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This may be the next best thing to winning the lottery! I just read that we should embrace boredom! Seriously! Could there be a better prescription?

I mean, haven’t we all been told quite the opposite? “If you’re bored it’s because you’re boring,” or ”If you’re bored, you’re wasting time.”  When my kids were young, I used to threaten to cure the whining call of “I’m bored” with a list of chores they could use to cure their ailment.

And with a quick search on “boredom quotes” I found these beauties:

  • “Work spares us from three evils: boredom, vice, and need.” –Voltaire
  • “Boredom is the root of all evil–the despairing refusal to be oneself.” –Soren Kierkegaard
  • “You’ll find boredom where there is the absence of a good idea.” –Earl Nightingale
  • “Boredom, after all, is a form of criticism.” –Wendell Phillips

But William Zinsser, author of the classic guide On Writing Well, gives us a different perspective. He says:

“…everybody in the business of creating new ideas or rethinking old ones: writers, artists, composers, scientists, inventors, reformers (should embrace boredom). Some of our most creative work gets done in downtime–waking from a nap, taking a walk, daydreaming in the shower. (Writers are particularly clean.) Downtime is when breakthrough ideas are delivered to us, unsummoned, when yesterday’s blockages somehow come unblocked. That’s because we treated ourselves to a little boredom and cleared our brains of the sludge of information.”

And that’s welcome advice. Because I have some new ideas to create and some old thinking to release. Here’s to a little boredom in 2011!