Halloween is a day when you get scared on purpose. But most people don’t need a special holiday to get scared. We can scare ourselves plenty good just from thinking about committing to something we don’t know the outcome of, or, by doing something we may fail at. Apparently, fear of failure and fear of the unknown are two things many people greatly fear.
Eleaonor Roosevelt said to do something everyday that scares you. Why? Because then you can keep doing what scares you. If you practice trying something you may fail at, or, start something when you are not sure where it will lead, pretty soon, it becomes easier and easier and it’s less and less scary! When you choose to succumb to fear and limitations, however, your lifestyle and experiences become smaller and narrower. You may have an illusion that a life with limited choices and the same experiences would eliminate stress, but instead, it can create more stress. It simply is bad for your health to be too bored!
In fact, I have seen people spontaneously combust from being too bored for too long (I was almost one of them!). They weren’t bored because they didn’t have anything to do, they were bored because they had too much of the same kinds of things to do, day in and day out, with no hope of ever having more exciting problems. Instead, it’s the same problem, same worries, same protagonists. Boring is bad for your health because by nature, humans grow, as does everything in nature. We must take new form and seek nurturing in our environment, like a plant stretching toward the light. If we resist that growth pattern, what can our bodies and minds do but turn inward. Deterioration starts. Do you know how many people start having their health fail as soon as they retire? A lot! If you can, postpone your retirement and instead try to play at work. Work is not the opposite of play, boredom is. Live like you are as curious as a four-year-old. Four-year-olds know something most grownups don’t, how to play!
If you’re still not sure how to change your state of boredom, just look at the characteristics of play. Leading child development and play expert, Marjorie Kostelnik says “play is…sensory, imaginative, cooperative and/or competitive (in other words done with other people for the fun of it), voluntary, and non-literal.” Are you getting the picture?
Goethe said, “we are shaped and fashioned by what we love”. Maybe what he meant was to let yourself be shaped by what you play.