Friday, June 16, 2006


"[S]he refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn't boring." by Zelda Fitzgerald

Are we responsible for whether we feel bored or not?

Another saying  is - you don't like to do things not because they are boring. Things become boring because you don't like them.

If we give some thought to this, it does seem to start making sense. How often something we found dreadfully
boring to begin with turn out to be something that we cherish and feel proud to have produced it? Normally, we can think of some document we had to write or a paper we had to turn in for  school. Next time when it happens, if we document how that happened, we will see that there is a pattern or a couple of patterns.

 One pattern that is not that useful is being under pressure. That is the pressure of time or some other external source (such as customer, boss etc.). This does not produce classics although it may have forced you to complete the tasks.

But, think of the other pattern. That normally goes like this. With great difficulty, you garner enough strength to start the first step. It is not unlikely that you drop from it few time only to come back and start from the beginning with more and more agony. After few such false starts, something changes and the product that you need
to produce starts taking shape. If it is a document, you are pounding away. You are not typing one sentence and staring at it for 10 minutes only to discard the document and start afresh. Also, some coffee may help. So, you
take a break too. No, here you are producing at best. You are not able to type as fast as your brain is cranking out ideas. You may end up doing a marathon writing session. It is not unusual to see people 'in mood' not leave their
chairs for hours. At the end of one such session, you would see that you have accomplished a great deal. The product seems to have become something we can continue to evolve further without frustration or lack of ideas.

How did it happen? We do not ask this question many times. It is important to dissect this process once at least so that we can capitalize on the insight we develop. If we have to sum up the experience in one sentence, it is TIME.
More time you allow ideas to ferment in your subconscious mind, better work is produced. So, take your time. Start as early as possible to give yourself enough false starts. In way, there are not false starts at all. They are your
attempts to get fermentation start on the best footing possible. If you produce something under pressure, you will not have the luxury of fermenting your ideas, you may just get back the mixture next day without any flavor or
content. Your work does not produce "kicks".

We have to always remember 'slow and steady' wins the race. Has the topic gone from boredom to something
else? Not really because many times our boredom is closely related to certain specific tasks that we must accomplish. Unfortunately the task that we have to accomplish does not come to us naturally and it is not one of our core
strengths. In the same time it is also not something that we can not do. It is one of these things that we all have such
it-is-not-my-favorite-but-I-know-I-can-do-decent-job-if-I-apply-myself kind of task. We all have had subjects that we did not like in the school. Nevertheless, we passed and in some cases, we may have also excelled. Same here.

One thing that may help is to pay more attention and apply more concentration to things that do not come to us naturally. This will help us detect pit-falls early and consciously. This will enable us to guard against dropping the
tasks that we have begun. This may  not make it any less painful. But, we will probably remember to come back and pick it up where we left off after 15 minutes of break rather than 15 days of hiatus.

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