What You Want Lies Beyond a Wall of Boredom
2-½ minutes to read
The military holds the promise of an exciting life. If you haven’t seen the latest recruiting commercials take a look. Think of the adrenaline rush from jumping off that airplane. Is there any chance you’ll find being a Marine boring? Both of these pale in comparison to Special Forces. There’s never a dull moment in the military. Yeah, right. If General Military Training doesn’t put you to sleep paperwork will. But hey, it’s the government. You have to expect tedium. The private sector is different.
The Two Types of Boredom
Growing up not far from Hollywood, the excitement of making movies enthralled me. I had to be a part of it. In the late 1980s, I got my chance. My friend needed a producer for his next project. Count me in!
It didn't take long for reality to hit. Decorating the set. Focusing the lights. Practicing camera movements. Rehearsing the actors. Often it took several hours to set up a shot that took less than a minute to film. As the producer, I had to keep people from getting bored and mischievous to protect my investment.
Since then, I joke about the “glamour” of the film business. Don't get me wrong. Premieres are exciting. But such moments punctuate long periods of tedium.
Of course, it's nothing like the boredom of cold calling. The difference between film production and sales highlights the two types of boredom.
- Passive Boredom – Sitting around with nothing to do.
- Active Boredom – Repetitive tasks that aren't exciting.
Most people can tolerate the first type. You may have trouble relaxing. Still, if your job requires stretches of getting paid to do nothing you can adapt.
How to Overcome Boredom
Active boredom is another story. Having to do dull, repetitive tasks saps most people’s endurance. But you can’t reach a goal without them.
About a month ago I had to start doing abdominal work again. My stomach has gotten too flabby. It is soooooo boring doing crunches and leg lifts. I tried listening to upbeat music while exercising. It didn't help. I had to set an ironclad goal and accept the tedium.
Many job-hunting tasks are boring. Always reaching out to your contacts. Writing lots of thank you notes. Practicing your elevator pitch and what you’ll say in a meeting to get a job. All these can tax your patience. I can understand why you just want the thrill of getting the job. But these boring tasks are what will make that happen.
It won't be different on the job. You’ll have exciting moments. But you’ll spend most of your time on routine work. Yet that’s where you’ll make your biggest impact. Great ideas are a dime a dozen. Execution is what matters. That means doing and keeping track of dozens of small, everyday tasks.
Now you can see why it’s important to have a mission and objectives. You need to work in a field you love. If not, it’s too easy to stop doing the boring tasks that take you to your goal.
Don’t let slick videos seduce you into thinking success and excitement go together. If you want to succeed, prepare to buckle down and power through boredom.
What did you do in the military to keep working toward boring goals?
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