The value of boredom
Boredom has been defined as wanting to be able to engage in a satisfying activity and not being able to. Its sibling is downtime, both of which the smartphone–and the Angry Birds it implies–eradicates. Another way to look at boredom, Hall says, is to think of it as a creative pause where your mind can drift, which allows you to integrate your recent experiences into your present state of mind.
Sitting with boredom
So let’s get a little bit more refined in our terminology: it’s not that we should be in useless awful meetings, the kind that prompt the feeling of I’m so bored!, but rather that we resist the urge to always act on that gestural itch and give our brains a mindful break or time to daydream. Like any designer will tell you, absence has presence. Not doing is a kind of doing.
The boredom diet
In the same way that what we eat when we’re hungry has short- and long-term consequences, the actions we take when we’re bored have ongoing outcomes. So says NYU’s Gary Marcus: if you’re bored and use that energy to play an instrument and cook, you’ll be growing; if you drool before your television, you might be happy for a second, but that stimulation junk food will depress you later.
Since most of what we do on our phones is the daily dillydallying of social networks, playing games, and texting, your iPhone acts like an endless supply of Cheetos.
So before you dissolve into your screen, check your fingers for orange dust.
Hire for passion and commitment first, experience second, and credentials third. There is no shortage of impressive CVs out there, but you should try to find people who are interested in the same things you are. You donâ€™t want to be simply a stepping stone on an employeeâ€™s journey toward his or her own (very different) passion. Asking the right questions is key: What do you love about your chosen career? What inspires you? What courses in school did you dread? You want to get a sense of what the potential employee believes.
Once you have the right people, you need to sit down regularly with them and discuss what is going well and what isnâ€™t. Itâ€™s critical to take note of your victories, but itâ€™s just as important to analyze your losses. A fertile culture is one that recognizes when things donâ€™t work and adjusts to rectify the problem. As well, people need to feel safe and trusted, to understand that they can speak freely without fear of repercussion.
The art of communication tends to put the stress on talking, but listening is equally important. Great cultures grow around people who listen, not just to each other or to their clients and stakeholders. Itâ€™s also important to listen to whatâ€™s happening outside your walls. What is the market saying? What is the zeitgeist? What developments, trends, and calamities are going on?
3. Tend to the weeds
A culture of passion capital can be compromised by the wrong people. One of the most destructive corporate weeds is the whiner. Whiners arenâ€™t necessarily public with their complaints. They donâ€™t stand up in meetings and articulate everything they think is wrong with the company. Instead, they move through the organization, speaking privately, sowing doubt, strangling passion. Sometimes this is simply the nature of the beast: they whined at their last job and will whine at the next. Sometimes these people simply arenâ€™t a good fit. Your passion isnâ€™t theirs. Constructive criticism is healthy, but relentless complaining is toxic. Identify these people and replace them.