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A Life Less Boring

IHMMBTracy O’Connor runs the ‘I Hate My Message Board’ blog and is the women that brought the infamous  ‘Chicken in a Can‘ to the Internet, videoed her brother eating Silkworm Pupa and makes me laugh out loud more than any client I have ever worked with. Even if most of the time I have absolutely no idea why. That’s not to say I don’t have some hilarious and fun clients, because I do, it’s just that Tracy is a tad different.

I have been haranguing her to do me a guest post for some while and I’m delighted to say under pain of death and the threat of me publishing the nonsensical e-mails she sends me, she finally acquiesced. Other than read this post, I’d also encourage you to follow her on Twitter, just don’t expect anything she says to make any sense.

A Life Less Boring

I was reading a thread on my forum about a gifted child who is bored in school and blowing off his work. As you can probably guess, a few people chimed in to say that the child would simply have to adjust to living in a world where he is often bored and have to plug away anyway. But does he really have to? Perhaps somebody has to, but is that really what we want for our children? Or for ourselves?

During my life coaching with Tim, one of the hardest things for me to do was to admit, that yes, I did think that poking around in cans of weird food and making up answers to inexplicable questions was a fine and dandy way to spend the rest of my life and what’s more, I could somehow make it the cornerstone of my future career.

As much as I love doing it, it seemed too self indulgent to admit and more than a bit strange to think it was a goal worthy of coaching. I kind of wanted to tell him I wanted to go to law school and help refugees get asylum or make 10 million dollars in five years; you know, something like I imaged all of his other clients wanted to do.

Why did I feel it was self indulgent? Because it’s so amazingly fun and exciting that even the stuff that should bore me to tears seems to fly by when I’m doing it. The crap you couldn’t pay me to learn if I were doing it for somebody else isn’t drudgery, it’s a joy because it gets me one step closer to where I want to be.

I don’t even recognize myself some days, because although I am half Asian, half Puritan stock, the industry-ethic gene seemed to pass me by and I was that kid sitting bored in the classroom, unable to think about doing another worksheet because praise for doing well on a job you see no point in only motivates you so far.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we will have to make our children do things that they don’t particularly care to do for their own good, but how ass backwards is it to say “Oh well, that kid’s smart, smart people are going to be bored a lot, might as well get used to it now, poor thing”? It’s crazy, isn’t it? Yet I’m sure most of you are thinking, hey, get that kid some enrichment, help him find his passion, how cool is it that he has the potential to make so much of his life, you go smart boy!

Yet, when it comes to ourselves, how many of us are resigned to being bored much of the time? Plugging away because we feel we’ve got no other options and feeling more drained as each day goes by?

I felt that way for a long time, I figured that the correct and proper thing for me to do was go back to school, get a degree in something that paid a decent enough salary and once we got the kids started on their adult lives, maybe there would be enough left over for the husband and I to take some cruises. And I don’t even like boats, it just seemed like that was the kind of thing I should want to do when I was retired.

Farmer shovelling crapThe thing is, when you’re doing something you love, you’ve got as much downtime and busywork as any other working person, you’ve probably got to deal with the same amount of dolts and dullards, but you don’t have that same feeling of crushing boredom. There are tasks that aren’t exciting or even unpleasant and then there is boredom.

Boredom isn’t a lack of things to do, most of the time when I’ve been bored there have been excessive piles of crap to do; boredom is a lack of motivation and energy. Boredom is your passion calling to you “Hey, what about me? When are you going to feed me?” and you, because of fear, lack of confidence, whatever, refusing to answer so it shuts down all systems until you pay it some attention.

I believe when people are bored, when they are rushing through and don’t seem to care, that’s a symptom worth noting and something to be dealt with. Of course, we’ll all have those random days when we can’t be bothered and it’s usually nothing more than fatigue, weather or hormones but being chronically bored doesn’t fit in with my notion of us as a can-do, peppy sort of species.

We didn’t evolve these big brains to sit around feeling like we don’t want to do anything.

It’s been my observation that lazy people are usually bored people and bored people are usually afraid people.

If you’re bored with your life, and it’s not something requiring treatment like depression, go ahead and ask yourself why? Write down the answers and then look at the answers and ask yourself again, why?

