Human brain seeks novelty. It makes us impulsive, greedy and irrational. It also makes us curious, exploratory and risk takers. Our civilization is built on this thin line.
The actual meaning of life is built on habits and routines. In an age of instant gratification, we want everything now. Swipe right, we want a date. Post a pic, we want a hundred likes. Post a blog, we go to Google analytics to see how many read it. Our constant need for external validation and approval is kicking us to do things which are uncommon. But we do not stop. We seek more. We do not get what we want all the time unless we are so laser sharp focused. So uncommon experiences like once in a lifetime expedition with friends, the one I did – an 8000-mile journey called The Great Indian Footprint or any extraordinary opportunity to do awesome things – do not essentially make us happy. We seek constant happiness. That can be achieved only through routines set in good habits. Otherwise, we are taking our brain on a roller coaster ride of dopamine, beyond the limits of what it can actually survive. Dopamine is like a flame, it can make our soul warm – it can also set things on fire! It can also lead to many people to suffer from imposter syndrome – it is the inability to internalize their accomplishments and persistent fear of being exposed. This fear can limit the happiness. When we link happiness to luxury, food, lust, travel or any award – then we are struggling to find the true source of happiness. During a morning run, I stop by a small flower, take a picture with my mobile phone – that moment of pause gives significantly more amount of happiness than all the other. It is the moment of silent reflection – appreciation to something as small as a flower. That won’t give a dopamine rush, that gives a silent and soulful moment of mindfulness. The power of now. No regret of past, no anxiety about future. Only the profound fullness of the present moment.
While traveling, I see happy faces living in miserable conditions. They are simply happy. They have no lives to compare themselves with. They are all sharing the equal misery, or they do not even know they are leading a far below average quality of life. The comparison is the death of happiness.
So next time, when you get bored, instead of hurriedly filling it with amusement, try enjoying the state of stillness.
Boredom instills creativity. It is from the depths of boredom, deep work is born. When you have nothing to do, the most important thing surfaces. When we try to fill all the time gaps with our iPhone, then we are no different from animals. It is when you resist the most tempting, you arrive at doing most important.