I haven’t been bored in so long, but I know what it looks like, feels like, and what it can do to a person. Boredom can take us in a few different directions…

* motivate us to do something to change the situation that’s boring us

* frustration, irritation and anger toward who we think is boring us

* demotivate us into depression and the blob state of no movement

A lot of parents romanticize how they were bored when they were kids during the summer and how that spurred them to figure out new games and spend time outside exploring. There’s something to that. Being forced to change your perspective and look for something can jumpstart a person into action towards a new activity from which they learn.

I think adults have a harder time with boredom because it’s so insidious. Work and family demands can keep you in motion and you might not even recognize that you’re bored. So what happens instead is you just feel like something’s not right. You don’t even have the juice to do something that gives you a lift. It feels like depression — kind of — you just don’t feel jazzed. This is ennui.

OK. I think too many people are experiencing boredom. I look at all of the blogging and the videos on the net and figure someone’s doing something while they’re at work and it’s not their work…it’s something that’s somehow more stimulating than what they’re doing at work. So why is work so boring that so many people are avoiding it?

I think we have a national problem with boredom and the way work works. And with education. Bored people need something they can sink their teeth into that inspires them to ‘chew’ longer — to get into something to a deeper level. We need to up the personal expectation level so that adults of all ages are moved to do more with their lives by pushing themselves (or getting someone to push them) further into the world — by going for more opportunity, by learning more in school or on the job.

I advise people to move on if they’re held back at work. I work with my clients to stretch themselves and engage in a way that may be uncomfortable at first. But then they can’t imagine going back to not stretching. We can all do more. But we want more of the good stuff. Stuff that enlivens you — not just distracts you. Being busy doesn’t take away boredom. Opening your eyes to the opportunity around you to discover what’s next removes boredom. Okay, so maybe there’s a bit of fear that comes up. So what? Come on. Let’s go already.