Could Boredom be leading us to Britain's most creative period since the second world war?

 

According to new research from Dr Sandi Mann from The University of Central Lancashire, whose specialist subject is understanding the benefits of doing nothing, “Boredom is one of our most creative forces”.

 

Our current lockdown could turn out to be one of the world’s most creative times ever.

 

The research reveals that if people do nothing to the point where they get really bored, they then become creative and start thinking in novel and productive ways.

If my social media streams are anything to go by, the creativity to entertain with singing, dancing and all kinds of madcap humour then creativity as a result of boredom does seem to prove Dr Mann’s point. For example, the rise in TikTok engagement during this pandemic has been huge.

John Eastwood of York University in Toronto, Canada has founded a Boredom Lab to investigate. In one of his studies, he proved that people prone to boredom were more creative than average.

In a cautionary note, according to London based Psychologist Dr Jessamy Hibberd, we have to also be aware that boredom can have its downsides if people have a sense it might never end. So it can, in that instance, create a propensity to suffer depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse and anger.

Ironically, they also seem to be traits of many super creative people I know, and when you look back in time to famous artists those trends are also evident. Perhaps they spent a lot of time bored?

However, there is good news and this comes from Professor Erin Westgate of Florida University, whose research is ‘Why Boredom is Interesting’. She says that being bored may not be pleasant, but what determines if it is good or bad is “how we respond”. So boredom has a positive impact if experienced in small doses. 

 

 

It’s clear to all of us that we've already been forced to be more creative.

We are suddenly doing things differently.

We are socialising, exercising and doing business in new ways.

 

And if adversity is the mother of invention, then add into that the power of boredom and we have a heady mix that will lead to a huge surge in creativity.

 

As someone who has worked in and run creative businesses for nearly three decades, I am really excited to see how creativity will come to the fore over the coming weeks and months.

I have felt, for some time, that imagination has taken a backseat to rationality.

Certainly, the creative arts have become shamefully less important in our educational curriculum. 

 

The change I yearn for could be here.

 

And we now have it on good authority.

 

This is a time for creativity.

 

Embrace your boredom and use it to springboard your ideas.

 

Enjoy your boredom as it will take you on a creative journey.

 

Let’s hope our ideas and creativity take us to places we could never have imagined just a few months ago.

 

 

 


Richard Sharp - The SHARP agency

Richard Sharp

Creative Director