#958 – Adaptive Boredom | Tinkered Thinking

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Key Takeaways

  • Just as we adapt to pleasure, we can also adapt to boredom
    • “The more boredom that is endured, willingly and with effort, the easier it becomes to handle that boredom” Tinkered Thinker
    • Eventually, we can thrive in boredom and get access to the flow state more often

Intro

Have We Conquered Boredom?

  • We may think that due to the endless entertainment that our phones provide, we would have banished boredom
    • This is far from the truth

The Unappreciated Utility of Boredom

  • We feel bored when we sit down and focus on a single task
  • If we stick with it long enough, we get into flow
    • Suddenly it becomes fun and productive
  • Why then don’t we actively seek “boring” single-task work?

Evolutionary Roots for Distraction

  • Animals who single-mindedly focused on one task were more likely to not notice when a predator was sneaking up on them
  • Natural selection might have selected animals that would get distracted enough to notice predators
    • “The Darwinian world of natural selection doesn’t really optimize for the deeply contemplative creature, but civilization rewards for it” – Tinkered Thinker
  • Considering this evolutionary pressure, it surprising that we manage to sit and focus on our work

Enduring Boredom to Adapt to it

  • If our attention slices cannot endure boredom, how can we enter the flow state?
    • We’ll easily fall prey to the dopamine hits provided by our phones
    • With hedonic adaptation, we always need more dopamine to satisfy our needs
      • We become incapable of enduring boredom
  • Difficult work is the opposite of scrolling our phones
    • It can be boring and even painful (especially at the start)
  • Just as we adapt to pleasure, we can also adapt to boredom
    • “The more boredom that is endured, willingly and with effort, the easier it becomes to handle that boredom” Tinkered Thinker
    • Eventually, we can thrive in boredom and get access to the flow state more often
Tinkered Thinking : ,
Notes By Giorgio Parlato

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