I went to Hong Kong recently, and while I was waiting to check in, it was clear that we have all but drowned out moments of waiting, silence and boredom in our lives.
At airport check-in and security queues, everyone’s on phones. On the plane, there are movies on demand the second you sit down. And then there’s more time for smartphones and net surfing while clearing customs, waiting for bags, and on taxis, buses and trains to the accommodation.
There’s just no downtime.
And the same goes for the less exotic home life filled with supermarket queues, traffic lights, school pick ups, soccer practice, and the rest. It’s all too easy to stay connected every “boring” moment life sends our way.
But it’s not how it’s always been.
Back in 1992, a London train broke down on its way to Clapham Junction, and its passengers were stranded in the train for 4 hours. There were no smartphones, iPads, or social media to pass the time.
One passenger on the train sat there and composed the plot for a work of fiction in her head. That person happened to be J. K. Rowling, and the work – her Harry Potter series. Not a bad use of four hours.
I wonder how many opportunities for creativity we are missing by mindlessly filling every second on technology?
I want to be more intentional with my unexpected moments of waiting, and allow myself to get lost in my thoughts occasionally.
Who knows, I might come up with an idea that changes the world.