Brilliantly Bored

I’m bored. What can I stream, skim, play, text, plan?

With the magic of our omni-phones, we can instantly distract ourselves from quiet tedium and empty slog. But, could we benefit by just sinking into the boredom now and then?


Researchers, such as University of Central Lancashire’s Dr Sandi Mann, say yes. If you stultify subjects –  say, ask them to copy out numbers from the telephone book for 15 minutes – they generate more creative ideas than those who have not been bored silly.

How does boredom encourage creativity? Studies suggest that a benumbed brain is more prone to wander, and less likely to fight off wild ideas. The resulting muddle makes it more likely that we will combine seemingly unrelated ideas in exciting new ways.

We can be inspired by the brilliant pianist, composer, and conductor Duke Ellington who wrote in his 1973 autobiography ‘Music is my Mistress’: ‘Create, and be true to yourself, and depend only on your own good taste. Tomorrow is in the wings waiting for you to sound her entrance fanfare.’


Header Photo: Sunder Muthukumaran



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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton