The Hidden Benefit In Boring
A short examination of repetitive work
This short piece was originally published in June 2020 and examines the experience that lies beneath the surface of what appears to be boring and repetitive work.
Boring is sombre, unexciting, unremarkable, and yet it's the opposite of these things.
This is daily work for many.
There's nothing here that stands out from the backdrop of everyday life.
The work is relentless. It is water on stone, the ever-persistent artist in their art, their craft, their daily work. The street sweeper, the accountant, the plumber, the engineer, the writer, in their work for the sake of it.
Absent of ulterior motive.
This is not to suggest that the work is or should be monotonous or soul-destroying. On the contrary, work in this way is engaging, energetic, and interesting… to the worker.
Monotony and a sense of boredom are in the eye of the external disengaged-with-life beholder who sees the same thing done every day, day in, day out and wonders how anyone can stand it.
In their unease with the apparent stationary, repetitive, ball-busting droll we call work, they are disturbed to the point of thinking they would be destroyed if they had to do it.
They cannot understand how you can go to the wheel and turn it every day.
So they run away, you see, from themselves.
They can't stand to stay in one place, terrified that they might discover something. What could it be?
So they run from shiny thing to shiny thing, but they never find the gold. None that lasts anyway.
They miss the point of it.
In boring, there is mastery, understanding, and realisation of the truth of things without uttering as much as a word. In fact, to talk about it makes it disappear.
Stay still, but moving in your work long enough and something happens that you could not have imagined–a surprise!
The trick is to find something that holds your unwavering attention. Or is it that it finds you?
Boring to others perhaps, but never to you.
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