This time every year I become reflective with the intent of better understanding myself, who I am becoming, and the journey I’m on. It’s not always a comfortable process as my unrealised intentions stare back at me in the mirror.
Like many of us, for years I’ve been focused on jamming as much as I can into the 8,760 hours that are available to me. But reflection has made me stop, step back, and become curious about time and how it’s used, in a world where nobody seems to have any. Today I had a moment where a few dots connected, and I asked myself, with so much technology being developed to deliver greater convenience and efficiency in how we work and live, where is all the newly created space going? How are people filling it? Are we intentionally adapting or unconsciously being pulled along?
What I observe in the hundreds I have worked with on the Busy = Bullshit program, is the more productivity we drive in our lives, the more we fill our time with unconscious noise. Noise that seems to be creating a culture of angst and overwhelm. Noise that is holding many of us back from being, rather than doing. Noise that is distracting and blocking our ability to sit in the stillness, allow the dots to connect, and enable our true potential to be realised.
‘If we want to live a life of meaning and contribution, we have to become intentional about cultivating sleep and play. We have to let go of exhaustion, busyness, and productivity as status symbols and measures of self-worth. We are impressing no one.' - Brene Brown
I have made a conscious effort in the past months to create the space for less doing and more being. I’ve reduced my crazy work hours, created intentional time to disconnect from tech daily, designed my work time around doing deep focused work without distraction ... and it’s fair to say, the more I do this, the more my business and my life thrives. I’ve started to value boredom because I’ve found it’s truly valuable as a skill to help me navigate myself and the complex future we have before us.
Manoush Zomorodi’s Ted Talk on how boredom can lead to the most brilliant ideas takes this concept next level and helps us to understand the neuroscience behind boredom and its benefits.
I wonder what if, as a society, we decided to value boredom? How would that impact our happiness, creativity, and our mental health? When was the last time you created the space for boredom? When you sat, did, touched, watched, nothing, and how long did you do it for? If the answer is, 'I can’t recall' or 'not recently', I want to challenge you. When thinking about your plans to do more in 2019, consider a reframe. What if you actually planned time to do less. What if you decided to make 2019 boring and create the space for more stillness? How would you change your approach to how you use your time? How could this enable you to create the space for more of what matters?
It sounds crazy, and it is hard, but not filling every moment of every day and creating the space for boredom might just help you unlock exactly what it is that you are looking for.
Last week I started full time for eight weeks in the first Australian Antler Cohort in Sydney. Antler is an incubator program that focuses on creating the next wave of tech companies. They had over 1000 applicants but accepted only 71 amazing humans of which I was fortunate enough to be one. Some may consider this a success but at the end of week one, I found myself questioning if this is success, why do I feel so uncomfortable?