Boredom has become a four-letter word. Something to avoid all costs. We can’t wait in line without checking our email. We scroll through Instagram while watching TV. I’d be surprised if younger generations even understand what it means to stop and smell the roses.

Our whole society has become afraid of boredom. Maybe we feel lazy, like we are letting the world down every time we take a break from being productive? Maybe life is overwhelming and it’s easier to be distracted than face the music? Maybe we’re afraid of our thoughts?

What we’re forgetting is boredom is essential. It lets our brains step out of the rat race and focus on what really matters. It’s why our best ideas come when we’re driving to work. Boredom is a chance for our inner voice to take the stage and bring clarity to what we’ve been struggling with. It increases creativity. It’s an opportunity to embrace the present moment, take note of the people around you, wonder about their lives, and in turn wonder about our own.

The problem is boredom used to be a passive state we simply had to endure. Today, with endless amusement and information at our fingertips, boredom is a deliberate action we must take. We have to choose to be bored.

But all it takes is a choice. Daydream instead of scroll. Observe instead of browse. If you don’t know how to start, Benjamin Foley can point you in the right direction. See what happens when you give yourself a chance to be bored. The distractions will always be there, but your next great idea may not.