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If you're bored, you're doing it wrong

In the current days of fast Internet speeds and extensive free content, it is very easy to entertain yourself and find exciting things to do. Yet, I see so many people who can’t find anything interesting to do online. Why are people so bored? I’m going to take a wild guess and say it probably has to do with how they are spending their time. Before the Internet, there were many areas of knowledge and expertise that were completely off limits to the layperson. There simply wasn’t a way to access the bleeding edge research being done at top institutions.

Nowadays, once something profound is discovered, found, or completed we hear about it almost instantaneously. We literally have live updates from ESA when they are attempting to land a tiny spacecraft that left Earth 10 years ago on a comet that’s traveling 84,000 miles per hour through the solar system. It’s extremely exciting and a huge privilege to live in such times.

There are no areas off limits to our curiosity. If there is any area of human exploration that interests us, we can immediately look it up from the comfort of our papasan chair.

Right now, literally in this instance, you can instantly learn about any advanced area of technology or research you want. Just off the top of my head, here are a few areas that could be interesting to learn about:

  • Nuclear Physics
  • Neural Networks
  • Stem Cells
  • Reusable Rockets
  • Autonomous Cars
  • Virtual Reality
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Nanorobotics

Not only can you learn about these fields, but you can learn them with enough breadth and depth to actually advance them if you wished. Obviously, your dedication and conviction will play a huge role on whether or not you actually do, but the point is that you could if you decided to. Take George Hotz aka geohot, for example. Geohot is a college dropout who became somewhat famous for jail-breaking the iPhone and getting sued by Sony for hacking the Playstation 3. He is now attempting to compete directly with Tesla by creating a self-driving car. And he’s had some success. He isn’t gaining his knowledge of artificial intelligence or automated driving by attending Podunk University in Nowhereville, Pennsylvania. He’s teaching himself these technologies with the Internet because he’s a hacker who grew up with it and understands its power.

So how the hell could you possibly be bored with the entire Internet at your fingertips? Well, there is potentially a dark side to Internet use as well. Recent research suggests that our attention spans are shrinking due to the reliance on smartphones and short bursts of information. Because we have so much information available to us at any given time, we are requiring it to be consumable in bite sized chunks via picture memes, gifs, and short videos. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are all culpable in the demise of our attention spans. Their whole purpose is to have you browse mindlessly and be consumed by useless information. So how we use the Internet is just as important as if we actually use it.

You will find that when you spend quality time researching and learning about things that interest you, you can be infinitely entertained on the Internet. You won’t have to worry about your attention span disappearing because learning new things is time consuming and requires intense mental focus for long periods of time. When you use the Internet this way, you will be advancing yourself and growing as a person. And, most of all, you won’t have to ignobly declare your boredom while you are literally holding the entirety of human knowledge in the palm of your hand.

Written on September 28, 2016