Definition of boredom: the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest; the boredom of a long car trip
I wonder if the purpose of life is to avoid boredom. Although taking the time to be bored is important, it can also be very dangerous. I think we live in a world of avoiding boredom, because everyone’s fears being left alone, just to be with their thoughts. In the depths of boredom lay anxiety and existential angst. Boredom is a place my mind runs too often. It is filled with aimless thoughts, and it creates a tension headache in my forehead. I get bored very often throughout the day if work is not challenging enough or I am not fully engaged in what I’m doing. I even experience boredom with tennis and sports, when I play too often and just end up going through the motions, and I’m not focusing on each play, on each ball, on each swing, on each movement.
So what is the best way to avoid boredom? Do something. Anything. And whatever you’re doing, try to be completely absorbed and immersed in it. Be in the moment (yes, I realize it is easier said than done). When you’re in the moment, you realize that each moment is as unique as the next. You have to spend each moment in the present. You have no time to waste being bored when you’re in the moment. This feeling has been described in depth as “flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. More to follow.
Wanting & Happiness
Why do people keep asking you what you want?
Google’s definition of want, wanting, wanted. It’s okay to not know what you want, and it’s okay to not be wanting anything. It may even be a good thing to free yourself from wants and desires. You don’t have to want anything. When someone asks you, what do you want; you don’t have to respond back with anything. Why do we “want” and need to be “motivated” to do things? Wanting, motivation, ambition, and desires are a western concept. In eastern philosophy, including Hinduism, an approach to happiness is to free yourself from wanting, ambition and desires. The more we attach ourselves to wants and desires, the more we create expectations, the greater the opportunity for disappointment, and the lesser the opportunity for contentment and peace.
Buying Stuff versus Doing Stuff
Buying stuff probably won’t make you happy. Having a new car, a new house or a new gadget is not going to make you happy. What is happiness? In the western world, we often misconstrue happiness to be something that can be judged externally. For example, we often judge happiness based on observations of smiling and laughing. People who smile and laugh are perceived to be “happy”.
Alternatively, I believe that happiness could be an internal state that could manifest in different ways. It may manifest differently cross-culturally. I think happiness has a state of non-striving. The problem with striving is that you’re always wanting more. In western culture, ambition is often judged as a good thing. We want to be ambitious. We like to see ambition in others. But why? If you desire something else, does that mean you’re not happy with what you have now? If you want something for your backyard, does that mean you’re not happy with the way your backyard is right now? If you want a car, does that mean you’re not happy with the car you have now? One might respond to that with no, i’m happy with what I have now, but I just want something better. But why? What is it going to do for you? Is it going to make you happier? Is it going to work better than what else you have?
More than ever, I’ve been noticing how we are constantly bombarded by products and advertisements for new products. My guess is that it is all the same shit, simply with different labels and different claims. But there is no “clinical testing” or even any evidence that it is ANY different from the previous product. There is no major change or great thing that is going to happen in terms of products. Whether its an iPad, Phone or soaps or mops or sweepers or exercise bikes. It is all the same shit. The reason for the “new” products with labels is just a ploy to try to get people to buy it to think that it is different from what they actually have. People waste so much of their money on shit that they really don’t need. Some people spend so much time buying and returning and deciding on things that don’t really matter. Buying products should not be a stressful thing. Why? Because it is just something that you need to use as a tool, in the big picture it really doesn’t matter, as long as they both serve the same purpose. Do some people think about these things that don’t matter to keep their mind busy? I think so. Because if you realized how little you actually “need” to do, it would be boring, and you would just think about things and cause yourself anxiety. Therefore, people keep themselves busy so they don’t have to think about things.
So what is happiness? Is it keeping yourself busy so that you don’t have to think about things? These people can be happy, and it could work for some. For me, things are different. I have been able to cut out everything from my life, to the point that I’m left with nothing but my thoughts. No shopping, no products, no school work, no nothing. So what makes you happy? What makes me happy is doing things I enjoy. I enjoy exercising on my bike because it helps me to feel good. I enjoy playing sports because it challenges my body. I enjoy reading and writing about exercise and psychology. I enjoy eating and drinking, though less than I used to. I enjoy sleeping. I enjoy watching movies and tv shows and sometimes sports. Hanging-out with my family. Notice these are all behaviours, or actions: exercising, playing, reading, writing, eating, drinking, sleeping, watching, hanging-out, laying. These are all verbs. Verbs are the key to being happy. I get enjoyment from doing things, not from non-doing.
The Problem with Planning
“[Person] proposes, life disposes.”
Coming from someone who wrote an entire master’s thesis on the benefits of planning, I don’t think life is about planning. Quite the contrary, actually. I think a true test of character is how you cope when things DON’T go according to plan, because from my experience, more often than not, they don’t.
They say to make goals. But aren’t goals attachments? When you make a goal, you’re saying “I want this.” Aren’t you also saying, if I don’t get this, I will be disappointed, upset or unhappy? Then what is the point of setting goals? For example, if I said, “I want to go hiking in Hamilton”. If I don’t do this, will I be less happy? Where can I be flexible? Where can I not? What if I go hiking, but not in Hamilton? Will, I still be happy, or will I be disappointed? In this case, it is almost better not to set goals, because then you’re saying I will be happy no matter what. Goal setting sets the bar for disappointment. Instead of goal setting, you could always just say I will be happy, no matter what happens.
Grief & Loss
It’s interesting to hear how people deal with grief.
I see death as a natural part of life. And I think we put too much emphasis on the way someone dies, because that is just a single moment in time, in their life. You have to think about everything leading up to it. The moment someone passes away is inconsequential in the big picture because it is just one of the billions of moments in their life. The moment someone dies shouldn’t have any more meaning or significance than any other moment. Even if someone didn’t “take care of themselves”, maybe they were no longer capable of taking care of themselves or didn’t want to take care of themselves anymore. Maybe they lost the will to live. And that is their choice. Although we may feel sad, or we may not have wanted that, it is not in our choice or control, it is theirs. It may be really sad, but it’s also a natural part of life.
“Boredom.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/boredom. Accessed 14 Jul. 2020.
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