Boredom – like apathy – is likely not what you think it is. Boredom is not literally being bored because you have nothing to do; boredom in this context relates to the withdrawal symptom when one removes themselves from constantly ‘caring’ what everyone else is doing.
Go back to the typical Ironman triathlete described above in the section on apathy.
Think what it would be like to be that athlete and instead of seeking someone to constantly race to make ‘training’ sessions spicy, they instead head to the pool and whether there are others at the pool or not is irrelevant because they are there to do what they need to do.
Wow! That sounds just riveting doesn’t it!
Well, to someone like my wife who already trains like that… well, yes.
But if you go back to the typical triathlete whose constant metric of how they are doing is based on how they are doing relative to random other people they have found on Zwift or Strava or Facebook or whatever social platform then yes… this is the most boring type of training in the world. In fact, this is why these athletes typically do not train either on their own, or when the gym is quite, when the roads, or track, or wherever they train is quite… because they want, no they need someone else in order to measure how they are doing. Since they are too smart to seek a coach, they believe that training is no different than racing… you just need to go as hard as possible for as long as possible and that makes you better.
Real training to those accustomed to making a spectacle of themselves is boring because it is nothing more than repetition, repetition, repetition.
Think how many times a musician has to rehearse a song so as not to mess up on stage. How many times do they have to play the song on their instrument to ensure that they play every note in key, in sync with the other musicians, in sync with the artist singing the song? How many times does a performer have to sing a song that they want to deliver on stage to thousands of fans without messing up a single note, a single word, a single anything? Countless times is the answer! Now think how many times groups like the Rolling Stones have performed songs like ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’; a song which they released in 1965.
Meanwhile show the typical triathlete a modification to their swim technique, their cycling stroke or running stride… they repeat it 5x over maybe 100m and they act like they have it mastered.
It takes thousands upon thousands of repetitions of any single simple action before the brain can code that action into a motor program that can be downloaded into the spinal cord so that the person doesn’t have to ‘think’ when they want to execute that action (i.e. motor program). Now consider sport and how many discrete actions by various muscles has to occur in order that a ‘simple’ movement such as lifting a leg to take a step as part of a runners stride, or the finish of a swim stroke involves and consider what training effect really occurs if the athlete is spending all their time ‘racing’ some stranger in the pool two lanes over?
Eventually when the withdrawal from ‘caring’ what everyone else is up to dissipates, boredom gives way to a state where you finally give yourself permission to be you, and to be ok with who you are as just… you. You realize that the you today is not stuck and by focusing fully on yourself, the today you can learn, can train, can develop, can progress to becoming an entirely new version of you… a better version of you, with the goal being that you become the very best version of you that you can possibly be.
Where this starts though is with acknowledging where you are now (in the FLOW pinwheel), and if you are living and training in a perpetual state of anxiety, anger, worry, frustration, regret, intimidation, of threat, then the journey begins with disconnecting from caring what everyone else is doing, returning to caring about you and you alone. In this world of technology it is not easy to disconnect knowing that the rest of the world is still online, and the fear of missing out grips you, tugging for you to return and check your online avatar status just one more time… you know… just to make sure that the online world hasn’t forgotten who you are.
What if they did?
What if you stopped caring what the online world – which doesn’t know you or give a rats ass about you – was doing?
What if you were free of them, thus free to be you, free to start exploring who you are, and who you are capable of becoming, of being.