I still remember spending my evenings gazing aimlessly at the sky...just absorbing its beauty and observing the shapes that white clouds sketch over the clear blue sky. Not to forget that those were the times when my mind wandered into the unknown and in those moments, I discovered the creative side of me. Every time I let my mind stray and do just nothing, a bundle of thoughts and ideas made its way through the idleness and boredom. It was at these times when words involuntarily found its place and took the form of poems which I still cherish, even after 20 years.
I eventually grew up and started writing as a professional. The best creations continued to happen via thoughts which erupted early mornings when I sat with a cup of coffee in my balcony or at a time when I was extremely bored and my boredom gave space to thoughts.
Then came the smart phone era and I became the proud owner of my first smart phone. Suddenly boredom and solitude was a thing of the past as I always had my best friends around me: Facebook, Twitter, Videos, games, etc. I was enjoying every bit of it and was in love with my new found companion which engaged me like no other. At the same time, something more was happening. My creativity was taking a backseat and I had no explanation for that. Never could I relate the two things together. After all, what does a phone have to do with what I write? Or is it that my phone did not let me think? Was I too absorbed in it?
It did not take me very long to realize...Gosh! It was actually happening. I had stopped thinking, daydreaming. I was engaged all through and my brain felt suffocated amidst all this. Boredom, which had been brutally murdered by my smart phone, was actually a fodder for my creativity. It was boredom that led me to think extraordinary. Letting my mind idle pushed me beyond my limits and motivated me to do something more creative. It was in my most boring moments that the best ideas emerged.
Boredom creates restlessness and challenges your mind to seek something more interesting. It sparks creativity. This fact has also been concluded in an amusing research conducted recently. A group of subjects were asked to do something boring like copying the numbers from a phonebook. Thereafter a creative test was taken and all were asked to find different uses for a pair of cup. Interestingly, the bored group came up with more creative uses for the pair of cup than the non-bored group. The former were stimulated by their boredom and led towards finding unique uses of the cup.
Researcher, Karen Gasper, says “Boredom operates similarly to feeling happy or excited. It results in you trying to approach something that, in this case, is more meaningful or interesting. It encourages people to explore because it signals that your current situation is lacking so it’s kind of a push to seek out something new.”Contrary to the saying “An idle mind is a devil’s workshop”, I have learned by my experience, that it is not always so. Not that I am technology-averse and have quit using smart phones altogether, but I have set my limitations and let my mind go off limits and wander into the wild every now and then.