Now, I live on the same planet as the rest of you with mortgages and health insurance needs and liking to eat every day, and I understand if you can’t immediately make a drastic change to whatever it is that’s stopping you from going for your passion.

I understand if you’re afraid and imagining all the scary things that could happen. But what I won’t understand is saying “oh well, this is just the way it is, better get used to it. Sigh”. You deserve better than that, you really do, and if you don’t believe me stop now and read some of Tim’s posts on self confidence and work on getting some.

Man in cubicleNow, write down what you really want to be doing. Where is it that your passion and your talents meet to create something extraordinary? Not what you think you should want to do or what you think other people would find exciting and interesting, but what you’d do if nobody was looking.

Well, not everything you’d do, this is a family blog. Indulge in daydreams, tell yourself a story where you’re living the life you want to live.

Editors Note: A family blog? I think she is confused with mylovelycuddlyblog.com. Please feel free to tell us everything in the comments and a link back to a webcam would be nice too.

Better, yet, act it out. Practice your acceptance speech for the Nobel prize in the bathroom mirror. Flip through magazines and decide what you’ll wear to the premiere of your movie. Be a total goofball about it, because goofy makes you happy and happy sets you on fire.

When you’re on fire, ask yourself, how can I move towards having more of this in my life? It doesn’t necessarily mean finding a way to quit your job and do this full time straightaway. Currently, I only work on my blog and other online ventures very part time, but that’s enough to make doing all the scut work a mom of five must do seem not so bad.

The thing is, when you’re feeding your passion it says okay, I’m being taken care of, you can go do all that other stuff for a bit as long as you promise to come back and give me more cookies. Passion isn’t totally unreasonable, it just wants some tender loving care.

A life of boredom is not an inevitability, it’s totally optional. You can lead a life where you feel engaged, motivated and ready to kick butt; it might not be easy to start taking those steps but once you do, watch out! You won’t believe how you managed to put up with anything less for so long.

You can read more from Tracy at I Hate My Message Board

Next Post: How To Get A Free Flight or Hotel Upgrade

I have written a long post on using advanced language patterns, NLP and some sleight of mouth. I have been umming and ahing over whether to post it, but have finally decided with the encouragement of no less than two people on Twitter, to go for it. I may get some grief for shaky ethics, but what the hell; somebody told me my use of the ‘F’ bomb in the last post was tame. Are there grades of ‘F’ bomb depending on the gratuitousness? I’m fucked if I know.

How To Be Rich & Happy – Coming To A Monitor Near You, 9/22/9

18 comments to A Life Less Boring

  • I totally agree. I didn’t even realize how bored I was until I started writing, then I was like WOAH I’ve got a lot to say. Having said that, sometimes boredom is only a spark to the best of our creativity.

    Writer Dads last blog post..6 Rules For Remarkable Marital Communication

  • [...] have a guest post up today on some guy I talk about way too much’s blog called “A Life Less Boring“. It’s about avoiding a life of crushing boredom by following your passion. I’d [...]

  • Great post!

    I’m a working stiff/corporate drone and I’ve been on rails since I first starting caring about keeping my writing inside the lines.

    Apart from stints as a scientist , nightclub manager and occasional jewelery packer, my working life has always been about corporations.

    That does have some benefits but those faraway hills are awfully green.

    Many, many more eloquent people than I have written plenty about the insidiousness of a corporate career and how it ensnares one. It’s not always as bad as it sounds but there will always be an element of unrequited longing for something else.

    For me that occasionally manifests itself in some ugly jealousy of those who chose another path. Those bohemians and artists , those entrepeneurs and drop outs and surferdudes and niche operators.

    I have a friend who is rarely not on a Greenpeace ship fighting whalers or some other injustice and yet I find myself sometimes wondering what tax jurisdiction he comes under rather than admiring his principles.

    I catch myself assuming that the guy who sell skidoos and wave runners must surely have used his daddy’s money to start his business.

    I sometimes reset those 40 year old men who work as store clerks because it’s all they need to pay the bills and that’s all they want of out of a job.

    But these things pass, I’m not stupid , I’ve seen those people who take their passions and run with them and make it work. I know that excuses about not having the freedom to make those choices are bogus. My jealousy of the dropouts like Richard Branson or renaissance men like Teddy Roosevelt is tempered with admiration too. For the balls it took. So a life less boring and A Daring Adventure certainly resonate with me.

