The Masters Of Boredom: How Managing The Slow Moments Can Make You Wealthy


Are you feeling a bit bored with life right about now?  With many parts of the world still under pandemic restrictions (due to the COVID-19 virus), I frequently hear people complaining of boredom — both in real life and speaking with acquaintances online.

People are bored with the lockdown life.  They want things to get back to “normal”, with its free international travel, movie theaters, indoor restaurants, bars, as well as concerts, conventions, and other social meetups.

To put it plainly, life under lockdown hasn’t been nearly as entertaining as the “pre”-COVID life many people enjoyed.  People are floundering and feeling incredibly bored.  After-all, there’s only so many TV series and Movies you can binge-watch on Netflix before your brain turns to mush and your waistline expands.

 

What Is Boredom?

While there is no precise definition for what boredom is, boredom is typically as a lack of mental or physical stimulation that leads to feelings of depression or apathy.  This might be due to a lack of challenge, new experiences, or even just enough variety in life to stimulate the neurons in your brain.

Repetition for example, frequently brings on incredible boredom. This, could be what’s causing so many people boredom right now — Repetition of the same day over and over again.  Groundhog Day style.  The same people, the same places, the same food and roughly the same experiences day after day.

cucumber sandwich
Imagine you had to eat cucumber sandwiches every single day for the rest of your life. You’d be easily bored to tears after the first 100 cucumber sandwiches!

So who’s to blame?  Is it the pandemic?

In my view, it’s not the pandemic, it’s us.  Boredom is the twin brother of Laziness.  Laziness gets all the criticism, but Boredom is the twin brother that gets blamed on circumstance….

“The pandemic is keeping me stuck at home and I’m bored to death.”

“Oh, there’s nothing new on TV, I’m so bored.”

“I can’t visit my friends right now, life is so boring…”

Oh cry me a river!  It’s really YOU not finding a way to break your own boredom!

To be fair, most people haven’t needed to work at ‘it’ until recently.  In the recent past, it was easy to escape boredom — By spending money!

 

When Boredom Relief Means Spending $$

Before the pandemic, people dealt with boredom in a great number of ways… and it almost always consisting of spending money.  The entertainment industry (of course) was happy to oblige in exchange for those dollars.

Take “travel” for example — When you tired of home, traveling allowed you to visit new and exotic destinations.  Lot’s of great mental stimulation to be found there!  Travel was a great boredom defeater, but it also consumed money like a voracious vacuum.  Think of the cost of airplane tickets, hotel rooms, tour reservations, food, tips, and other travel related costs.  It’s no small expense!  Travel is an expensive money vacuum!

Then, there’s food.  Back in “the old days” when people got bored of cooking at home, they’d visit a restaurant.  There’s nothing like devouring some delectable mouth-watering dish in a fancy new restaurant to make the boredom go away!

Pre-pandemic, the average family I know was eating out 2 or 3 times a week, but according to some survey’s eating out 4-5 times a week was not uncommon for American families.  Eating-out was a way to break the boredom of cooking at home.

Unfortunately in this new “takeout” world, a styrofoam takeout container doesn’t offer the same boredom defeating power that a fancy restaurant with all its delicious sights, sounds and smells has to offer.  (It does make the washing-up easier however!)

After a nice dinner on the town, it was also common to visit a entertainment venue… such as a movie theater or live show.  And, you guessed it, these entertainment venues hoovered up the cash quickly and efficiently.

See what I mean?  Almost every boredom defeating activity that was common before the pandemic made it easy to avoid boredom — for only the cost of a little money.  People paid, and the boredom was eliminated.

It was easy to avoid boredom, provided you had the cash.

 

Managing Boredom

Unfortunately, most of these common entertainments are now closed or shuttered until the pandemic is over.  You’ve been left to your own devices.  It’s up to you to fend off the boredom… and this is not a “bad thing”.  It’s a gift in disguise!  An absolute gift I say!!!

