Let’s write about boredom today, because I’ve got “nothing better to do”.
That last phrase is a joke – I have lots of things to do, but at this point in time, this is the best thing to do because it’s the most valuable thing to me now.
I started thinking about boredom because of a conversation I had with someone I know a little while ago. We were talking about some recent events in our lives, and for me it was in regards to buying a new PC because it’s something I enjoy and have decided to upgrade.
The conversation then went into gaming time and the other person’s seeming incapability to “stop” playing games when they start, so they don’t play games now. They also talked about the fact that they were bored in general.
My response was essentially that I didn’t have that problem at all. If I play games, I play them, and when I want to stop, I stop and do other things. That and, generally, I’m just not bored.
That was on my mind for a little while, but it got me thinking about why that tends to happen to people and how it can be stopped, and I think it boils down to – wait for it, you know what I’m going to write…
It comes down to your values, and your hierarchy.
First, what are values? To give credit to Ayn Rand, I think she nailed the definition of it perfectly: “That which one acts to gain or keep”.
That’s perfect. It’s simple, precise and means exactly what values are.
Values are things we act to gain or keep. Values are necessary for living and it’s what we pursue in order to be happy with our lives.
This isn’t really hard to understand, but it’s the process of understanding what is valuable to you and what you ought to prioritize that is difficult to decipher because it is entirely up to you and you alone. It’s where people get muddled up, and eventually get stuck in the “bored” phase, I think.
Prioritizing the things in your life from most important to least is vitally important – and it also leads to the proverbial “emptying” of one’s basket when you do it seriously. You take inventory on your life and omit the unimportant things (you’d be surprised how much of that can linger in your life when you think about it) but the eggs that remain are the ones that are golden to you.
Let’s take for example gaming. I’m a huge gamer and most of my friends know so. I don’t really talk much about it, but I really know my games. It’s a big hobby of mine, alongside PC building.
That said, I only really play games and build PC’s when it is necessary for me to do so or when my other priorities are set in order.
Hierarchically speaking, my writing and work are significantly more important to me than gaming. It’s not even close in terms of value when I think of it – and to quit my writing and get lazy with my work is to be very dishonest with myself. I know they’re important to me and they’re part of what make me very happy, and I can’t lie to myself about that.
There are also days where I legitimately do nothing. I often sit by my balcony and get some sunlight in the morning while I have my coffee and play sudoku. Are those things more valuable to me than my work? No, but that “nothing” phase isn’t boring – it’s enriching, relaxing and helps increase the quality of all my other priorities. It’s just that I know where it stands in my own routine or hierarchy – if I need to get some work done and don’t have time, I skip it and get to work.
Boredom is in my opinion what manifests when you are on some level lying to yourself on what needs doing in life, or your values are out of whack. If you’re just sitting and playing games but feeling “bored”, that means you’re not enjoying yourself – the action is not valuable. There are other things you ought to do.
What those things are, I can’t tell you – and that’s the real secret answer to all of this.
No one can tell you what your values are. Only you can, and that requires personal taking of inventory and figuring out what is important, and what is not.
The problem with today is that we have a lot of self-help stuff out there that tells you that you ought to be a certain way based on commonly known lifestyles that have been “successful” from a specific context. This kind of content isn’t necessarily bad, because it can lead you to trying new things and discovering new values for yourself – but they’re often taken as the “way” to live life, and they’re always based off others systems of values.
One of the pet peeve ones for me is the tradcon kind of push where you need to marry, settle down and pop kids out alongside the “soulmate” myth. It’s crap, because it goes off what is most functional based on a societal standard instead of an individual standard. It’s pragmatic and it works, but it might not be what you want.
The reality is, people are individuals and very different from one another. I live a rather simple and minimalistic lifestyle which is insufferable to some, but incredibly enjoyable and fulfilling for me. That said, I’m never really bored, and if I “feel” bored, then I know there needs to be some inventory taking.
That leads to another point – values are not “permanent” in that you’ll always value your work or your hobbies. Humans tend to change over time and with it, their values change. What may have been something of significant worth to you might be nearly worthless in ten years – I can attest to my own life experience with that.
If that time comes – and it will, whether small or large – you’ll know it because it’ll be in your gut. From there, the onus is on you to sus it out and take inventory. To figure out what needs prioritizing, what doesn’t, and what needs removing.
Boredom is a side effect of an undusted life. Once you clean up and get your priorities in order, boredom ceases to exist. The only caveat is that it’s all on you to figure it all out.
Try things, listen to gurus, do whatever, I don’t care. Just remember that ultimately, it comes down to carving your own path.