Never be bored again
What is boredom
When we are bored we struggle to think of something that peaks our curiosity.
When we are curious our brain gives us a hit of dopamine. It is our natural high and it triggers us to seek that experience again. We are keen to delve deeper.
Research out of Washington State University says teens want more independence, but may not have as much autonomy as they’d like in their school and home life. That creates situations where they’re prone to boredom, and may have a hard time coping with being bored. It is suggesting that this boredom is growing faster in girls.
I think this can be easily overcome.
This article is not going to be a list of 50 things you can do to alleviate the boredom of a teenager. How could I possibly know what interests her. She is incredibly unique and a list would be just stabbing in the dark to what would peak her curiosity.
Instead I am going to share a process from which she can create her own list (an activity in itself!). She maybe rolling her eyes right now, but stick with me because once this is mastered it is life changing.
In saying this, it doesn’t happen immediately where we do it once we will nail it. It takes practice, like anything worthwhile, but the good news is the experience is compounding. So even if we only do it once, it is not lost effort. We will be forever altered.
The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size. - Albert Einstein
Coming up with ideas is a process
I take girls through this once a year in our 5 Day Creative Challenge in the summer holidays, but I want to outline it here for you so that you can get started with it today.
“If you want to double your return, I recommended making a conscious effort to support your child through-out the process; that way you’ll gain plenty too. What an enriching and invaluable experience and we’ll forever be grateful for the opportunity. Thank you Jane. x” – Kelly Ludwig
Have you ever rattled off a list of ideas like these and none of them resonate?
- watch a movie OR make a movie
- play a board game OR make a board game
- host a slumber party OR design a slumber party template
- fundraise with friends OR start a business
- volunteer to read to young kids at the library OR write a children’s book
- take an online class OR design and deliver an online class
- cook a meal OR create a restaurant at home for your parents
- redo your bedroom OR create a style guide for girls bedroom
- win a competition OR create a competition
- do a craft course OR host a craft course
- have an outdoor picnic OR make a picnic rug
- fun photoshoot with friends OR sell your photos online
I could go on and on.
What I want to share is a process for coming up with our own ideas that align with our strengths and values and we can’t help but make ourselves feel purposeful and proud of what we create.
Solving the right problem
Before we start looking for a solution we need to make sure we are solving the right problem “I am bored”
It is not enough to start there we need to ask ourselves Why? Not just once but up to five times:
I am bored.
Why is that? …
Why is that? …
Why is that? …
Why is that? …
Why is that? …
This process came out of Toyota and popularised by Six Sigma and it helps us get to the root cause of the problem. This way when we start to saturate ourselves with new information, it is going to be helpful and not send us down a path that is unsatisfying.
Step 1 – Saturate
A teenager already knows things. They have existing knowledge gained from experiences and learning.
But there are things they don’t know.
What we don’t know can feel endless and overwhelming.
This is why I recommend we only saturate ourselves with 3 new pieces of information each time we take ourselves through this process. If we keep searching and researching, it can feel like we are spinning around in this first stage and never make any progress.
Have you ever gone into Google for one thing and half an hour later you are watching a Youtube video that has nothing to do with your original search?
In saying that Google is part of the 3S’s I use to conduct a search for new information.
- Search Engine
- Someone Else
(if Self doesn’t work for you then try Software. If someone has created a piece of Software or an App on your topic, chances are they have had an idea that helps solve it. e.g How to make movies at home)
Any search engine will do. The most familiar one is probably google.com.
When typing your question make sure to add “… + research” to add validity to what you find.
If you are interested in what people are saying about a topic, add “… + forum”.
If you are after ‘how to’ or opinion pieces, add “… + blog.”
This should always be someone whose option we value and trust.
Someone whose values are aligned with ours.
This can be someone we know or someone we know of.
It is not always easy to know the values of people we don’t personally know, but sometimes those who are prepared to be vulnerable reveal character traits we admire.
