Do you sometimes feel like your life has fallen into an endless pattern of: wake up, eat breakfast, go to work or school, come home, watch TV, go to sleep, rinse and repeat? While at your desk, does you your mind wander away from you, fantasizing of a hobby or activity that could put an end to the monotony of the mundane?
Keeping in mind that business is different than boredom, how would you rate your boredom level 1-10? How often do you engage in things that excite you?
If your answers to those questions aren’t what you hoped, you may be experiencing the boredom blues. Daily routines are not necessarily bad; in fact, as humans, we often thrive when our days have some sense of order. But when our routines stay the same for too long, feelings of boredom may begin to outweigh precious moments of excitement… If this goes unchecked for too long, we may end up finding ourselves dissatisfied and unhappy.
I’m going to propose a somewhat unconventional solution to the boredom blues: commit to once a week, shaking up your routine by seeking out at least one experience of AWE.
To understand awe, think for a moment of the last time you said, “Woah!” or “I almost don’t have words for this… this is really incredible!” Awe is usually behind life’s most exhilarating exclamation points. When experiencing awe, you’ll have the sense that you are overwhelmed by something powerful that completely captures your thoughts into submission. Awe is typically generated by something extremely beautiful, powerful, talented, pure, magnificent, or of great magnitude.
Awe is often cited as the precursor emotion behind many incredible works of art, literature, and movements of change. Most importantly, a genuine awe experience can be what motivates us toward valuable personal growth and meaningful learning.
It would be foolish to believe that an experience of awe will just present itself on your doorstep; you must decide to put effort into seeking it out! Movies and television can feel very entertaining, but they only offer us veiled shadows of the real deal. When seeking awe, you’ll need to get out of your normal routine and explore.
Some awe-inspiring ideas to try:
- Go up! Sometimes the most remarkable visually stunning views are seen and experienced from above. Go for a hike that gets you on top of a mountain, ride the elevator to the top of a building where you can look out at the city lights at night, or take a flight to somewhere new! When buildings and people appear to be as small as ants, it does something to challenge our perspectives in life. If heights aren’t your thing, think of the most beautiful landscape you have the ability and resource to access, and go there.
- Be a talent scout! If jazz music is your thing, see if you can find the best jazz musician in town. If you like art, begin a quest to find the most brilliant painting or sculpture you have ever seen. If you’re a foodie, find the most Food Network worthy chef in your area, and eat at their restaurant. You get the idea…
- Listen to brilliance! Intelligence can be so inspiring, especially when you’re listening to someone who’s knowledgeable in a topic that is interesting to you. Look up the free seminars going on in your neighborhood or local library, and attend one that speaks to you.
- Get involved with people who do good! Working alongside people who are making this world a better place can be one of the best ways to get inspired. Volunteering is one of the most pragmatic ways the experience of awe can lead us to having a more exciting and meaningful existence.
- Look up! We live in a world that functions so uniquely. Our planet Earth is placed in such a way that if we were slightly closer or further away from the sun, life would not be possible on our planet. The universe is a vast ominous thing, and many are often left in awe after considering the enormity of it all. Get away from the city lights one night and gaze up at the night sky to view the stars. Look up your local astronomy club and see if you can get some views through a telescope!
A note for teachers and parents: Once you have found your own awe-inspiring activities, see if you can teach the children in your life how to end their boredom blues. Sometimes we become so focused on teaching children essential skills that we forget that the best learning is ignited from being inspired. See if you can integrate some of the above strategies into your homes and classrooms, so that your children can reap the benefits of awe as well; you may be surprised what learning just naturally occurs!