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Use Boredom to Your Advantage

"We are naturally inclined to hate boredom." -John Spencer

My principal tossed an article from the latest Educational Leadership in front of our team this week entitled, "The Gift of Boredom."

In the article, educator John Spencer recounts his time in the classroom, and he elucidates moments wherein he consciously placed students in a moment of boredom to see what creativity it might generate.

I'm not boring you already, I hope?

Think about when you have your best ideas: in the shower, working the night shift, or maybe on the bike! I know that I have those moments all the time. I have some of my best moments locked in the bathroom, and I can tell you that because we're friends, right?

Spencer goes on to explain that after moments of boredom, science has proven that the brain is capable of lots of creative moments. He advises giving students moments of enforced nothingness, and then he gives them stimulating creative activities right afterwards.

So, what does this have to do with us? What does it have to do with bikes?

As cyclists, we have an awful lots of time alone either outside or on the trainer. Sometimes, its a good idea to embrace that solitude and let it help stimulate your creative process. So, next time you are on the trainer let your mind wander. Try to turn down the music and not constantly look up at the Zwift screen and see if anything useful comes out of it. Next time you are out alone on a long stretch of road, put your mind onto a problem that you face in life, at work, or at home. See what you can make out of that time alone.

Chances are that your mind, not in that all too familiar constantly distracted electronic state, will be at its best. I have often done some of my best thinking on the bike, especially before a big interview or presentation.

If you are like me and tend to forget all the great ideas you have right after having them, consider using your smartphone and recording some of the more profound things as they come to you. I think for me, I am going to grab my Go Pro and turn it on myself (the "Go Pro start recording" command is awesome). As long as it is safe to do so, of course.

Embrace the silence. Use boredom to your advantage. Use isolation to stimulate your creativity. Science is on your side if you do.

For a look at more from John Spencer, click HERE.

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