Boring is somber, unexciting, unremarkable, and yet it's the opposite of these things.
This is daily work.
There's nothing here that stands out from the backdrop of everyday life.
This is water on stone, the ever persistent artist in their art, their craft, their daily work. The street sweeper, the accountant, the plumber, the engineer, the writer, in their work for the sake of it.
Absent of ulterior motive.
This is not to suggest that the work is or should be monotonous or soul destroying. On the contrary, work in this way is engaging, energetic, interesting–to the worker.
The monotony and sense of boredom is in the eye of the external disengaged with life beholder who sees the same thing done every day–day in, day out.
In their unease with the apparent stationary, repetitive, ball-busting droll we call work, they are disturbed to the point of thinking they would be destroyed if they had to do it.
They cannot understand how you can go to the wheel and turn it every day.
So they run away, you see, from themselves.
They can't stand to stay in one place, terrified that they might discover something. What could it be?
So they run from shiny thing to shiny thing, but they never find the gold. None that lasts anyway.
They miss the point of it.
In boring there is mastery, understanding, realisation of the truth of things without uttering as much as a word. In fact, to talk about it makes it disappear.
Stay still, but moving in your work long enough and something happens that you could not have imagined–a surprise!
The trick is to find something that holds your unwavering attention. Or is it that it finds you?
Boring to others perhaps, but never to you.
In my early 20s, my job was to prepare university course calendars and application materials for mailing. There was a data entry component, which turned into reams of labels. I sat in a corner of a hallway across from the bathrooms and right next to the lunchroom, boxes of publications towered around me. I would methodically slide each hefty book into an envelope, seal it, place the label in the center, and then tape around the middle of the package in both directions. Repetitive, boring. I got very good at being precise with my placement. I found efficient ways to work and discovered that, in my bending over, picking up, turning, smoothing, taping, bending over again, I was dancing — and dancing to the music of my thoughts. I rarely get the luxury these days of that repetitive focus and quiet opportunity to let my mind wander. Boredom isn’t boring in my books. 🙂
Kristina, this is a great example of how we can turn any task into something meaningful and engaging. Csikszentmihalyi wrote about this in his book, Creativity. Thanks for sharing your experience. If you don’t mind, I’m going to share this in the Peak community – it’s a private space I created for people who are, or wish to be, in command of their own daily work. Here’s an invite if you’d like to check it out. https://peak.humanperformance.ie/join?invitation_token=2da821572df2e89716f13fddaf46301f6ff7537c-53a6eb40-fcee-4b2b-b2c2-744c43b21edf
Very perceptive and a thought provoking read. Thanks Larry.
Many thanks for reading Wilburson