An Insight a Day

Constantly Busy or Constantly Bored?

Between being constantly busy or constantly bored, which would you rather be?

People like to complain about being constantly busy and not having enough time in the day. Suppose we offer them the complete opposite, a life of being constantly bored with nothing to do. Do you think they would take it? Would you take it?

Note: Being constantly bored doesn't mean mindlessly scrolling social media or browsing the web all day, it means being stuck at home with absolutely nothing to do. Just you and your thoughts.

The funny thing is that most people actually like being busy, so much so that it's a status symbol. Being busy feels important, it gives us a sense of purpose and meaning, and it makes us feel like we're making progress toward something. Anything. It's like a free pass to not think about anything, an excuse to justify all the things we're not doing or achieving.

In contrast, what does a life of boredom look like? Unless you're filthy rich or can afford to do nothing all day, most people would see you in a rather negative light. They would look down on you and think you're wasting your life away. Society doesn't like it when people do nothing, it hurts productivity and drives down GDP, stuff like that.

I know what you're thinking, this is a false dichotomy. We should strive for a balance between the two, and you're right, which is why if you were ever offered the opportunity to experience a life of constant boredom, you should take it. Take it to balance out the years you've lost to the constant busy work, take it so you've at least experienced what it's like on the other side.

Perhaps the biggest reason why everyone needs to experience being constantly bored is this: It affords us the time to sit still and think. Having nothing to do is like a superpower, time slows to a crawl as you're faced with all sorts of existential thoughts. What will you do today now that you're free to decide for yourself? Will you trade away this freedom just to have the comfort of being told what to do again?