Could boredom be a good thing?

Boredom is the key to creativity. It pushes us to explore our minds. It allows us the opportunity to create wonderful thoughts and ideas. Boredom drives us to open our imaginations and consider concepts, languages, and thoughts that we would not have if otherwise occupied. Due in part to contemporary societal trends that reward productivity as a result of realism, we have concluded that boredom, as well as the its tendency to push us towards daydreams and playfulness, are a bad thing. But is it really?

Some of the world’s most creative minds would say it is not.

Robin Williams’ Boring Childhood

*A recent cable TV special about the late Robin Williams began by discussing the comic genius’ childhood. As a kid, Williams developed a fascination with army figures and story creating. He often spent hour upon hour alone in his room when his parents left him with a nanny. Despite the sad image this conjures, Williams used his imagination to keep himself busy, contributing to his off-the-charts creative talents later in life. There are countless stories like these. Stories of creatives inventing things, writing melodies, or developing masterpieces–all during moments of sheer boredom. Still, we seldom think of kids being bored as a good thing. Instead, we enroll them in multiple sports activities and hand them iPads when those are over. We are thankful when they are out of our hair watching some inane show on TV or playing video games.

What to do instead

There are undoubtable benefits to be reaped from putting kids in extra curriculars and taking steps to keep them busy, it is crucial to be mindful of the benefits of boredom, like that experienced by Robin Williams in his childhood. As humans, we experience different moods, ideas, emotions, thoughts, and ideas all the time, and having a moment of boredom here or there allows us to fully contemplate these phenomena when they occur. This allows us the opportunity to better confront our emotions and to better understand ourselves. Boredom is not at all a bad thing; it allows our creative juices to flow.

*A FindingJoy.net parenting blog finds one mother named Karen talking about Why I want my kids to be bored. The post relates how she came to her conclusions after reading a HuffPost article titled I’m Done Making My Kid’s Childhood Magic.  She suddenly began to see boredom as an opportunity.  “Boredom might just be the space in which creativity and tenacity and invention and excitement happen,” she says. “I want them to figure it out – not be told or rely on someone else to provide them with momentary happiness or something to do that just fills the space of boredom but really doesn’t solve it.””

Follow this mom’s lead. Indulge in boredom– something great will come of it.


*Paraphrased from the article Boredom and It’s Perks from Psychology today. Read the complete article here.