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If You Find Yourself Browsing, Consider Diving Deep

June 30, 2018

Author: Bianca Yang
Email: ipacifics@gmail.com

I find that when I am bored and have access to my computer or phone, I tend to desperately and stupidly browse. For example, I’ll idly switch between books I have loaded in my iBooks library (I removed iBooks from my phone a couple days ago, so this is no longer valid). Or I’ll Google some question on Reddit like “best places to eat in X” and then follow more and more of the “Related/Relevant/Interesting/i.e. Suck All Your Time Away Until it’s 2am and You’re Wondering Why You Stayed Up So Late Wasting Time on the Internet When You Have 8am Class” links that are on some of the major threads. Regardless of what the “I’m bored, let’s browse” activity is, it ends up being a complete waste of time and complete brain killer. I have no more energy or motivation to get anything actually worthwhile done after the “browse until I’m bored of browsing” period than I did before.

I think the solution to this problem is to take a break (from digital media, especially) and then dive deep into something. This works because boredom is a sign that my brain is exhausted or that it’s confused. The break is a time to hit refresh and reset my mental energies. Dale Chihuly once said something along the lines of: “It’s not the physical exhaustion that tires you out, it’s mental exhaustion.” I agree with that statement, but also want to note that physical needs can create the illusion of mental exhaustion. For example, people on low-carb diets often feel low-energy and sleepy because they’re not eating enough. Their body responds not with hunger but with signals to rest and conserve energy.

Once my mental energies are in order, it’s time to resolve my confusion. The only way to become unconfused is to go deep into the topic of confusion so you can understand where you got confused, why you got confused, and how to move forward. Going deep can mean more Google research, reading Wikipedia, asking a friend, or just moving on. Sometimes you won’t understand something until you’ve experienced more. Sometimes you have you trust that your hand will understand before your head. If you go through the motions enough times, things will eventually become clear.

Browsing is a dangerous habit. It’s a drain on your mental energy and a waste of time. If you want to live a fulfilling life, you should focus on what makes you truly happy. I don’t think browsing will ever be an activity that makes you truly happy.