“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” — Dorothy Parker
I don’t fear anything so much as boredom. My primary school headmaster told me, “only boring people are bored”. Uh-oh. Maybe that’s where the fear set in. And the need to spike everything with a little mania and adrenaline.
Other people don’t know that I’m bored. No reason why they should. I don’t have B.O.R.E.D. tattooed across my knuckles. Over the years they’ve mistaken it for apathy, perfectionism, bravado, showing off and ambition. None of the above, guys, just trying to outrun the boredom.
When I want to sound smart or deter questions, I’ll say that my boredom is born of existentialism. Dress it up as a philosophical state. Cabin fever of the soul. I am, therefore I’m bored. Discuss.
Curiosity is the antidote. Or at least the homeopathic rescue remedy. It may not cure you, but it will stave off the worst of the jitters. And the best part is you can self-medicate.
Some people have a wise kind of curiosity. Theirs comes from experience and knowledge and tolerance and acceptance.
Others have a driving, passionate curiosity. They want to understand everything and to use that to create. Thomas Heatherwick is one. Everything about his work speaks of curiosity and an inquisitive mind. At the Heatherwick Studio exhibition at the V&A, everything that he and his team have created, from the rolling bridge at Paddington, to the Olympic cauldron, and the Spun chair, made perfect sense to me. I walked around the exhibits, thinking to myself, “of course, that’s exactly how it should be. How wonderful, what a clever man”.
bored, sir, but never boring
I don’t have that quiet, thoughtful curiosity. Nor that instinctive ability to interpret and improve. Mine has pretty much remained at the 5 year old development level. It’s less spiritual temperance or creative genius; more unchecked over-excitement and shiny-eyed wonder.
My head is permanently slightly tilted in meerkat fashion, anticipating some new excitement. Apparently I bob along, rather than walk, looking up and around, just in case I miss something interesting. I’ll still make a beeline for a bouncy castle (especially if it’s got a slide) – I suspect Jeremy Deller is the same, if his Sacrilege inflatable Stonehenge installation is anything to go by. My favourite words of encouragement are “c’mon, let’s just see….”.
I question and explore and marvel and drink in and force the boredom to chase after me.
And the pleasure to be gleaned from a little curiosity spent is an incredible return. I use my curiosity (and my fear of boredom) to spark ideas and to keep me interested and interesting.
Now to harness that curiosity for learning and business creation ……. maybe there’s a niche in bouncy castles for grown-ups….?