A preacher died and went to heaven where he noticed that a New York cab driver had been awarded a higher place than he.

“I don’t understand,” he complained to St. Peter. “I devoted my entire life to my congregation.”

St. Peter explained:  “Our policy here in heaven is to reward results.  Now, was your congregation well attuned to you whenever you gave a sermon?”

“Well,” the minister had to admit, “some in the congregation fell asleep from time to time.”

“Exactly,” said St. Peter.  “And when people rode in this man’s taxi, they not only stayed awake – they even prayed!”

Now I’m not saying you should drive like a maniac, but there is something to living life to the fullest and not being boring.  As a public speaker I can give this preacher some good advice:  If you haven’t struck oil in the first five minutes, stop boring.

Cecil Beaton, British interior and set designer, said:  “Perhaps the world’s second worst crime is boredom.  The first is being a bore.”

And if you allow yourself to be bored too long, you actually become a bore.  What a vicious cycle!

Boredom affects everyone.  Sadly, it’s quite prominent in the workplace, especially for those who perform the same routine job day in and day out.  It’s the same for people who sit in silence for long periods of time. Boredom makes it tough for people to focus.  Boredom weighs you down.

Believe me, this problem affects managers in high level jobs, as well as line workers.

For example, a special events manager who has a reputation for being the best in the business recently told me she was bored.  “Every party looks the same to me,” she said.  True, I told her – they look absolutely fabulous.  I advised her to take time to share the joy she brings her clients.  “I guess I forgot about that part,” she told me.

A customer relations vice president encourages his staff to think in terms of how many people they helped that day, rather than how many complaints they dealt with.  He knows that employees can get discouraged and bored in that line of work, and he wants them to have every reason to love their jobs.

Folks who are chronically bored are missing out on a lot of opportunities.  Can you improve your job or job performance?  Is it time to consider a different job?  Or do you need to concentrate more on how your job affects others and less on the paycheck?

When you can’t change your job to eliminate the boredom, you have to change your state of mind.  You need a shot of stimulation.  Give your brain some new challenges, even if they aren’t work-related.  Changing up the way you spend some of the time can cause a domino effect on the rest of your time.

Try these tricks:

  • Do something that you want to do.  Go to a movie, a museum or sports event.  Listen to your favorite music.  Go out with friends.  Go to the mall.  Buy yourself a little gift or a surprise for someone else.
  • Read something new.  Pick a book by an author you’ve never read, or an article that will stimulate your imagination.
  • Get some exercise.  Physical activity will get your blood pumping and stimulate endorphin production, making you feel energetic and happier.
  • Take a break, or even a little nap.  This might be hard for a lot of people, but I find if I close my eyes and sleep for just five to ten minutes, I wake up feeling refreshed.
  • Explore your surroundings.  Stop ignoring the sights on your way to work, or at work. Pay attention to all you see—look for something different and original.
  • Rearrange your space.  Sometimes shifting things around at home or at work can force you to look at your surroundings, and your life, in a new light.
  • Develop a hobby.  Hopefully you already have one or two, but if not find something you enjoy.
  • Volunteer.  Helping others is a terrific antidote to the boredom blahs.  And look at all the good you are doing.
  • Change your routine.  Take a different route to work.  Start the day with something new instead of just sitting down with your to-do list.  Shake up your day, and interesting things may reveal themselves.

Mackay’s Moral:  You can’t soar if you’re a bore.

About the author Harvey Mackay

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.

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