Reach out to them and ask your question. A wonderful place to start is our parents.
Do you journal?
Asking ourselves the question and writing our answer in a journal can bring amazing clarity.
If journaling is not your thing, try mind-mapping. Place a word or phase at the centre of a piece of paper and start connecting ideas. Keep going until the ideas stop.
Sometimes it is just enough to sit in a place with nothing else but our thoughts…and maybe our dog or cat. For me it is in the garden – my happy place.
Step 2 – Percolate
Take this new and old knowledge and mix it around in your mind.
Do so in alignment with what you are good at and your values. Don’t know what either of those are then do this assessment. (this is a link to DBFLG Someone Like Me account, so note we can see your results or you want to talk about them. Of course you can go to the site independently – highly recommend doing this, but take time with the questions and consider your answers.)
Still stuck articulating ‘values’. Use the strengths as values. This way what we value is aligned with what we do.
When the idea is in sync with what we are good and and what we value, doing something about it feels easy and feels good.
Step 3 – Create
There is nothing creative about an idea unless we act on it.
We need to DO something.
Creativity is the process of original ideas that add value, so creativity by its very nature is doing something that has not been done before. This will feel uncomfortable because we are taking a risk.
When leaders take risks they cause discomfort but they are not delusional. The ability to communicate the the idea and why it is worth trying is invaluable here. This is why when we talk about creativity we do so alongside charisma.
Charismatic people are likeable, but more than this they make people around them feel likeable. Charismatic people have a balance of competence and warmth and it is learnable! Everyone has the ability to dial up their charisma.
When people like us, it is easier to convince people that our risky idea is worth trying because they trust in our skill and make us feel safe and that we belong . That we are part of something exciting or life changing.
Step 4 – Celebrate
This is not something we are very good at – celebrating creativity.
This is because creativity bathes in uncertainty and we don’t like uncertainty.
Have you ever been in a room and been asked for your best ideas, only to be shut down when you offer it. It is because your idea is new or novel and has not been tried before. Therefore the outcome of unknown and that makes people nervous.
But if we are going to do things differently, we need to get comfortable with uncertainty and we need to learn to celebrate it. Trust the creative process will deliver something extraordinary, if not the first time, maybe the second or third.
When we have got comfortable with the risk, and taken that leap of faith in our charismatic leaders, then we need to celebrate the jump, whether it worked or not.
Rejoice if it works.
Reflect if it doesn’t work.
Either way, celebrate the effort. Pat ourselves on the back.
In addition celebrate with people whose opinion we value and trust. This usually is not the 500 followers we have on Instagram but the one, two or handful of special people that have helped you get this far.
Step 5 – Rejuvenate
So often our creative efforts bypass this step and it is why we experience burnout.
After we have celebrated, we need to sit back and take a break. What this is and how long it takes will be different for everyone but it is an essential step that must be taken with every iteration of the process.
The Process in Summary
These five steps can be taken over and over again before one nails the brief.
It can also be used to solve problems within problems.
The beauty of knowing where we are within it, is it alleviates the anxiety that we are not making progress. We can feel like we are spinning our wheels in the saturate and percolate stage, going over and over our ideas. Instead we can take comfort that this is where we are at and we understand if we are to have an impact, we have to DO something. We have to create something.
Creatives celebrate regardless of the outcome, because it is not the outcome that is the goal, it is the process of original ideas that have value.
The creative process is a process of surrender - Julia Cameron.
Besides, celebrating is one of the reasons creativity is fun. So it should never be missed!
When we have tried and won, or tried and failed, we should rest. Our mind, body and soul requires it if we are going to wake up tomorrow and do it all again.
If our children can nail this process to a point where it becomes innate, they shall never be bored again.
If your children would like to go through the process with us and have something truly unique to show for it, join us for our 5 Day Creative Challenge. We only do it once a year in January of the Summer school holidays. A gift your children will have for the rest of their lives.
Register now to go on the waitlist. This way we can notify you when the cart is open.