Meaning problems often manifest as boredom

When we feel the rumblings of dissatisfaction, stuck in the twilight zone of unfulfillment, trapped in the repetitive habit of escalating discontent, it’s important to remember something. 

Boredom is the symptom, not the problem. 

It only appears when broader meaning is absent. 

Maisel’s research on natural psychology explains it as follows. 

Boredom arises as a special, terrible problem for smart people. Because a smart person has a lively brain, that brain wants to work, it is primed to think, and if you give it nothing to do, it will do nothing for as long as it can bear to do nothing, but it will not be happy. It will be bored and, worse yet, begin to doubt the meaningfulness of life. 

This is usually around the time our compulsive and addictive behaviors step in to save the day. They seduce us into engaging in exciting and soothing behaviors to deal with our painful state of affairs. 

And it rarely works out for the better.

A healthier response to boredom is to reframe our language around it. To see it for what it really is, which is a meaning crisis. 

Unless we train ourselves think of it this way, unless we learn the appropriate language to diagnose and treat boredom, we stand defenseless against it. 

Boredom isn’t the problem, meaning is. 

Which is something that is made, not found. 

Instead of expecting the world to relieve us of our feelings, we ought to try converting our divine dissatisfaction into genuine improvement.


How do you solve your frustrated quest for meaning?

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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

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