Ask The Coach — Boredom

Published on June 19, 2014

Dear Coach:

Do you have any tips to help me develop the conversation skills of my staff, especially with my patients? I have great staff, but much of the time they look bored when I am speaking to them and I cringe when I observe this same absent/vacant behavior with my patients. It annoys and frustrates me to talk to someone who looks disinterested and I’m concerned that this behavior is creating a disconnect with my patients as well. Please help! B.C.
Yawwwwwwn! Oh, excuse me. Uhhhhh, what were you saying?

In all seriousness, B.C., learning how to be a great communicator is all about being fully engaged in the present, being mindful of the people and circumstances in one’s environment, and putting energy into every interaction. Creating a conversation that has meaning for both parties is a skill that anyone can learn, yet must come from the heart if one is to be a master communicator.

Motion without emotion consumes valuable energy and leaves people feeling disconnected and despondent. Opening one’s eyes and seeing — and opening one’s heart and feeling — sets the stage for miracles. You see, we believe miracles are not just a product of Divine intervention, but rather a moment in time when people are awake, aware, and completely aligned with the belief that anything and everything is possible.

In 1973, George Harrison released “Be Here Now” on his “Living In The Material World” album, which was inspired by the 1971 book of the same title written by Richard Alpert, PhD. (aka Baba Ram Dass, the Western-born spiritual leader and yogi). The song is regarded as a comment by Harrison on the public’s nostalgia for the past following the Beatles’ break-up.

In the song, Harrison delivers his message in the simplest terms:

Remember, now
Be here now
As it’s not like it was before.

The past was
Be here now
As it’s not like it was before.
Why try to live a life
That isn’t real
No how?

A mind that wants to wander
’Round a corner
Is an unwise mind.

“Be Here Now,” the book, conveys the fundamental Hindu philosophy regarding the all-importance of the “present moment” and has influenced an entire generation of miracle-makers including Steve Jobs, Wayne Dyer, and Michael Crichton. The book was also referred to in a 2010 study on daydreaming by Matthew Killingsworth, a doctoral candidate in psychology at Harvard University, which suggested that people thinking about something other than what they”re doing actually lowers happiness. His research found that people who are focused on the task at hand — no matter how boring or aggravating — are happier than people whose thoughts are wandering to something else.

If you are still wondering what boredom looks like and represents, we have an acronym that sums up its hopeless and wasteful state:

B — Breaking eye contact.
O — Obsessing about oneself.
R — Rejecting meaning or value of the moment, a person, or circumstance.
E — Evading one’s duty and privilege to engage and interact.
D — Daydreaming about someone, something else, or somewhere else.
O — Offering saccharin, simple-minded, and/or superficial responses to what is shared or observed.
M — Missing the miracle of the moment and all the opportunities that result from living in the “here and now.”

It is up to you to communicate and model the behaviors you want employed in your practice and the obligation and opportunity to “be here now” with you, serving your patients. If living in the moment is too boring for your employees, then perhaps you should relieve them of their burden of working in your practice. It will probably surprise the perpetually bored out there who find most people dull and many circumstances dreary that the tediousness of their lives is a result of how they think about the world, rather than having anything to do with the world as it actually exists.

It is interesting to note that the “state of being bored” is synonymous with the “practice of being a bore.” In other words, feeling bored — and therefore acting bored — is all about the individual and is, uh, well, rather boring!

Spiritual gurus and social scientists know that you cannot yawn your way to happiness or success. Remember this the next time you might be tempted to YAWN yourself — You Are Wasting Now!

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