Abandoning the Idea of Boredom

For some, boredom might seem like a natural reaction to school, work, and life. In Monday’s blog, I discussed the connection between what we think and what we do and how taking responsibility for our choices affects our happiness. Today we’ll look at the responsibility we have to assess our situation and alleviate boredom in our daily lives—a concept which many outside of America can’t relate to at all.

According to a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation report, fifty percent of high school dropouts said they dropped out because they were bored. Students who complain about being bored are telling their teachers and parents that they aren’t engaged. Complaining about boredom is a natural defense children use to tell people their brains need more of a challenge or they will atrophy, according to education expert Jenifer Fox.

Employees can experience the same brain drain in their everyday lives due to similarly “boring” situations. In the article, “Bosses Battle Bored Staff,” writer Hannah Martin compiles studies from a mix of psychologists and consultants on the top causes of boredom in the workplace and how employees and employers can battle it. Many employees may be overqualified for their job. When a job is a good fit, the employee should be comfortably challenged. If the employee isn’t challenged enough, they will get bored. If the employee is challenged too much, the challenge turns to stress and causes them to shut down.

If  students learn about self-advocacy at a young age,  they will  know they have a responsibility to make their own choices and seek help when they need it. If these 50 percent of dropouts knew they had resources to help them through their situational boredom, could the numbers drop? If workers knew they had the power to challenge themselves by finding a new job or talking to a supervisor, would they be happier?   If we can also develop new ways of teaching and learning that reflect dynamic, creative and stimulating learning environments then the intrinsic and extrinsic contributors to boredom can be removed.  But, in the end, boredom is a choice just like curiosity and openness, for which we are each responsible.




“Most Dropouts Leave School Due to Boredom, Lack of Encouragement, Report Finds,” http://foundationcenter.org/pnd/news/story.jhtml?id=133800007

“Boredom in School and its Effects on Your Child’s Health,” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jenifer-fox/boredom-in-school-and-its_b_200602.html




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