How boredom can lead to most brilliant ideas

Do you sometimes have your most creative ideas while having a shower, folding laundry, washing dishes or doing nothing in particular? It's because when your body goes on autopilot, your brain gets busy forming new neural connections that connect ideas and solve problems.


The term "default mode" was coined by neuroscientist Marcus Raichle. It is used to describe the brain "at rest;" that is, when we're not focused on an external, goal-oriented task. So, contrary to the popular perceptions, when we space out, our minds aren't switched off. In default mode we connect disparate ideas, we solve some of our most nagging problems, and we do something called 'autobiographical planning.'

It turns out that when you get bored, you ignite a network in your brain called the 'default mode.'

A decade ago, we shifted our attention at work every three minutes. Now we do it every 45 seconds, and we do it all day long. The average person checks email 74 times a day, and switches tasks on their computer 566 times a day.


When we are stressed, we tend to shift our attention more rapidly. Strangely enough, that the shorter the amount of sleep that a person gets, the more likely they are to check Facebook (and other social media). So we're in this vicious, habitual cycle.


But could this cycle be broken? What would happen if we broke this vicious cycle? What if we reclaimed those cracks in our day? Could it help us jump-start our creativity? This is the start of Manoush Zomorodi's "Bored and Brilliant" project.


This short video describes how we can utilise the power of boredom to jump start our creativity and break some of our device and social media habits.



Check out the full length TED talk here.



Credit: Manoush Zomorodi

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