You’re now free to seek-out stimulation without the baggage of traditional commercialized entertainment venues.  This could be the perfect opportunity to break free from a consumption focused lifestyle, and save loads of money!

But how is it actually done?  How does one actually “manage” the boredom?

Well, whenever I find myself getting bored, I remind myself of the old saying, “Only boring people get bored.”  I remind myself it’s my responsibility to defeat the boredom, and to do so in an economical manner.

In other words, I give myself a good solid kick-in-the-ass to get busy doing something — Learning a new skill, reading a new book, trying something for the first time, fixing something broken around the house, working on a project, or challenging myself to some new level of physical fitness.  The possibilities are vast, but they need not be expensive!

kick
Sometimes we all just need a good swift kick in the ass.

By keeping myself engaged in useful activities (and not mindless entertainment), I find myself spending a lot less money!

That’s really all there is to it — Understand when you’re bored, take responsibility, and then actively direct your energies to low-cost and useful activity.

 

People Who Master Boredom Grow Wealthy

In my experience, individuals who master their boredom tend to become very wealthy people.  I’ve known many wealthy people over the years, and most have never been bored a single day of their life.

Why are they wealthy?

More often then not they throw themselves into their passions and are rewarded for it.  They’re never bored because they are always working hard at what makes them passionate.  They simply don’t have time to get bored — there’s things to do!

But don’t take my word for it — here’s a few quotes from some very famous people about boredom and success:

“Men die of boredom, psychological conflict and disease. They do not die of hard work.” David Ogilvy (British advertising tycoon)
“Poor people have a big TV. Rich people have a big library.”Jim Rohn (Entrepreneur and motivational speaker)
“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”Nolan Bushnell (Founder of Atari)
“Read 500 pages…every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”Warren Buffett
“It’s not about money or connections – it’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone.”Mark Cuban
“Be passionate and bold. Always keep learning. You stop doing useful things if you don’t learn. So the last part to me is the key, especially if you have had some initial success. It becomes even more critical that you have the learning ‘bit’ always switched on.”Satya Nadella (Microsoft CEO)

 

Final Thoughts

Now obviously, not all of us can be the next Warren Buffet or Walt Disney… but that doesn’t mean we should just switch on the TV and tune-out life.  No one becomes even moderately successful with putting in a little bit of effort.

So what can you and I learn and take away from these “Boredom Masters”?  (Without having to become absolute workaholics ourselves?)

Well, here’s a few ideas:

1. Find an outlet (or a series of outlets) where you can develop skills that will eventually lead to rewards.  Such as reading, or studying investing.  Or, developing the skills to DIY something that’s complicated or costly.  Find an outlet you are passionate about.  A topic that will keep you learning and motivated!

2. Don’t let boredom become an excuse to spend frivolously.  There’s a million ways to alleviate boredom that won’t cost a penny — Like taking a hike on a new trail you’ve never hiked before, reading a book a little outside your comfort zone, take a class at your community college, or attempting to cook a new or complicated new dish.  Stimulating your body and mind does not have to be an expensive endeavor.

3. Turn off the TV and do something.  I’ve known many very wealth people in my years, and one thing I’ve noticed is that most do not spend a lot of time in front of the television.  They’re not binge-watching Netflix.  These people are learning, and doing things that interest them, not consuming mindless entertainment.

So get off your ass and start doing something!  Ideally something a little outside your comfort zone.  With time, you’ll be surprised at the skills, knowledge and wisdom you can develop.  You’ll also save a ton of money.  Money that can be invested and with time compound into considerable wealth.

It’s not hard, but it does take time.  It also takes a big attitude shift — from a bored consumer of entertainment into a passionate learner, investor, and skilled individual.

If you set your mind to it, you’ll never be bored (or poor) again!

