10 Quotes That Will Change How You Think About Boredom

Inspiration for your downtime

Tom Barrett


My weekly email helps educators and innovation leaders enhance their practice by sharing provocations, ideas and mental models. Join today, and get your copy this week.This month, our throughline for dialogue and reflection is 'There’s Never Enough Time to Do All the Nothing You Want' - A Case for Boredom. We explore what we can learn about boredom from the ancient Stoics, creative titans and surprising neuroscience. We consider why boredom is vital for learning, creativity and innovation.

This is a collection of ten insights from writers, innovators and creative titans about boredom, idleness and downtime as part of their creative process.

This article is for any creators looking to learn more about the creative process and what difference makes the difference.

By the time you finish reading this week’s issue, you will have a handful of provocations, insights and next steps you can weave into your daily creative routines.

1 — Make Space For New Ideas

“On the face of it, it doesn’t make any sense. Boredom seems like the least creative feeling. But it’s actually a way of clearing space for a new idea to spring back up.” ~ QuestLove

2 — Beyond Boredom

“It turns out that bliss — a second-by-second joy and gratitude at the gift of being alive, conscious — lies on the other side of crushing, crushing boredom.” ~ David Foster Wallace

3 — Boredom Triggers Flow

“You have to let yourself get so bored that your mind has nothing better to do than tell itself a story.” ~ Neil Gaiman

4 — Sideways Thinking

“Watching birds takes you out of yourself. It’s a flow state. Writing ideas come in sideways during such states.” ~ Margaret Atwood

5 — Walking Helps Mind-Wandering

“Thinking is generally thought of as doing nothing in a production-oriented culture, and doing nothing is hard to do. It’s best done by disguising it as doing something, and the something closest to doing nothing is walking.” ~ Rebecca Solnit



Tom Barrett

Re-discover the curiosity you had when you were 6. Learning, Leadership, Innovation. Join Medium to support my writing https://buff.ly/3RtxqpE << Affiliate link