The Relationship Between Boredom and Successful Entrepreneurs
~by Annabelle Smyth~
What is one thing that successful entrepreneurs have in common?
While there are many possible responses to this question, this article will be focusing on one shared characteristic: Creativity.
The best entrepreneurs are imaginative, resourceful, creative individuals. The question is, where does this creativity stem from?
Recent studies have demonstrated that boredom can be a powerful precursor to creativity.
Learn more about these studies, the relationship between boredom and creativity, and how to apply it to your life in the paragraphs below.
Think back to your school days, and consider the endless hours of boredom you survived. With the help of the tiny window in the door, the doodles in your notebooks and your fantastic daydreams…
Although boredom can be excruciating, it provides us with a precious opportunity to develop amazing ideas and alternative solutions to our problems. Sadly, in today’s world, we are overloaded with stimulation and have less time to let our minds take advantage of boredom.
So, how does boredom stimulate creativity?
A study at the University of Central Lancashire examined the effects of boredom on creative thought and the results were intriguing. During the rounds of the study, participants were either assigned to the mind-numbing task of copying numbers from a phone book, or they were placed in a control group that skipped this chore. After the task was completed, all the participants were asked to come up with as many uses as they could for a pair of plastic cups. The participants who had been assigned to the boring task generated significantly more uses for the plastic cups than those that had not.
According to the British Psychoanalyst, Adam Phillips, “When we are bored, we begin to wonder about things. And curiosity is the starting point for growth, interest, and creativity.”
Boredom can be a very effective tool for entrepreneurs if they use it strategically.
Using Boredom as a Creativity “Hack”
When you’re standing in line at the grocery store, sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, or suffering from a bout of insomnia, how long does it take before you pull out your phone for some entertainment?
The next time you find yourself trying to escape from the horror of boredom, try just letting your mind wander as you embrace the monotony. If you need some help with this strategy, you may want to check out the Bored and Brilliant Project. By signing up, you’ll have access to tech interventions and challenges to help you unlock your creativity.
When it comes to our time in the workplace, leveraging boredom in the right way has the potential to help us tap into the creativity we need to really excel. When you’re struggling to come up with new ideas or are having a difficult time solving a business problem, try taking a break and spend some time working on a task you find boring. After you’ve been sufficiently bored, go back to your brain storming and see how many more ideas you come up with.
If you’ve used boredom to stimulate entrepreneurial creativity, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
Annabelle is a freelance writer who covers everything from HR to technology and leadership skills. Her most recent work involves partnership marketing with BambooHR where she has had the opportunity to learn about the relationship between employee engagement and successful businesses.