Renaissance Ninja

Avoid boredom

“Avoidance of boredom is the only worthy mode of action. Life otherwise is not worth living.” — Nassim Nicholas Taleb

When you stop paying attention, mistakes happen.

Boredom is the road to injury and stagnation. Once you’re bored you mentally check out. Paying attention to, close attention, to your movement is key to both safety and optimal learning. Once your mind is longer in the game, why bother pushing it further into boredom?

No one likes being bored. Yet boredom is such an assumed part of exercise that gyms festoon TVs all around their space to keep patrons distracted from the inherent boredom of what they are doing. Keeping them distracted enough to forget that this shit is boring, hard, and it sucks, thus why bother?

Because we know that movement is good for us and that we need it to function at our peak. We tolerate boredom because of that belief, but why must absolute boredom be part of the equation?

It doesn’t.

Instead of using boredom as a sign to turn on the TV or turn up the volume on your iPod, why not use boredom as a sign-post to change things up? Try some new movements. Amp up the difficulty of what you’re already doing, or just do something new or novel. Movement is such a wide field that there’s always something to learn, something to improve.

If you have the freedom to choose how to move, then boredom too is a choice. The key then is to avoid boredom by finding movements that interest and challenge you. That latter point, challenge, is critical. Easy is boring. If you don’t have to focus and pay attention you lose focus on the challenge at hand. You want to choose stuff that’s hard, but not far beyond your current abilities. When you do you may find that fun often comes from, or with, the frustration and difficulty of overcoming that challenge.

Move in ways that keep you engaged, whether that’s because it’s a new move that you have to focus on to learn, an inherently difficult movement that requires your full attention to execute properly, or otherwise. If you’re getting bored it’s a sign that you’ve grown and now it’s time to find new ways to stay engaged or avoid boredom by pursuing something diferent. Most get stuck in boredom, but you can use boredom as your signal to shift. Afterall, movement should be a joy.