The Boredom of Functioning

The Boredom of Functioning

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My first career was in mathematics. I taught at a university, conducted research, and ran my own business. I devoted my body and soul to what I did. I would often work day and night, seven days a week – not because I had to, but because I wanted to.

And I became successful both as a scientist and as an entrepreneur. I travelled the world, gave lectures and seminars, wrote books, received a lot of recognition and applause, and earned well.

My life was diverse in the details, but boring as a whole. After working more than twenty years in this field, everything became routine. Everywhere I went, I felt like I met the same people and had the same conversations about the same topics.

I functioned. But I was way too curious to continue like this. I needed a change.

In 2009, I left the university, closed my business, and started a new business as a mind­set coach and hand analyst.

In doing this I finally felt invigorated again. After years of travelling I indulged in the fact that customers travelled to my place to consult with me. I gave lectures and seminars. I wrote books.

However, this time my enthusiasm did not last long. After two years, everything once again became routine. Again, I felt like I met the same people and had the same conversations about the same topics.

People came for four topics: health, love, money, career. All had the same questions. All had the same problems for the same reasons.

I realized that people only appear different. In truth, they follow pretty much the same programs. They function. Such as I do.

I functioned also in my second career. But I was way too curious to continue like this. I needed a change.

In 2011, I attended a seminar on the question ‘What am I?’ It fitted to what I just had found out. My formulations were: ‘What am I without my programs?’ or ‘What remains when I stop functioning?’

I was inspired. From that day on I wanted to find an answer. And as a scientist I craved an answer that went beyond me. What happened next is in my story “My Body Wanted to Talk With Me”.

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Boredom shows that something is wrong. But attention: There are two kinds of boredom: True boredom and fake (learned) boredom.

We learn to experience emptiness as boring. But in truth, emptiness is utterly valuable. Emptiness offers time for listening curiously. But we learn to instead fill emptiness with all sorts of activities; or “just” with thinking. We learn to be busy. We learn to find distractions.

True boredom comes from functioning. True boredom can be recognized only with true curiosity. Realizing true boredom can be transformative. It was for me.