Part one originally was originally published in October 2015 , so time I think to return to this topic and consider more deeply what might lie behind someone having attained a high level of skill in their field and yet experience little or no joy in applying it.
A couple of things spring to mind regarding this:
I wonder about ‘profound boredom’ and how people might reach this point. Is it just about the loss of excitement, fun and interest, they had in the early days?
And what does it mean to be ‘profoundly bored’, regardless of the root cause?
“In conventional usage, boredom is an emotional or psychological state experienced when an individual is left without anything in particular to do, is not interested in his or her surroundings, or feels that a day or period is dull or tedious.”
For me this becomes profound, when there is seemingly no end to it and it appears to permeate every fibre of your being.
However, I also wonder whether it is possible for a person to become so ‘bone weary’, they no longer have the capacity or the energy to fully engage and enjoy the work they are doing. They may well be operating for much of the time on ‘auto pilot’.
My third thought is around ‘values’, and the possibility that there is mismatch between the individual’s values and those of their organisation. Their ‘boredom’ with the work and or organisation might well stem from a growing sense that the ‘work’ no longer holds any real meaning for them.
There is for me something about ongoing boredom and lack of challenge that can over time, perniciously sap confidence and self-esteem.
We can reach a pinnacle, enjoy the view for a while and then start to ask ourselves, what and where next?
And yet, though ‘boredom can be a dangerous and disruptive state of mind’ what might it be trying to tell you? Is it time to ‘shake things up’ and set some new goals? Time to make some radical changes? How bad does it have to get?
In his article, ‘Why boredom is bad and good for you” – David Robson examines the idea of boredom and what it might mean in evolutionary terms. The purpose it might serve, particularly in relation to our ‘curiosity’.
So being bored might well ‘stop us ploughing the same old furrow, and push us to try to seek new goals or explore new territories or ideas’
To read the article in full, please click here.
Examples that I can think of might be surgeons who go into countries where their skills are in short supply and work there.
Project managers, nurses and other professionals who decide to apply their skills to go and set up orphanages, hospitals, clinics…
Lawyers and advocates who might grow tired of ‘billable hours’ and decide to apply their skills in completely new ways, ways that they deem to make a difference.
Appropriate challenge and growth, are what’s needed as I don’t believe we are built or designed to remain in ‘limbo’ for long periods. We live in one of two conditions, we are either moving forwards or we are moving backwards.
Until next time