    I married a woman who is not like me, someone who is actively taking her passion and turning it into something she enjoys and will certainly be successful at. It’s pretty awesome when you can have actual admiration for what your spouse does. More importantly , when our children show aptitude for something other than keeping their writing between the lines, she may see the need to nurture that before I do. She sets a fine example, I fully expect to be very proud of my boys and I’ve gotten over measuring success in dollars and not happiness. I might even be able to learn something from her about how to seek out contentment. Soon enough I may have my own story to post.

    Great read. Thanks.

    DeaghDias last blog post..Why do people eat too much

  • Writing it down, whether it’s your life’s major goal or smaller goals, is an important tool for clarifying to yourself what you really want to achieve with your life.

    If it’s a major goal, it’s also a good idea to break it down into smaller goals – and put it in writing, too.

    Vered – MomGrinds last blog post..40+ Activities For Kids That Do Not Involve TV, Computer, Wii, Or Any Other Screen

  • [...] Tim Brownson, citaat afkomstig uit zijn blogpost ‘a life less boring‘ [...]

  • @Writer Dad, I think all negative feelings are opportunities for us to figure out what we need in our lives.

    While I was writing, I was thinking that I should probably mention that I do believe in giving kids time to be bored and not rushing around all of the time to entertain or occupy them. Some of my favorite times are just listening to the stories the kids tell themselves while they are playing by themselves, which wouldn’t happen if I were rushing in to enrich them. I just think it’s hogwash to think that our kids have a life of boredom ahead that they need to practice for!

    @Vered there is something magical about writing things down, isn’t there? When Tim told me to write my goals down I was resistant, then I figured well, I must be resistant because there is something powerful about writing them down otherwise, I’d just write it down and be done with it.

    And so then I put it off and put it off and finally couldn’t put it off anymore and wrote them down and it was…well, a little anticlimatic, because I’d built myself up for the heavens to part and angels to sing, but there was also a sense of “Okay, wow, I can do this, here it is.” Before it was just some sort of vagueness in my head.

    Tracys last blog post..Why do people eat too much

  • @DeaghDia At risk of using Tim’s blog to be all schmoopy you are the most supportive spouse a person could ever dream of having. I fell in love with you because you are a man of imagination and passion. We have such a wonderful life ahead of us and so much of it is because of your dedication to our well-being in every facet of life.

    I am all verklempt now, but I just wanted to say that I think you are extraordinary and there is so, so much to admire about you.

    Tracys last blog post..Why do people eat too much

  • Tracy,

    The more I find out about ya, the more gladder I is to be your friend.

    Amazing.

    George

    Tumblemooses last blog post..What It Takes to Make It Writing Children’s Books

  • The only place I was ever bored was in school. When I learned how to read then school became better, but I was reading Dr. Zhivago at age 5 I had no idea what the folks were talking about when it came to math…no one knew about Dyscalcula back then

    I am finally doing for hours everyday what makes me the most excited about getting up in the mornings – writing.
    I am going through a dry spell in readers and I think I am writing some fairly amazing stuff…I don’t really care that I have almost no subscribers (now that I found my numbers) because I have folks reading what I write and that has never happened before. I loose track of time and the need to eat…

    But now I don’t wish to do the slog work any more…I feel like if I clean one more toilet, I will just put my head in and stay put…and the vacuuming hurts my ears…

    and I got 3 children grown and I lived with Oppositional Defiance Disorder and lesion in the brain (long term memory)and instilled values in that child and think I might not find a reward until it is posthumous
    I love to write, I love that some people read what I write….maybe this is it?
    Though Haggen Daas Pomegranate Chip Reserve Ice Cream sometimes makes a great reward in the here and now.

    Patricias last blog post..Vows Another Word for Promises

  • Great article Tracy! Within the first few years of entering the standard path of corporate slavery, I oven asked myself how I could possibly live with such a lifestyle for 30 or 40 years. Now I realize that it doesn’t have to be that way and am pursuing a much more fulfilling path. As you suggested, when we have more meaning and passion in our lives, the trivial and mundane tasks that are normally boring suddenly have a purpose and are much easier to get through, and sometimes even satisfying.

    Vin – NaturalBiass last blog post..Beer vs Soda: Which is Worse?