 

[Image Credit: Wikipedia, Flickr]

9 thoughts on “The Masters Of Boredom: How Managing The Slow Moments Can Make You Wealthy

  • August 18, 2020 at 1:55 AM
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    A great inspirational post. I have definitely not been bored and don’t think I ever will be. I’ve been learning new DIY skills, always doing my outdoor workouts of course, and playing guitar more. I’ve actually started to consider writing original music and making a record, since todays technology makes it possible to produce professional sounding recordings without a studio. And I have a small mixing board from my previous days playing in bands for a good start.

    I can’t wait for this pandemic to be over like everyone else, but for me there’s always something to do.

    Reply
  • August 18, 2020 at 4:54 AM
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    Pandemic life with 2 kids is far from boring. Besides managing the kids, I have been reading a lot more than usual. I also have been exercising much more and found myself losing almost 15lbs.

    Now with school started, I am finding less free time to read. Its a full time job being a 1st graders system administrator.

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    • August 18, 2020 at 6:16 AM
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      I can’t think of a single active hobby that’s been constrained by the current virus. My wife and I still ran this morning at 5:30AM with our running group on the streets. We just got back from a 2,000 mile road trip to Creede,Colorado where we hiked up mountains and did some off roading and fishing. Two weeks prior to that I took a thousand mile road trip with a buddy to catch redfish and speckled trout in Louisiana. This weekend my wife’s tennis team and mine played the state tournament. Her team won the state championship, mine lost. This morning we are each playing singles tennis with a friend. This afternoon I’ve got some work to do on our all terrain vehicle and my wife is starting to build a table for our next door neighbor. Tomorrow we will go bass fishing together in our boat at an area lake. There is nothing that you do outdoors that isn’t naturally socially distanced. Just get out of your house and stay outside.

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      • August 19, 2020 at 2:18 PM
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        Sounds great! We weren’t allowed outside to parks/open spaces/beach or across any borders for 5 months in South Africa. It made me super anxious, but we can finally do a few of the things you’ve noted here and for that I’m super grateful. Life is good again =)

        Reply
  • August 18, 2020 at 9:09 AM
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    I kind of failed this mission. I thought a cross-country road trip would be a great low-expense way to fill in our time while back in the U.S… not so much. We’re having a blast but when all is said and done, this will end up being one expensive trip.

    Live and learn but otherwise, I’m normally just fine with the slow moments. I seem to just be content and don’t think I’ve ever actually been bored for as long as I can remember.

    Reply
  • August 18, 2020 at 10:03 AM
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    You may have hit the nail on the head with the idea that if you spent money to cure boredom before, you’re going to be more bored than ever.

    Personally, I don’t think I’ve felt bored since I was a kid. I have a laundry list of ideas to work on, hobbies to pursue, things to DIY, self-improvement to achieve.

    Since the pandemic, I’ve just had more opportunity to work on that list. I’ve not felt anymore bored than I ever have.

    If you rely on external entertainment, I guess it makes sense that you’ll struggle with internal enjoyment and motivation to work on your own things when you have to do it (like now).

    Boredom in modern life really should be a foreign concept: there’s so many opportunities to do so many different things!

    Reply
  • August 19, 2020 at 3:42 AM
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    I actually finally started some martial arts. It is costing me some money but it’s well spent in my opinion. I’m learning a skill for life so putting some funds up front to learn it properly is ok by me. Other than that just hiking, going to new beaches, working out and reading more is enough not to be bored 🙂

    Reply
  • August 19, 2020 at 3:03 PM
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    I started walking before the pandemic but have kept it up and keep looking for new routes in my neighborhood and new ways to keep it interesting. I am going to add up my miles for the month and see how far I could have gone. Finding ways to keep it interesting.

    Reply
  • August 19, 2020 at 7:23 PM
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    I think most families with kids, including myself don’t or can’t really get bored. Especially with young kids. Maybe feeling trapped is another word, but definitely not bored. Both my kids are at home and I constantly need to find something for them to do. Sometimes due to the amount of daily chores and activities for the kids I don’t have time to do things I want to do like writing more stuff on blogs.

    Reply

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