinking   Reading List

Dive in to the Archives

Podcast Ep. 876: Utility of Boredom

Tinkered Thinking

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