Blog of Sara Jakša

The Fear of Boredom

Do you know these conversations, where the conversation itself is a everyday thing, but they when you really think about it, you realize why there are problems in your life? Well, I recently had a conversation like that with a friend of mine. And there were three points in that conversation, that eventually led me to realize what is holding me back (and how useless it is):

  1. I told him that I am afraid of boredom
  2. He observed, that I know, how to shrug other ideas off
  3. I told him, that this is because I had too many of them

I mean, there are like everyday normal thing, that come up in the conversation all the time. Well, expect the boredom part, that one was a surprise even for me.

So things started to change very quickly after that. For one thing, the first thing I did was delete a lot of my files in the Later folder. This is a folder, where I keep all the things that I am currently working on: the articles that I want to read, the code that I am writing, the collection of ideas that I had and so on. A lot of it went away.

This is also an example of action coming before the insight. Because this is the first thing that I did, before I realized the rest of it.

Then I looked back, and I that insight came: I had a couple of interesting opportunities, that I did not follow up on, because I did not want to add something new to the plate. I did not know, how to handle another project on top of what I already had. So, I let the opportunities slip, which could make my life a lot more interesting.

But on the other hand, I am an INTP. I might not have the big vision stuff going on, but I can spot many interesting ideas in a single day. I mean, every time I come from the Python Meetup, I have more ideas that I could implement in a month, without having a conversation with a single purpose. I get way to many ideas from books or lectures and so on. That is before people offer me a chance to work on something.

And then I realized, that out of fear of not having enough opportunities (something my mind and the world already showed me that I do), I am sabotaging myself in taking them.

That made me realize, that I better finish the things that I started (my two master thesis, the working version of UExperience - though I know this will me a lot more long term as far as support goes, but by then, it will be a lot smaller demand on my time), eliminate what I don't want to do (I am looking at you Introduction to Cognitive Science 2) or things that I had procrastinated way too long on (like that analysis project of Arrowverse, which had from deep learning to graph analysis in it, learning lips and so on).

And I could eliminate a lot of internet communication. I am sorry, but I already have a hobbies that I can do, when I don't have energy for something else, and this is drawing and watching my favorite series in other languages (currently German). It is still going to be there, in case I ever need some more input, right?

I finally got to the end of this insight (about a week and a half after the conversation - it felt longer), when I was rereading the book Focus by Leo Babauta. Which talks about how to find some focus in our lives. And then the association when to the book Deep Work by Cal Newport and then to the So Good they can't Ignore You also by Cal Newport. And these three books were sort of a social proof, that I am on the right track. :)

I think this has been a lot easier for me, because I had dabbled in minimalism for years. So eliminating clutter is something that had become easier through time. Maybe for somebody else, the road would be a bit harder. And it is also interesting to see, if this road to minimalism will lead to bigger abundance.

But I think that even more important is, that we all need some sort of a mirror to see, what we are doing. So that in fear of something, we don't end up doing something, that will make it more likely to come true. Or, as a proverb, that I remember from one of the fanfiction stories: "One often meets one’s fate on the road one takes to avoid it."

I need to learn to post blogs when I write them as well - this one was posted more than a week after writting it