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Redefining Success By Wasting Time

Or, Charles Darwin's bad side.

A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.

-Charles Darwin

This quote is brought to internet surfers by popular bibliophile site GoodReads. But we don't need to look to Darwin to hear messages about how every second of our life is precious and that we mustn't waste one iota of it!

There are many things we do everyday that don't technically contribute to our overall well being. For those who are Type-A minded (as I myself am to some extent), this can feel like wasting time. It's like the way truly busy people look at boredom and scoff: why would I sit around wasting time? But that's not what it is at all. So let's look at what a person can gain from being "bored." What is boredom? It's not having anything to do. Or rather, it's not having anything planned to do. But when have we ever looked at the benefits of it?

Right now, I am sitting at my computer typing because I blocked off thirty minutes to sit in front of my screen to type. I prefer pencil to paper, but for a blog post I need to type into blogger specifically for simplicity, or I would never finish any posts. I also need quiet - and no distractions. This is how I write. But the circumstances are never apt unless I create a space of time for writing that looks a lot like "boredom" - I don't have anything planned for now but to type. And the thing is, if I didn't have it this way, my mind wouldn't be free to wander and connect ideas. More specifically, I need to have my mind in a space where any idea could connect to any other. That's part of what makes writing intriguing to others.

As I sit here typing in this section of time blocked off in my mind as "empty space - pls write," I am engaging in behavior that is pretty boring, fundamentally. Writing isn't always exciting, and nor is the thought of sitting down to write and not knowing where you are going. But this time away from the regular schedule of life is ripe for creation. So I type now, but in the end I have a new blog post. And in repeating the cycle I create many posts. Doing one thing many times (as boring as that may be) is often the way to success.

This is how a writer writes: setting aside time to be bored, in front of pen and paper.

Therefore I disagree with Darwin. Boredom creates value. For artistic types like me, "wasting time" is golden.


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