Creativity vs boredom
“Creativity is intelligence having fun,” Albert Einstein once said, and he couldn’t be more right. Creativity is one of the most valuable skills we possess as human beings, and is the driving force behind innovation, art and social change. However, in recent decades, the frenetic pace of our lives and constant exposure to technology have compromised our ability to develop and express our creativity. In this opinion piece, we will explore how the need to be bored in the early stages of growth is crucial to avoid anxious patterns and foster creativity, and how we can combat the threat posed by the fast pace of modern life.
According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology in 2014 by Karen Gasper and Brianna L. Middlewood, boredom can trigger a creative impulse in us. When we allow ourselves to disconnect and experience moments of boredom, our minds can wander, explore new ideas and connect seemingly unconnected concepts. Boredom, therefore, can be a powerful tool for fostering creativity and divergent thinking, especially in children.
Unfortunately, in today’s society, we rarely allow ourselves to be bored. We are constantly bombarded with information and stimuli, from our social networks to online advertising and streaming entertainment. This sensory overload can generate anxiety and mental exhaustion, which in turn inhibits our ability to be creative. Psychologist and author of “The Time Paradox,” Dr. John P. Robinson, argues that “our free time has become more fragmented and less relaxing,” which can hinder our access to creative and contemplative states of mind.
Suggestions for fostering creativity
In a 2012 study published in the journal Cognition, researchers Jonathan Smallwood and Jonathan Schooler found that allowing the mind to wander in moments of inactivity can be beneficial for creativity and problem solving. However, in the age of technology and information, finding time for downtime and allowing ourselves to be bored has become increasingly difficult.
So how can we protect and nurture our creativity in a world that seems to be in constant motion? Here are some suggestions:
- Disconnect from technology: Take time to disconnect from electronic devices and social networks. Set limits on technology use and encourage moments of boredom and reflection.
- Practice mindfulness: Meditation and mindfulness can help us connect with our inner self and promote creative states of mind. Regular practice of mindfulness can also reduce anxiety and improve our emotional well-being.
- Encourage play and experimentation: Play and experimentation are crucial to developing creativity in both children and adults.
- Create spaces for creativity: Make sure you have a space in your home or workplace where you can engage in creative activities without distractions. This space should be a refuge for imagination and artistic expression, away from the demands and pressures of everyday life.
- Encourage curiosity and continuous learning: Creativity thrives in environments where curiosity and learning are valued. Encourage children and yourself to explore new interests and develop skills in a variety of areas.
- Establish time for reflection and introspection: Reflecting on our experiences and thoughts is essential for personal growth and creativity. Schedule regular time for reflection and introspection, allowing you to connect with your inner self and generate new ideas.
- Learning to embrace failure: Failure is an inevitable part of the creative process, and learning to accept and overcome it is critical to the development of creativity. Instead of fearing failure, celebrate it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
- Stimulate collaboration and teamwork: Creativity often flourishes when we work together with others, as it allows us to generate new and diverse ideas and perspectives. Encourage collaboration and teamwork in your life and in the lives of young people, allowing creativity to grow through interaction with others.
- Practicing self-care: Physical and emotional well-being is fundamental to creativity. Be sure to take care of your body and mind through exercise, a balanced diet and good sleep hygiene. Creativity thrives when we are in a state of well-being and balance.
- Be patient and compassionate with yourself: Creativity does not always manifest itself immediately, and it is important to be patient and compassionate with yourself during the creative process. Recognizes that creativity is a journey with ups and downs and that self-discovery and growth are essential parts of the process.
In short, creativity is a precious resource that we must protect and nurture in our modern, fast-paced lives. By embracing boredom, reflection and play, and by implementing strategies to reduce anxiety and stimulate creativity, we can ensure that our minds remain inexhaustible sources of innovation, inspiration and transformation. Let us remember the wise words of Pablo Picasso: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up”. Let us learn to embrace our innate creativity and resist the pressures of a fast-paced world, so that we can remain artists, innovators and dreamers throughout our lives.
Sources / References
List of sources and references used in this article, including links to relevant studies and articles:
Gasper, K., & Middlewood, B. L. (2014). Approaching novel thoughts: Understanding why elation and boredom promote associative thought more than distress and relaxation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 52, 50-57. Link
Robinson, J. P. (2013). The Paradox of Time: New Ways of Thinking about the Most Familiar Subject. Dorrance Publishing. Link to the book
Smallwood, J., & Schooler, J. W. (2015). The science of mind wandering: empirically navigating the stream of consciousness. Annual Review of Psychology, 66, 487-518. Link
Einstein, A. (n.d.). Albert Einstein Quotes. Link
Picasso, P. (n.d.). Pablo Picasso quotes. Link
Although the ideas and concepts presented in the article are based on studies and research, some of the proposed opinions and suggestions come from the author’s perspective and are not necessarily based on academic sources. It is important to keep in mind that creativity is a broad and multifaceted topic, and opinions and approaches may vary among different experts and fields of study.