Nov 3, 2007

Boring is Normal….

A couple of weeks ago, in response to a call from a friend who asked me how I am doing…my reply was ‘I am just so bored’. That would have been a normal response had I been doing nothing for days preceding that conversation though in fact things were quite the contrary. My hands were more than full with work…work that I most often enjoy doing…except at that time it did not seem terribly interesting. Her response…

Do you think we are all a little too bored…too often these days? Whenever I talk to any of my friends, boredom somehow crops up in every conversation

We spoke at length about boredom that day…

When I was in my teens 7 up had a TVC on air featuring Fido Dido (with his spiked hair and triangular head ) stood for all that was ‘cool’ when he proclaimed…’normal is boring’…a value that kids identified with those days. Not that the teens today would find normal any less boring - though the converse of this statement has become so true of their lives too.

Is ‘being bored’ reflective of times we live in. There was relatively less restlessness and more contentment amongst people of an older generation. Are we as a generation constantly craving excitement, thrill, adventure or all the rush that comes up with new experiences? My feeling is the more we expose ourselves to exciting stimuli …the shorter is the span of excitement…the quicker the onset of boredom.

So, if ‘engaging in a new activity’ kept me interested for a few months in the past…today it may keep my interest sustained for a few weeks. Perhaps it stems from too much stimuli we are exposed to….a feeling of wanting to do too much…in too little time. My friend labeled it the ‘super human syndrome’ – and talked about how even professionally – we are not content with focusing on one narrow area of work…the more we read about related / peripheral areas the greater is the restlessness to learn and excel at those. One fights to reach the top…and when one has, instead of thinking about & enjoying that feeling of achievement, we fix our attention to the next peak…and the next peak…

If this is a latent feeling amongst people today…then brands / products that keep reinventing themselves will continue to remain exciting.

Rashmi Bansal (editor of JAM – a popular youth magazine in India) cites Mobile phones as an example of a category that has done just that

The mobile phone, has no problem invading ‘other’ territory and annexing it. Going by conventional wisdom, phone companies should have stopped at improving voice clarity and enhancing looks. But they never thought of themselves as merely a phone. Instead of waiting for someone to express the desire for a service called SMS or a camera embedded into a phone, someone just went ahead and invented it. Part of the reason the mobile maintains its cool is the scorching pace the industry has set in terms of innovation….The term ‘mobile’ happens to be associated with a technological device, but ‘mobility’ lies at the core of what it means to be young.

5 comments:

Katia said...

Hi Reshma,

I've had that talk with so many friends and family members... I absolutely agree with you that the onset of boredom is faster than it seemed to be for other generations. We're better educated individuals, which in itself means we need some kind of mental stimuli, and we live in a world where things change much faster than before. We adapt much faster to these changes and we move on to other things. So, whenever we "get stuck" and don't seem to be doing something different, we get bored.

I wonder what people from newer generations will be like :-)

Khushboo said...

i can totally connect with what you've written!

'Bored' has become a perineal state of being for many today. Guess our generation doesnt know how to spend time with oneself! We need something external all the time!

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Reena said...

HI Rushma,

Just browse through your blog by chance...and your article attracted me! ( Probably I am bored at the moment too after many days off for sickness) probably it is human's nature to find something new? I've never seen a dog or cat look bored. Some inner instinct that pushed us to look for the change....i am not sure whether we have something called optimize pleasant or not, the point that we feel enough for something...such as we feel happy enough for this model of mibile phone..and no need to chnage unless it is broken...??

Focus Group Moderator said...

Glad that I stumbled upon this blog...it's going to go in my bookmarks. Ironic that I stumbled upon this while feeling bored.