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Wednesday
Jul312013

Rooms 366-372: Stop Being So Boring

Rooms 366-372: Stop Being So Boring

When it comes right down to it, I’m a pretty boring guy. I’m not “watching paint dry” boring, or CSPAN boring, and spending an hour with me isn’t like being water-boarded. You could do worse. 

But you could certainly do a whole lot better. 

And the sad part is: I never knew I was boring. 

I just found out last Tuesday. It crept up on me like the gray hairs on my head. One day, you look in the mirror and you realize you’re somebody different than you used to be. 

Of course, I’ll bet most people wouldn’t see any change in me at all. They might even say that I’m anything but boring. But the truth is, I feel that way, and that’s all that really matters.

It all started because I needed a couple days off. I had been working too many hours for too many consecutive days. My energy was drained and my brain was fried. 

So at 10:00 in the morning I turned my computer off, stepped out of my office and made the thirty step commute to my house. For the first time in months, I was going to take two days off in a row. Maybe I’d do some surfing or hang gliding. A few trendy clubs. A concert in the park. A road trip to Big Sur. 

At least that was the plan. 

Unfortunately, I don’t surf or hang glide, and I’m far too cheap to pay for a $16 cocktail. I’m also allergic to grass and am prone to getting carsick. 

So what did I do? 

I moped around the house like a seven-year-old on a rainy day. Outside of my daily run, I did nothing but check for the mail. 

My name is Bill Apablasa…and I am a boring man. 

Of course, to be fair to myself, I’m not boring all the time. Just enough that it’s becoming harder to find something to do that doesn’t involve a remote or a mouse. 

I’m what you call in a rut, and a rut is what boredom always leads to.

So how did I end up in such a drab and dismal place? 

Well, for starters, I work too much. And I don’t care who you are, when all you do is one thing, sooner or later, that’s all you’ll be. Your “let’s-go-have-fun-and-try-different-things” self will slowly atrophy. 

It’s a universal law: that which doesn’t get used, withers away. 

And, of course, when you combine atrophy with a severe case of laziness, you end up with the perfect recipe for a boring life. 

Now, here’s the point you might not want to hear. 

I don’t think I’m alone. I believe there are more bored people out there today than ever before. But, like me, they just don’t know it. With the internet and TV, alcohol and drugs, expensive toys and 70-hour-work-weeks, it’s easy to believe we’re not bored. 

The fact is, we’re just occupied. 

Life keeps us so busy that we don’t need to lift a finger to figure out how to have fun or fill our day. But, take away the work, TV, computers and smart phones, and then see what we’re left with. As soon as our lives quiet and the distractions fade, we come face-to-face with the hard cold truth that we don’t know what to do with our free time, and so we become bored. 

Unfortunately, most people in the world never allow themselves the freedom to slow down and face these truthful moments.

Fortunately, you’re here because you are a different breed. 

You want out of the one room you’ve been living in. You want more. 

This is why it’s time to draw our swords and fight our way out of the ruts we’re in. It’s time to stop being so boring. 

Rooms 366-372: Stop Being So Boring

Our fight against boredom is not about what we’re going to do for the next hour of our life, nor is it a quest to become the life of the party. 

Our fight against boredom is a fight against apathy, discontent, laziness and the status quo. Our goal is to get back our mojo, climb out of our ruts and put an end to boredom once and for all. 

Here are three tips on How to Stop Being So Boring. For the sake of my friends and family, let’s hope it works. 

Step 1: Accept it—You’re Boring.
I know this isn’t good for your self-esteem, but go ahead, look in the mirror and say out loud: “I’m boring”. 

You don’t have to be boring all the time to say it, but just enough that you notice your phone’s not ringing as much. 

I don’t care who you are, but at one time or another, most of us get caught in our predictable ways, falling into a pattern where we do everything the same way, from the way we dress to what we have for dinner, to where we sit on the couch. Now, each by itself probably doesn’t mean much, but add them up and our simple routines can easily throw us into a rut where we soon become mere shadows of our old selves.

This week our job is to take note of every time we do something purely because it’s what we’ve always done. Let’s question everything we do, while continuously asking ourselves if we’re living on cruise control? 

It’s really the only way to stop being boring.

Step 2: Adopt An Anti-Laziness Strategy.
You can’t be boring without being a little lazy. That’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s true. Change takes action, which takes energy, which takes flexing our inner and outer muscles. We need to get up and move. If we don’t, eventually those muscles are going to weaken until we forget how to use them, which is exactly how we end up alone on New Year’s Eve. 

And it’s not enough to say we’re going to stop being lazy. We need to know what we’re going to do about it. For the those of us who are deeply embedded on the couch, we need a plan we can put into action. Here are a few anti-laziness tips. Feel free to add your own.

  1. Commit to saying yes more. Everyday, add one more “yes” to your day. “Yes” to a conversation. “Yes” to a party you’d typically skip. “Yes” to a walk with your spouse or a day at the beach with your kids, or some adventure your friend wants to take you on. Yes is the first and last word on the road to an exciting life. 
  2. Take one risk a day. If you can choose to do one daily action that makes you feel the slightest bit uncomfortable, you’ll quickly realize this universal truth: it’s almost impossible to be boring if you’re living on the edge of your comfort zone.
  3. Be spontaneous. There’s no better way to rid yourself of boredom than with a heavy dose of impromptu living. Surprise yourself with your own spontaneity. Start today. 
  4. Get rid of a few passive activities. Boredom is often a result of letting other people do for us what we should be doing for ourselves. This week try to stop doing things that don’t require you to lift a finger, figuratively or literally. Whether that means TV, one-sided conversations, spectator sports, or, in my case, living off of my wife’s friends, commit to replacing one passive activity with one active one. It’s time to start driving our own lives. 
  5. Seek out exciting people in your life. Not drug addicts or sword swallowers, but individuals who know how to bring spontaneity and adventure into their lives. It’s infectious, and it’s a good disease to catch.  

Step 3: Embrace Leisure More.
The key to fighting boredom is to cultivate interests outside of our normal comfort zone. Let’s say you like to golf or run. That’s great. But what happens when you take that away? What do you have left? It’s the same thing with work. If work is all we have, it ends up being all we’re good at doing, and, even worse, all we’re comfortable doing. And if we’re only comfortable doing one or two things, it goes without saying that we’re going to be bored doing anything else. 

This week try to do more things that aren’t the slightest bit work-related, and while you’re at it, steer your leisure in new directions. 

So just like we did for the anti-laziness strategy, go ahead and make a list of leisurely things you’ve always wanted to do. And while you’re at it, put down some ridiculous and pointless things on your list as well. The more we can see fun and excitement in everything, even the absurd, the less reliant we’ll be on others providing our entertainment for us. 

My list is already long. I want to go to the L.A. Cemetery for movie night. They’re playing Taxi Driver in two weeks. I’d also like to take ukulele lessons with my wife, learn to Salsa, take karate, do pottery, try yoga, and invest some time in the senior citizen’s bingo night. Of course, at the top of my list, if I ever get the nerve, is karaoke. I’ve never done it, and somewhere down deep, I believe I’ve got a Bob Dylan/Johnny Cash medley that needs a lot more exposure than my shower. 

Yes, I realize this isn’t your James Bond bucket list, but that’s the point. We don’t have to jump out of airplanes to live an exciting, boring-free life. 

We just have to get up off the couch and start trying. 

We can change our whole world by turning the everyday ordinariness of our life into an expression of our true self—an alive, creative, free, joyous and conscious human being.  

Do that and you’ll never be bored again.

I’ll try if you will. 

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