Friday, November 02, 2007

3 Easy Steps to Boring

Many people can related to "Life in Eight Easy Steps".
  1. Wake up
  2. Drink coffee
  3. Drive to Work
  4. Work
  5. Drive Home
  6. Watch TV
  7. Go to Bed
  8. Repeat steps 1-7 until death occurs.
We all have a glass chicken coop we live in called a "comfort zone". Life is comfortable in the comfort zone. Life is nice in the comfort zone. Life is also boring in the comfort zone.

Thanks to my chosen vocation, I have become an expert on boring. Some people are the life of the party, I am the death of the party. For an unfun time, try this at the next party you attend: When someone asks what you do, answer "computer programmer". The eyes go vacant, the smile leaves the face and the tumbleweeds roll through the mind. Instant boredom.

As an expert on boredom, I will now present to you my 3 step no-fail process for boring. The 3 steps are: Lack of Vision, Fear, and Procrastination.

Lack of Vision

Disney's Jungle Book is a great movie, one I have liked since childhood. There is a fun story and an assortment of interesting characters like the snake, the tiger, the monkeys and the vultures.
The vultures sit around all day and do nothing except ask, "Whatcha wanna do"? How boring can you get?

The other day my wife and I were in that same sort of mood. Our plans fell through and we were asking each other "Whatcha wanna do"? Fortunately, my wife was editing my book and came across a date idea of Geocaching which is a modern day treasure hunt. We ended up having a fun time with the kids.

Over the past few years, I have posted a bunch of date ideas including:
Another good way to avoid having the "Watcha wanna do"? moment is to create a date jar. Write on pieces of paper the things you would like to do on a date. Place the papers in a jar and when it is time to spend some time together, pick one at random and do it.

Fear
Jonah 1:1-3
1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
Just so we get the geography right, Joppa is in modern Israel, Tarshish is probably in Spain and Nineveh is in Iraq. Jonah was commanded to go to Nineveh but set sail for Spain instead. He really didn't want to go to Nineveh. Of course, he got to see the insides of a large fish to help him overcome his fear of Nineveh. He found something even more frightening.

In the end things turned out well for Jonah and Nineveh. He did go to the city, they repented and were spared.

People are silly critters. We do not like repetition, it is boring. Yet, we also fear the unknown, the new, and the different. As FDR said during his Inaugural Address:
So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.


Fear keeps us in our own little private glass chicken coop. What will people think? What if I fail? How will others treat me? All these little fears work against us and keep us boring. Learn to set these nameless fears aside. Be bold, be brave, be romantic.

Procrastination

Take a moment and think of a famous procrastinator. Go ahead, I'll wait .....
Did you come with any? After a long time searching, I was only able to come up with two.

The second most famous procrastinator is Shakespeare's Hamlet. At the beginning of the play his dead father gives him the task of killing Hamlet's step-father and uncle, the new king of Denmark. Hamlet then spends the rest of the play not doing it. During the course of which, his girl friend goes crazy and dies, her father is accidentally killed, Hamlet's school chums meet their fate and finally at the end Hamlet's mother, his girlfriend's brother, the king and Hamlet all meet an unhappy end. To top it off, Denmark is invaded. The moral of Hamlet is "Procrastinators: Ye Have Been Warned"

The most famous procrastinators of all time are kids and their homework.

Scene: Late Sunday night as the family heads to bed
Kid: Dad, I have a book report due tomorrow.
Dad: That's nice, what book.
Kid: Some stupid book that nobody ever reads.
Dad: You have a book report due tomorrow for a book you haven't even read? How much more do you have to read?
Kid: All of it.

The outcome is about the same as in Hamlet, without the swords. People who procrastinate tend to be boring, except in those few moments when everything goes boom, which is fun to watch but it isn't much fun to be a part of the explosion.

People often think: Someday I will get around to it. Here is a "round to it" so you can do those things you should be doing.There are so many thoughtful things that can be done. A few day back I stopped and bought my wife a dozen roses. No special occasion, just because she likes them. The gals at the store assumed I was getting flowers as part of an apology. When I explained it was just because, I became the most thoughtful guy in town. Not much competition apparently if it is that easy.
Some other things you can do quickly and without spending a lot of money:
  • Buy roses or flowers in the off season when they are cheaper
  • Hide treats in places where they will be discovered later or over time.
  • Arrange to have lunch together
  • Send a love letter or a card. The card store has lots of romantic greeting cards if you do not feel up to a whole letter.

Boring is a romance killer. The most boring place to be is in the glass chicken coop we call the "comfort zone". A good way to spark romance to make a goal of being more romantic, ignore your fear and get around to it.
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