“Bored as Hell,” said the Creative Mind…NEVER

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

I am convinced that boredom is one of the greatest tortures. If I were to imagine Hell, it would be the place where you were continually bored.
— Erich Fromm, 1955

Dear Wildly Inquisitive Humans:

You know who you are. The ones whose joy is expressed through exploring and experiencing. The ones whose creative ideas often outpace time and reason. The ones whose vision of boredom looks a lot like Erich Fromm’s Hell.

You charge forward each day with curiosity and zest. Bypassing pesky inner and outer voices. Voices that warn of the dangers of consistent intensity and pressure to achieve. Voices that predict you hold all of the ingredients for a crash.


  • “Beware the barenness of a busy life.” Socrates.

  • “They want to get their work done, but they can’t get started until the task becomes interesting, challenging, or urgent.” William Dodson M.D.

  • “…extreme loneliness, isolation, chronic health problems, and work dissatisfaction.” Spivack and McKelvie.


Should you listen to these voices? …..Only if you plan to listen to the others.

  • …positive social/emotional traits such as “tolerance of uncertainty, emotional expressiveness, humor and playfulness, and unconventional thinking.” Kashdan

  • “…all is creation, all is change, all is flux, all is metamorphosis.” Henry Miller.

  • “…carving a piece of yourself into the fabric of reality in a way that gets more and more honest as time goes on.” Zat Rana, Medium.


We’ve heard the voices on both sides. We’ve felt the gap between novelty and practicality. We’ve danced with inquisitiveness and achievement. But the struggle is still too real.

Can’t we have it all?




I typically begin Creative Disruption by tossing a string of whiny questions and old worn out stories onto the pages of my written journal. 

  • Why do I continually over-extend myself for creative output?

  • What’s behind my avoidance of stillness and boredom?

  • Where does my body store resistance when I’m judging my productivity?

  • How can I embrace my desire for NEW creative energy, and still achieve my long term goals?



Next, I turn to visual expression. The perfect strategy for times when I’m being too serious about life…but still want answers!

Creative Disruption fits my novelty seeking need. In a light-hearted approach to deep reflection. This is an offer I can’t refuse.

  • I begin by painting highly contrasting colors to represent the gap between feeling delightfully playful and authentically productive.

  • I allow paint to visually accept my story. Without judgment. And without the need to filter out raw and real emotions. Laying aside the urge to fix or dismiss my vulnerability.






  • I tear interesting magazine pages or colorful papers into random shapes.

  • I glue spontaneously. Intuition in the driver’s seat.

Completion scares me. Because it means the joy of exploration is over.

Collage helps me shred fear. Rip a new story. And discover the greatest outcome of all: the ability to move forward through discomfort. Playfully, of course.

Play is an act or learning. More specifically, it’s a low-cost way to explore the world in order to obtain high-value advantages.”



  1. I write again. Directly on my painted page. New understanding emerging.

    I question the concept of “easy”…reminding myself that the gap between achievement and play is not “wrong”.


  • I glue additional collage to match the flow of emerging wisdom.

    Completely unplanned, a stallion gallops toward the doorway. Openness and freedom. Sunshine takes center stage. Creativity is my delight, regardless of achievement. Leaves remind me that nature is just outside my door. To relieve body and mind any time judgment takes hold.

  • I add a question that honors my search. And paves the way for further exploration.

    I see others who are content with repetitive days. I want to keep exploring why this feels so uncomfortable to me. (But I also remember that some parts of my life are pleasingly repetitive-Tacos on Tuesday. Cuddling with my hubby for our favorite Netflix shows. Regular coffee meet-ups with friends.)

  • Finally, I tame chaos. By isolating unwanted sections with paint.

    My mind can easily become jumbled with the limitless potential of creative exploration. It is up to me to sort through the noise, then pick and choose carefully. Freeing my time to explore only what feels most authentic (and a tad productive) to my true nature.



In the days following this spread, I intuitively revisited the topic. Following the spiral of wisdom unfolding in my life. Have I completely whipped my incessant need to explore NEW? Heck no. (This process isn’t about whipping…it’s about witnessing.)

But I have received treasures more precious than productivity.

  • I am more at ease with the discomfort involved in the creative process.

  • I’m less judgmental of my perceived lack of “completion”.

  • I’m more grateful for the joy of exploring.

  • And I’m more aware that I DO have healthy ways of slowing down (but being bored as Hell is not in my nature). I call it gardening, cooking, Netflix, hiking, and meditation.


Fully aware that as I flow old stories of worthiness-based-on-achievement into pen, paint, and page, my creativity skyrockets. Those who study entrepreneurship and innovation agree.

Innovation is not just a cognitive process. It’s emotional. It requires doing something new or novel, and that can be scary because it requires the courage to enter the unknown and it involves learning from experimental failures.

So, let the dance between discomfort and productivity twirl and spin. Have you seen the incredible balance of a ballerina? Creative minds…are just like that.

Totally balanced, in our own colorful way. Even as the world spins by.