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When Your Greatest Fear Is Boredom

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When Your Greatest Fear Is Boredom

“Mama… I’m BORED.”

“You have an entire bedroom full of toys, a whole art table full of art supplies, a hundred books you could read, and four kids in the neighborhood dying to play with you. How can you possibly be bored?”

It’s enough to make every mom roll her eyes. Yet, I can’t quite bring myself to get irritated with my daughter, not only because I’m young enough to remember what it was like to a kid, but because, even now, one of my greatest fears in life is that I’ll wind up bored.

I remember, when I was in medical school, telling people I’d probably grow bored with medicine in ten years and wind up going to law school. I figured, after ten years of practicing law, I’d maybe take up journalism or work for a publishing company.

Only eight years passed before I quit my job as a doctor, but by then, I had already started another career as a professional artist. And since then, I’ve also started writing books, blogging, and running a business as an online entrepreneur. Clearly, I was a bit prescient.

I also grew… not so much bored, but just plain unhappy… with my first marriage after four years. I broke up with my second husband on our two year anniversary. (Third time’s a charm – we’ve been together for ten years now. Phew.) I’d like to say that our relationship is working because Matt’s far from boring, but while this is true, I think the success of our relationship has more to do with my attitude than anything else. This time, I chose to focus on the good stuff, rather than complaining about the bad – a surefire way to take power over your life, rather than feeling like the victim or blaming something or someone else for being “boring.”

Boredom Is My Nightmare

When I read the book The Wisdom of the Enneagram and discovered that my personality type is a Seven, I laughed. Apparently, Sevens fear boredom more than anything and, left unchecked, create lives of constant stimulation. I felt totally busted, and realized how much control I have over whether or not I feel bored.

I mean I have the best life ever. I live on the ocean where the mountains and redwoods meet the beach in the most gorgeous place on earth. I am married to a loving, whip smart, hysterically funny, hunk-of-a-hubby. My daughter is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. I love my mother, brother, and sister and had the best Dad in the world before I lost him. I have incredible friends. I absolutely adore my job and am blessed to get to write books, mentor visionaries, blog, create online programs, and do what I can to change the world in my own unique way.

I get to travel to awesome places. I have my health, as do those I love most.

So why in the world am I so afraid of being bored?

Embracing Gratitude

I’ve realized there’s a dark side to boredom. Boredom implies that you’re not grateful for what you already have. The shadow side of boredom is that whatever blessings you have, they’re never enough when you allow yourself to succumb to boredom. You’re always seeking the next thrill, the next win, the next love, the next source of external validation – outside of yourself.

I’ve come to realize that, as long as I’m looking outside myself for stimulation, I’ll always be disappointed. I’ve noticed, however, that when I’m able to focus on the present and approach my life from a place of gratitude, my mindset shifts from one of lack to one of bounty, and when I’m viewing my life as bountiful, I’m never bored.


Next: Are You Bored?

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.  She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.  Lissa blogs at and also created two online communities - and She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.


+ add your own
11:08PM PST on Nov 28, 2012

Thank you

12:43PM PST on Nov 24, 2012

I'm comfortable with my life now, more than I've ever been. I'm hoping it'll starlike this for another few years, then I'll take a taste of some challenge.

10:27AM PST on Nov 24, 2012

Good lord - there is a whole world out there and one lifetime is not enough to even scratch the surface of what there is to explore and learn about and do.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself and get out and do something for someone else. Volunteer.

There is nothing as satisfying as the feeling that you have helped someone else, and there are countless organisations and charities desperate for volunteers.

6:34AM PST on Nov 24, 2012

If I accept the gifts ..I will not be as sad or bored..or homesick .Maybe.

6:32AM PST on Nov 24, 2012

Sometimes I am so bored and frustrated I burst into tears .
I moved from Sandy territory to a desert city .
The loved ones I came here to be close to have moved due to employment related reasons.
Life is weird as this place seems to give me " gifts " ALL the time..and they are gifts dropped on me that I could never have or attain in the area I long for .So far I have pushed the "gifts" away but maybe now I will accept the "gifts" and see what and where they take me..

5:27AM PST on Nov 24, 2012

I don't get bored ,,,find something too do ..

7:16PM PST on Nov 23, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude.

4:06PM PST on Nov 23, 2012


5:15AM PST on Nov 23, 2012

I love this - the psychiatric depts would have a lot less patients if human nature were fundamentally grateful. Health care, in general, would treat a LOT less patients.
Thanks, also, for your honesty!

4:57AM PST on Nov 23, 2012

Thanks Lissa for sharing the story of your journey. I have changed professions a few times in my life but not because of boredom but because I wanted to lean more and challenge myself.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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