  • A huge thanks to Tracy for writing this post. I genuinely am a huge fan of hers and I know her own blog will go from strength to strength.

    I hope all you good people have checked it out and in particular this post:

    http://ihatemymessageboard.com/2009/05/10/where-do-all-the-millions-of-dead-birds-go/

    Is Jacob in the comments being serious???

    Thanks to all you people for commenting and the O’Connor love-in!

  • Hi Tracy and Tim,

    I can’t even remember the last time I was bored. I am constantly adding more to my plate, not only to challenge myself, but to learn more.

    I like the idea of writing things down- goals, questions, thoughts, etc. It seems to make my goals more concrete, as well as cement the ideas into my head. It’s like having an intelligent conversation – with myself. :)

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..Blog Posting – Rap It Up

  • Excellent points, Tracy! As one who does have to deal with depression, I can say this approach you sketch out above helps. And can help a lot!

    The breakthrough for me came when I realized that if I put action into the things I was passionate about and stopped ruminating on the things that were in my way, hurt, confused, angered or worried me, I could find my passion. And if I found my passion, took action to live it, I just might tame that dark beast of depression. That was a turning point in my struggle.

    The points you bring up here, though they may not completely eliminate a difficulty such as depression, DO make a significant impact on its ability to take over one’s life. At least it has for me.

    Not to mention that this is just good sense for everyone who wants to do more with their life than just get by.

    For me, I had the same exact experience as WriterDad talked about above. I HAD to write, to express what was inside. So, I started my blog. Had no readers. But, that wasn’t the point. I needed to start living again and that was one way to do it.

    Thanks for this post, Tracy.

    Mr. Nuggetss last blog post..Incredible Sports Moments Even Non-Sports Lovers Will Like

  • Thanks Tracy for this fantastic guest post. Sometimes I will pose this question to my coachees and friends: “What will you do if you have all the money/resources in the world?” To that some will gleefully answer “I’ll just slack off and enjoy life”, and they might even seem unsure of themselves as they say that. I usually challenge that with a “okay, so what’s next after you slack for X number of years?” That’s when they draw a blank and start thinking beyond the confines of a boring life.

    Celes | CelestineChua.coms last blog post..My 25th Birthday! :)

  • @Tumblemoose Thanks! I would say more but I think I’ve used up this blog’s mush allotment for the entire year.

    @Patricia have you read “The Element” by Ken Robinson? I think you’d love that book, it really helped me feel more comfortable in my skin and better about my own experiences in school.

    @Vin I love that it seems more and more people are opening up to the possibility that there is only one way to lead a respectable life. It really is a nice time to be alive, I think.

    @Tim thanks for having me! And thanks for the dead bird question, it’s search engine gold!

    @Barbara I’m not generally bored either, even if I’ve nothing to do, there is always something to think about. It’s funny when one of those cynical sorts implies that it’s somewhat simplistic to be content and generally happy, isn’t it?

    @MrNuggets I think being actively pursuing your goals is a key part to any depression treatment. Of course, if you are severely depressed medical help including medications might be needed to get you able to start. I am really glad you’re feeling better now.

    @Celes That’s true, I think many of us have a hard time figuring out our dreams because we imagine all of these roadblocks that keep us from getting to the visualizing our dream part. So you have to imagine removing the boundaries first before you can imagine the future.

    Tracys last blog post..Why do people eat too much

  • Tracy,
    thank you for the book reference…I am checking my Kindle list right now!

    Patricias last blog post..Stop Packing Your Suitcase

  • I used to almost never be bored in my work and recently I have started getting bored. I think I was a workaholic for so long and I was so stressed and busy that I didn’t have time to get bored. I’ve recently only begun to realize it wasn’t all worth it and there is something better. Now it’s boring. But you can look at it a different way. It’s a lever to something better. It pays the bills while you are developing something else on the side. Also, while boredom in my work has increased, the excitement in the rest of my life has also increased. There are no easy answers to all this Tracy but thanks for opining on it all.

    Stephen – Rat Race Traps last blog post..Get High on Life With Enthusiasm

  • Tracy!

    Another fantastic post! Learned so much, and… “You won’t believe how you managed to put up with anything less for so long.” Is that so true! Just wanted to say thanks for another inspiring post! cheers

    Kirks last blog post..Men: STOP Dressing Liks Slobs