We live in a world where fresh information is available on tap. Your phone, iPad or Mac, if you let it, will give you a continuous flow of information. It’s amazing how quickly we have become addicted to that hosepipe of information; whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, news feeds or even just plain old email and texts.
Having been on a boat for the best part of the last 2 years with extremely reduced access to information, its amazing how much space my brain has had to think about more important questions, rather than just hoovering up the latest information flow. Since we returned, it’s also amazing how quickly I’ve become addicted again and have been glued to my phone.
A novel suggestion.
Over the past 2 months I’ve been privileged to have had over 12 speaking opportunities in Hawaii, San Francisco, London, Iceland and Cape Town. They’ve mostly been keynote talks to company leaders and executives on the topics of culture, behaviours and how to create a winning team.
The most recent event I attended was organised by global advertising group WPP. The event in Cape Town pulled together 300 of the brightest minds in Africa, including leaders from Google, Facebook, Standard Bank and many other household brands. In a session run by one of the other speakers, someone voiced the following question:
“When was the last time that you allowed yourself to be bored?”
It struck me that in today's society that this happens so rarely and yet it's so valuable.
Ever noticed what you do when you have a few spare minutes on a train, waiting for someone, in a coffee shop or restaurant or any other idle moment?
What’s the first thing you do?
For most people I think that it's to reach for your phone and hoover up the latest information from social feeds or emails.
The issue with this is that your brain rarely has time to pause, to reflect, to breathe, to think.
Next time you have those few moments, why not give yourself permission to let your brain wander without having to fill that space with a fresh information flow.
I think that for our kids to let their brains wander and to get to a stage where they are bored is a brilliant thing. It’s when you reach that boredom stage that your brain can then seek out creative thoughts and ideas and ways to fill your time where you consciously find things to do. Our kids have had a mostly device free Christmas. We’ve read more books, played more games, been more creative and played outside more than we have done in the previous 6 months, since stepping off the boat.
As my diary fills up with speaking opportunities and business trips all round the world for 2017, I’m super keen to make sure that we and our children leave space and time for our minds to reach that boredom threshold and to release our creative instincts.
Happy being bored,