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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Boredom and Creativity

Interesting piece by Dilbert's Scott Adams on creativity and how its linked to boredom. I am not sure we can (just yet) draw implications of the lack of boredom to how society is stagnating, but definitely on a personal level I do agree that you need time on your own to be able to be creative.

On the one hand, being so tuned in to the world (smartphones, tablets, kindles, etc.) actually helps stimulate things in your head. At least someone like me, I observe things, and I think. The more external stimulus I get, the more my mind starts racing. So its good in a way. And most of the things that I have ever blogged about came to life in this fashion.

But that's only one kind of stimulus. When I try to embark on something different, something bigger, then all these devices become distractions. I am having to fight out time from my schedule so that I can complete that short story I have been writing. And also certain other heavy topics that I like to think about - such as economics - I need time alone to muse. Ever noticed how all your best ideas come about when you are in the shower or the loo? No? Well at least that's the case with me. Guess its something to do with lateral thinking. Your brain gives you the best solutions when its not directly thinking about the problem. New perspective you might say. Not just showers or loos, I am glad to report that long commutes also out work for me and my brain. So next time you are stuck in traffic why don't you put on some nice music on the radio and let your mind wander?

Before I close, let me mention that I do think the information 'overload' of our times can be quite dangerous if all you do is consume mindless, purposeless content. It is one thing to read all the latest gadget news through your smartphone, or download some great books over your kindle, but if all you do is watch lame youtube videos or countless movies or reality shows on television, then in my view you are definitely abusing the marvels of technology. In this battle between boredom and creativity, I guess there needs to be a balance between entertainment and education; information absorption and thought generation; too little free time and too much of it. Cheers!
(Yes I know the last line is a motherhood, thank you very much!)

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