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Boredom and Brilliant Ideas: An Analysis of Manoush Zomorodi’s Ted Talk

Name of TED talk: How Boredom Can Lead To Your Most Brilliant Ideas

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Manoush Zomorodi, in her Ted talk, highlights the inception of the most brilliant ideas that emerge when people are just doing some trivial routine chores such as dealing with laundry and dishwashing, etcetera. Such a phenomenon happens when a body turns to autopilot mode, and in due course brain becomes a busy bee and develops innovative neural connectivity. These neural connections, in turn, bond the creative ideas and resolve problems. For this purpose, Zomorodi affirms the efficacy of boredom in formulating relationships and filling out the gaps of creativity and spacing out.


In the subject Ted talk where Manoush Zomorodi describes the wonders of boredom, people are encouraged to unplug their lives from exacerbating the use of technology throughout the day. Zomorodi is a renowned person who anchors the WNYs program “Note To Self” and has written a self-help book named “Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive And Creative Self.” According to the posit of Zomorodi, people are making their lives worse by incorporating persistent and perpetual streaming of information and entertainment on a regular basis. Throughout her TED talk, she endeavors to make the point that lack of boredom has snatched the element of creativity from humans in the recent era of advanced technology. People used to drown in the ocean of different apps that are installed on their iPhones or other handheld devices and keep them away from any practical activity. With the help of an experiment, Manoush brings her listeners to an unplugged lifestyle. The experiences of spacing out proven to be fruitful, as participants feel a surge of productiveness and creativity subsequently.

Manoush elaborates on the marvelous capacity of the brain to produce ideas when wandering around. Smartphones and other digital devices work as a leash to the mental capabilities, and their absurd busyness, in turn, tarnishes the originality of concepts. Keep swapping among different apps, keep updating social profiles, and be available all the time available for responding to not-so-urgent emails; all such activities can adrift a person from the path of productivity. Creative ideas and innovative concepts are conceived in the roaming of mind, but people these days seldom have chances of boredom because of the myriad of handy apps that help them spend hours and hours. Using mobile phones, smart devices, and other such facilities is becoming an addiction, and therefore social media addresses them as “users,” similar to the drug sellers who say their clients are “users”.

Manoush also incorporates the research findings of USC, according to which youngsters who use social media platforms on a regular basis will encounter a lack of imagination and creativity in the coming two years. The involvement of teenagers in digital media is affecting their problem-solving skills both in their interpersonal and societal lives. They are becoming far away from reality and are even unable to deal with the little matters in their surrounds. The research study asserts the imperative nature of the next generation and wants them to consider other substantial factors, such as economic inequalities, cultural disparity, and climate change.

Manoush’s experiment revolves around some basic rules that imply aloofness from digital devices and resist the itch of checking for notifications every minute. Participants agreed that they felt a significant difference after following the rules of the experiment because before taking the challenge, they used to have mobiles in their hands, even in cars. Another principle of the test asks the participants to delete the most used app from their devices, even for a day. For this purpose, Manoush herself removed the Two Dots game and admitted that she felt an immense gloom over it. A listener shares his experiences and explains that he deleted Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine, and Snapchat from his phone and confessed that it was an emotionally embarrassing moment. Afterward, he kept seeing his screen with a sense of utter lonesomeness because there was no notification or anything. However, eventually, he starts to like the idea of being dependent again, and he feels a sense of power.

Manoush declares that her experiment which is now widely known as “bored and brilliant,” is accepted by more than twenty thousand people. About ninety percent of participants dwindled the minutes they used to spend on phones before the experiment, and about seventy percent of them got an opportunity to think about other real things. People share different impacts and affirm that they got better and more tranquil sleep and felt happier, and a guy said that it was like waking up from a psychological hibernation. Neuroscience and a few underlying personal implications emphasize on living an offline life, even for wee hours. Boredom has countless advantages and can open doors for self-reflection which in turn smoothens the paths for setting concrete goals and provides ground to think with clarity and disambiguation. Manoush expresses her doubt about the coolness of connectivity in the coming prospect, and then offline would be a new black. She adds that developing awareness regarding digital literacy and its adequate implementation is indispensable for all people, especially kids.

Related Research on Boredom and Creativity

In the field of cognitive psychology interrelationship of boredom and creativity is a hot subject. Research study argues that apathy has a significant implementation on the functioning of humans, and this phenomenon is further supported by different empirical pieces of evidence as well as emotion theory. (Bench & Lench, 2014) Boredom encourages deflection of innovative objectives when the prior aim ceases its beneficial aspects. The mental roaming, which is caused by boredom, imposes precise effects on various traits as well as on cognition and physiological experiences. Experts say that when an individual gets bored, his attention becomes diverted from the task at hand and seeks something more interesting that in turn, sparks the element of creativity and innovation. Some people take boredom as a negative attribute and highlight its aversive nature, but the fundamental point of boredom is pursuance of the alternative which broadens the mental canvas.

Similarly, another research study asserts that several traditional perceptions posit that boredom features a myriad of negative and aversive consequences when confronted with organizational or educational premises. However, the modern and most recent research denies the previous proposition and stresses the crucial role of boredom in the augmentation of creative ideas generation. (Mann, 2014) The subject study elaborates on the effects of boredom by evaluating the interconnectivity between creative potential and boredom within a broad scope of domestic and professional tasks.


The above-analyzed content presents the Ted Talk of Manoush Zomorodi, which revolves around the efficacy of boredom for new ideas generation and also elucidates some related research studies along with relevant propositions. According to the mentioned research studies and Manoush’s posit, boredom is not an absurd condition; instead, it plays an active role in the field of cognitive evocation. The hypothesis is practical, especially in the modern era, where every person has the luxury of having at least one handheld device. Mobile phones, tablets, and other similar digital tools are exciting resources to kill time without getting bored; such technologies allow people to establish continuous connectivity with family and friends.

However, this connectivity and entertainment, in turn, cut down the opportunity to get bored, consequently reducing any chance of new ideas generation. On social media platforms, people keep swapping through vague content and keep their minds busy in an ultimately futile activity. Research experts are delving into the issue, and every upcoming research approves the validity of this posit. However, one cannot wholly shun the practice of using the technologies because professional and social interactions require sustainable connectivity. For this reason, it is necessary to educate the young generation and little kids to tackle technological advances productively.

Educational institutes should arrange awareness sessions for both parents and students to teach the limitations of power they should allow to devices. Playing games, chatting with friends, and taking and uploading pictures is fun but not the primary objective of life and could mitigate the creative potential. On the other hand, different apps and junctions could be used to enhance productivity or to attain creative ideas. Such apps include Pinterest, which could give a hundred plans to make a DIY candle and vice versa. Individuals are recommended to get involved in a different self-controlling experiment such as “Bore and Brilliant” to get accustomed to a temporary absence of technology from life. The presence of boredom will also help to take essential notes manually and to devise a personal narrative that in turn, will lay bricks for the betterment of the future.


Bench, S. W., & Lench, H. C. (2013). On the Function of Boredom. Behavioral Sciences, 3(3),

Sandi Mann & Rebekah Cadman (2014) Does Being Bored Make Us More Creative?, Creativity
Research Journal, 26:2, 165-173, DOI: 10.1080/10400419.2014.901073

Zomorodi, M. (2017, April). How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas.



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