Manoush Zomorodi of New Tech City Discusses the Benefits of Being Bored [PSFK 2015]
Bored and Brilliant was a weeklong series and podcast that challenged subscribers to combat their phone addictions
A recurring theme at PSFK 2015, and among the tech world, is how to handle the conundrum posed by a Connected Life—how do we take advantage of the benefits provided by better technology whilst fulfilling our need for uninterrupted thought? Thankfully, as the perfect Friday closing speaker, Manoush Zomorodi of New Tech City was there to help.
After a sort of epiphany—the realization that she hadn’t felt bored since 2008, when she obtained her first —she started to wonder “Are there consequences to looking at my phone all day? Are there consequences to never being bored?” In fact there are.
“[W]hen we are bored and we let our minds wander, when our body is doing nothing, our brain goes to this amazing place, and it’s called the ‘default mode.’ This is a network in your brain where you do your most original thinking, where you do your problem solving, where you do the really deep creative stuff, and where you do something called autobiographical planning— where you make sense of things that have happened to you in the past, and you set goals and ways of getting to them in the future.”
And so she started Bored and Brilliant – The Lost Art of Spacing Out. Bored and Brilliant, was a daily podcast and newsletter whose goal over the course of a week was to figure out how much time we actually spend with our phones, and to see if changing our behavior can help us attain that ‘default mode’ more consistently. As a social experiment, it was especially fascinating to hear some of the testimonials from subscribers:
“My phone is back to being this inert but helpful tool it doesn’t have the same power that it used to to influence my moment-to-moment sense of self-worth.”
Over the week, challenges were set; day one, for instance, attempted to record the number of people who couldn’t walk in front of Manoush’s office without checking their phones for something, anything. And day three had people delete “that app.” The data collected from all this, and the public reception to it were remarkable.
We can’t do this subject justice by writing any more about it, Manoush’s talk is much more captivating. Take a look at the full video above and start taking those baby steps towards lessening our collective addiction to technological catharsis.