Part 1 | Strengths and Boredom

strengths-photo-9December 15, 2016

It isn’t uncommon to hear folks say that “life is short”.  And, in some ways, it is.

For example, compared to a Great Basin Brittlecone Pine tree our lives are but a blip on the screen—the oldest on record being a tree named Methuselah who lived to be 5,062 years old.

Or, take Adwaita, an Aldabra Giant Tortoise, who died in 2006 at the age of 255, which made him the oldest living land animal.  Think for a moment that this means that he was born in the year 1750…

That said, making comparisons can be dangerous because it puts us out of touch with our own, specific reality.  That is, we are humans and not trees or tortoises.  So, we are wise to calibrate our sense of “long” and “short” based on something more than comparisons to beings outside of our selves (and our species).

This means, we might consider asking the question, “How has life felt so far?”  Long or short?  For most of us, the answer is, well, both.

And, it is true.  When we measure ourselves against Methuselah, indeed, our time here is brief.  But, let us consider for a moment that life, too, is long.  So long, in fact, that we have time enough to grow bored!

What can this mean?  After all, we live on a planet where life is so diverse that even today we are discovering new species.  Add to that, there are more than 7 billion humans here.  And, we are a busy species—worldwide, we publish a quarter of a billion new book titles every year; pump 70 million barrels of oil each day; and send 80 trillion emails annually.

So, how is it that we are able to experience an emotion like boredom?  The answer probably boils down to one word: perspective.

Our perspective shapes our reality, it is the pair of glasses through which we view the world.  It defines our expectations, our attitude, and, most importantly, our limitations.  Simply put, the narrower our view, the narrower our scene.  What we make available to ourselves in terms of stimulus and opportunities begins between our ears.

We can ask ourselves: When I get bored is it because there is nothing to do and/or think about?  Or, is it because, I, myself, am not doing or thinking about anything?  Can we ever blame someone outside of ourselves for our boredom?  These are real (not rhetorical) questions.

What action can I take to stay more lively engaged in my own life and the lives of my fellow humans, tortoises, and trees?

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.


Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.

2 thoughts on “Part 1 | Strengths and Boredom

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