5 min readFeb 5, 2019


Benefits of Boredom (Unless It’s the Super Bowl)

For those of you who managed to stay awake for Sunday’s Big Game, congrats. You either had a lot of money on the line or you’re a glutton for punishment. Not only was it the lowest-scoring NFL championship game in the “LIII-year” history of this overhyped event, it was poorly played, lacking in drama and served up mediocre commercials and half-time entertainment to boot. Not surprisingly, it was the lowest-rated Super Bowl in 11 years.

Even Tony Romo, one of the sharpest and most excitable announcers to hit the broadcast booth in years, quipped in the second half: “This is getting hard to watch.”

At least the punters for both teams brought their A-Games.

In sports, as in life, you’re going to have blah days. During one of the many lulls in the action, I picked up a copy of Sunday’s New York Times and stumbled across Pamela Paul’s insightful piece “Let Children Get Bored Again.” Give it a read because the article has plenty of applications for you and your adult clients, too.

*** If you practice feels stuck in a rut, take this confidential 5-minute survey and you’ll so how your peers are finding ways to break through.

In our hyper-stimulated lives, it’s hard to imagine getting bored when vast stores of information and entertainment are just a click or voice command away. But, you don’t always have to have your nose buried in a digital device the instant you have some downtime at the airport, the DMV, the doctor’s office, the grocery line or at your kid’s soccer practice field.

By constantly trying to distract yourself with digitally, you may be dulling your creative senses. According to Ms. Paul, “boredom teaches you to respond constructively, to make something happen for yourself. But unless we are faced with a steady diet of stultifying boredom, we never learn how.”

You might turn inward and use the time to think, she observed. You might reach for a book. You might imagine your way to a better job. Boredom helps you daydream better. Ultimately she said it leads to self-discipline and resourcefulness.

In fact, research shows 80 percent of people see unlocking creative potential as key to economic growth, but only 25 percent feel that they are living up to their own creative potential. From the employer side, McKinsey research found that a whopping 94 percent of execs are unhappy with the innovative performance of their company. That’s a huge disconnect.

*** But here’s the gurus won’t tell you. You don’t need high-priced consultants or brainstorming facilitators to unlock your creativity and focus.

Try to think about nothing

From personal experience, I can tell you that some of my best marathon running results were achieved when I trained and raced without headphones to distract me. Now I’ve never had much success with yoga or meditation, but it’s remarkable what happens when you try to think about nothing and just listen to your heartbeat and your breathing while on a long run. When you spend the rest of your life constantly racing the clock wishing there were more hours in the day, exercising without digital distractions can make time feel like it’s standing still.

Start thinking about your client obligations, a recent fight with your spouse and the latest stock market volatility and guess what? You’ll start to feel tired. But, when you block out all of day-to-day life’s distractions and just focus on the task as hand — finishing your workout — your mind will start wandering in a more constructive way. You’ll start coming up with new products and services for clients, or a great opening line for your next article or presentation, and you’ll start to feel the energy surge back into your cardiovascular system and brain. Chances are, you’ll finally come up with a great gift idea for the significant other in your life.

As Paul observed, “The ability to handle boredom is correlated with the ability to focus and to self-regulate. Research shows that people with attention disorders are particularly prone to boredom. It makes sense that in a hyper-stimulating world, what at first seems captivating now feels less so; what was once mildly diverting may now be flat-out dull.”

Learn from bored children

Paul also said we should we should teach the children in our lives to learn to endure boredom rather than “ratcheting up the entertainment.” Why? “Because that will prepare kids for a more realistic future that doesn’t raise false expectations of what work or life is really all about.” She said, even if they land a job they love, they may have to spend an entire day answering a backlog of email, checking the formulas in a massive spreadsheet or filling out expense reports and mundane forms. “Perhaps we should get used to it again, and use it to our benefit. Perhaps in an incessant, up-the-ante world, we could do with a little less excitement,” added Paul, implying that will make them tougher and better-adjusted to the real world of work.

Are you stuck in your business?

*** One thing that’s not boring is the outcome of our annual CPA/Wealth Advisor Confidence Survey. See what the highest performing advisors are doing differently than the rest. Take the confidential 5-minute survey before Friday and we’ll send you the information-packed 12 page summary of findings. Here’s the link

Here’s a hint — they’re getting plenty of media attention (see below):

HB clients in the news


Let’s have a great week. Like the Super Bowl, not every idea you come up with will be a winner, but you can’t break through to the next level unless you get into the game and try to make some plays.

#wealth advisor confidence #fighting boredom #creativity #ideation #Tony Romo #Super Bowl disappointment




Hank Berkowitz, MBA, MA is a thought leadership content expert serving financial advisors, CPAs, estate planners and insurance pros.