Boredom is a Warning

Voltaire, 1694-1778

Voltaire named Boredom as one of Three Great Evils.  (What were the other two? Read on!)

Most of us have experienced boredom in our life.  Maybe we got dragged to a “boring” museum when we were very young.  Or during a seemingly interminable speech or lecture.   Or in a work situation – the whole job became “boring”.

What kinds of outcomes and consequences arise from boredom?  Not usually very positive.  We may excuse boredom in ourselves, but we rarely like to see it in others, especially if the underlying subject is one of concern to us.  We are likely to criticize bored people and tell them to shape up or ship out.

All action occurs in Conversation.  By the same token, all inaction occurs in suspended or missing Conversation.  The behavior of boredom is of reduced or stopped action.  But there is also an attitude alongside.  Few of us enjoy being bored.  Displeasure is usually part of boredom, and this displeasure is projected into the future – “this is only going to get MORE boring!”

This boredom thing, in conversation design terms, is a Mood. Moods are assessments about the future – part of the assessment is a declaration or assessment about an expected state in the future, and the other part is a declaration of how you feel about that expected state.  A Mood of Wonder is an assessment that you don’t know what is exactly going on or what the future holds, but you like that.  Conversely, a Mood of Confusion is the same assessment of the future – don’t know what’s going on – coupled with displeasure.

In conversation design terms, Boredom is an assessment in the current focus domain of action that there is nothing more for you to learn or experience that matters.  Usually that assessment is coupled with displeasure.   The key is that Boredom is a product of our own self-conversation…. it is NOT a condition or property of a museum or a lecture or a job.

Being bored is not good for us, and it’s not good for those around us.  Whether or not you endorse Voltaire’s assessment that boredom is a Great Evil (along with Vice and Need), it’s a good idea to recognize boredom and do some conversation redesign to foster more effective action and improve your and others moods.   Conversation Driven Business can help you spot boredom and redesign your and others’ conversations to eliminate it.


You can always choose to design your future.  Strategic Venture Consulting’s Conversation Driven Business(TM) can help you expand and improve your organization’s future by designing and optimizing its network of conversations and increasing its conversational competence.

(c) 2013 Strategic Venture Consulting / Robert Kimball all rights reserved.

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3 Responses to Boredom is a Warning

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    • kbob says:

      thanks for the read and the kind comments! conversational precision may be a nearly lost art, but the value is as great or greater than ever.

  2. Pingback: Archived Posts | Strategic Venture Consulting

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