(originally published June 14, 2010)
Quite a few calls to my radio program involve people who are dealing with the problem of being bored, and as many of you have heard me say many times - people who are bored are usually boring. Either you can choose to be like a cork in the ocean, waiting for a wave or swell to elevate your mood or you can be pro-active and/or philosophical.
Pro-active means that you actually take control of your existence and do something which engages you, is generous, works up your sweat, adrenaline, and endorphins, or which challenges you to be inventive, creative and operating outside of the box.
Philosophical means that you reframe your perspective. For example, a nurse called to complain that she seems to get a higher percentage of the most difficult patients than others on the nursing staff. She felt put upon. I suggested that this was because she was the most competent to deal with such patients, but she countered with, "Well, I'm getting burned out." I then suggested that she make sure that she freshens up her brain and body with fun times, exercise, and friends.
A number of women who have exactly what they wanted in live (a husband, a home, children, and the freedom to be at home) have called to say they are overwhelmed and under motivated. From a philosophical standpoint, motivation is more of a pop psych requirement of correct behavior than a true necessity. For example, how do you motivate yourself to go into combat or a burning building in order to rescue people, or into surgery when you know there's only a minimal chance of survival for the patient, but the procedure is their last, best hope?
We do what we must do/should do, because we have accepted that responsibility. If everyone in a position of responsibility waited to "feeeeel" motivated, nothing would ever get done!
I tell these women that if they behaved as though they were motivated, they would simply enjoy their lives more. Waiting around for a trigger is passive and useless.
From a pro-active standpoint, that means getting friends, hobbies and creating physical challenges, as well as acting like the kind of woman they would want to come home to. If they do that, their husbands would come screeching through the door with enthusiasm.
So, if you're bored, you're being boring. Get philosophical. Get pro-active. Don't wait for a feeling - create a better mini-universe without whining, complaining, or feeling sorry for yourself.
Remember the days of washboards and manual television controls? No? Too bad. You would then have the other "P" word: perspective.