Part 3 | Strengths and Boredom


December 30, 2016

We’ve all been bored.  So, philosophically, we all know what boredom is.  However, researchers, in a scientific sense, still don’t know exactly what it is and what purpose, exactly, it serves.  What we do know is that there are five main types of boredom.

Indifferent Boredom is when we withdraw from the world, daydream, and, basically “check out” of reality.  This type of boredom is brought on by fatigue and is generally rather peaceful.

Calibrating Boredom is when we are somewhat agitated, unmotivated, and unengaged in the present.  With this type of boredom we might feel a little bit anxious and lost.

Searching Boredom is when we feel restless and trapped.  In this state, we think of other ways that we could be using our time and we try to find a way out of whatever it is that we are doing in the moment.

Reactant Boredom is a highly charged emotional state where we feel strongly compelled to escape.  We may feel intense negativity about our current situation and blame others whom we feel are responsible for it.  Here, we feel like we are wasting our time and we think continually about other things that we could be doing.

Apathetic Boredom is the most common of all boredoms.  This is when we feel hopeless and lack any motivation to change.  It’s a feeling akin to depression.

Okay, we know that it exists.  We know that it comes in different forms.  We know from our direct experience that it is mostly unpleasant.  So, what can be done about boredom?

One solution is to develop a contemplation practice.  It is simple.  Put away your phone.  Put away your computer.  Look around the room or stare out a window until a question surfaces.  Maybe it’s something simple like, “I wonder how many people have been in this room?” or “How many leaves are on that tree out there?”  Then, take a few moments to contemplate the question.  This opens the mind and forms new connections in the brain.

When we tune our minds to the world around us, there is always something to think about.  And, contemplation is an art.  It takes practice.  We may not always have “deep” thoughts, but we can train our minds, little by little, to go deeper and to see the world with increased fascination and curiosity.

Also, remember that we, ourselves, still contain mysteries.

For example, science still does not know exactly how many cells make up the human body; estimates range from 10 trillion to 400 trillion in the average adult person.  So, how is it that we don’t know?  For one, what “counts” as being a part of the body is up for debate.  Take the bacteria in our gut, for example—it is so numerous and vital to our health and functioning that our gut flora has been called “the forgotten organ”.  It is suggested that for every one cell in the human body there are ten bacteria.  This means that even if we said that the body contains 10 trillion cells, there are 100 trillion more bacteria inside us.  We cannot live without them, should we count them?

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.

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