The Crow's Dream

Philosophy, geekery, and the meaning if life, and what I read this week…

You are Responsible for Your Own Entertainment

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The most important thing my friend Roger ever taught me was that I am responsible for my own entertainment. He taught this to me while we waited for a panel at the San Diego Comic Con. I was bored and whining about it, my complaints must have grown pretty annoying, because he turned around and pretty yelled the saying that would become a dictum for the rest of my life “shut up, damn it! You are responsible for your own entertainment!”, yes, I thought I am responsible for my own entertainment.

This statement was empowering because Roger was teaching me that I could find ways to alter my mental landscape in spite of the circumstances around me. I could, for instance, choose to read a book or to contemplate the scenery around me, instead of freaking out about long waits of boring days. This is big stuff. Actually, according to this article, having the ability to control your attention may even delineate the difference between failure and success.

In a study created to determine if children could postpone gratification, by offering them one marshmallow now or two later, researchers found that there was a strong correlation between children who could delay gratification and their success later on in life. Here is a short excerpt:

What, then, determined self-control? Mischel’s conclusion, based on hundreds of hours of observation, was that the crucial skill was the “strategic allocation of attention.” Instead of getting obsessed with the marshmallow—the “hot stimulus”—the patient children distracted themselves by covering their eyes, pretending to play hide-and-seek underneath the desk, or singing songs from “Sesame Street.”

So that day truly changed my life. I’ve learned to distract myself when I need to do something difficult. I read on my stationary bike, or listen to audio books when I do chores. I try to enjoy the landscape, or just the feeling of sleepy relaxation when I am sick. I focus on the present with all of my might when I am doing something important. I listen to people to the best of my ability, and I listen to my thoughts for interesting patterns. Some times I catch myself sleeping while I’m awake, but I remind myself that I should I never, ever allow myself to be bored (unless I want to, which some times is fun). The world is too beautiful for that, but only if you pay attention to the things that matter.


Written by Hector

September 29, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. I think the full statement was: “boredom is not taking responsibility for one’s own entertainment” and it is something that Podge told me once. Like you, I took the advice to heart and passed it on whenever I heard a friend say they were bored. There is really no reason to ever be as you so elegantly stated.


    September 30, 2010 at 3:26 am

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