Binod Shankar

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Boring is best

In many areas of life boring is best.

Like these ten practices:

1. Prudent investing
2. Healthy eating
3. A well-paced workout
4. A structured daily routine
5. A long-term relationship
6. Safe sex
7. Not drinking or smoking or taking drugs
8. Regular health checkups
9. A preflight checkup by the pilot
10. Studying for a tough exam

I was reminded of this recently after mildly injuring myself at the gym. I was getting bored with the same weights and decided to lift and push more than what the trainer had advised. 

Some of the most important outcomes in life demand the kind of long-term mindset, attention to detail and consistency that often makes them utterly, mind numbingly boring.

The danger? Breaking the plan and doing something stupid just for the excitement.

The difficult part? Ploughing through and staying motivated and focused despite the boredom.

Marcus Aurelius (or was it Epictetus?) said there were two vices much blacker and more serious than the rest: lack of persistence and lack of self-control. The former means we cannot bear or endure hardships that we have to endure, the latter means that we cannot resist pleasures or other things we ought to resist.

Of course all this depends on your values, beliefs, personality traits and appetite for risk. If you’re ok with the often-serious results of being un-bored (!) go for it. If you’ve enough buffer to absorb the risk, go for it. There’s no good or bad here, only choices and consequences.

The key for me is to think of the long-term goal and tell myself the boredom is worth it. It’s a small price to pay.

Keep growing. And stay boring (but not bored).