Selfie in the mirror with Cindy at conveyer belt sushi. Osaka, 2018
Selfie in the mirror with Cindy at conveyer belt sushi. Osaka, 2018

To me, I think the opposite of happiness is boredom. To be happy, simply avoid being bored.

Alleviate your boredom in a meaningful and creative way!

ERIC KIM Cartoon with camera // from ZEN OF ERIC
ERIC KIM Cartoon with camera // from ZEN OF ERIC

This is my idea:

Whenever you feel bored, seek to alleviate your boredom as quickly as possible.

To be clear, I don’t mean to say to fill up your day simply watching Netflix, playing games, or distracting yourself on social media or the internet.

Rather, I think the best way to alleviate boredom is to challenge ourselves, to do something creative, to make something, to read difficult books, to workout our muscles, or to workout our minds.


To me, boredom is the lack of challenge, danger, novelty, randomness, chance, and difficulty in our lives. To me, boredom is the worst evil — far worse than suffering, pain, or despair.

I would rather be suffering and in pain, rather than be bored.

Zen aesthetics. Kyoto, 2017
Zen aesthetics. Kyoto, 2017

Boredom is the worst existential dread —you lose all zest for living and life, and you want to just kill time, to distract yourself, and take away that horrible beast of ennui. I think boredom is the worst modern suffering. I think this is why many of us moderns try to alleviate boredom by “distracting ourselves to death”— through mindless entertainment, games, sex, drugs, alcohol, and other forms of passive self-medication.

Kyoto Zen temple, 2017
Kyoto Zen temple, 2017

What I think we desire as humans is to work on difficult, challenging, fun, creative, and meaningful things.


In practical terms, alleviate your boredom by seeking more difficult challenges in your life.

At the gym, don’t do the same boring exercise and pointless repetitions. Do challenging (and fun) movements, like heavy 1-rep max deadlifts, squats, or heavy dumbbell presses.

Or join exercise classes which are actually fun to you — which allow you to dance, roll around on the ground like a child, and movements you actually enjoy. Exercise which is boring, monotonous, and not fun is like slavery.

“Artist Eric” by Annette Kim from “Zen of Eric” Visualization

As a photographer, make photos that are fun for you, and photos you enjoy shooting. Don’t put unnecesssry pressure on yourself to make the world’s best photos, and don’t feel like you must upload all your photos. Make photos for yourself for the sake of making photos, and allow yourself to be a bit silly when taking photos.

THE ZEN OF ERIC


How to alleviate boredom in a creative way

Sketching one another in Kyoto Zen Photography Experience, 2016
Sketching one another in Kyoto Zen Photography Experience workshop, 2016

Other ideas:

  1. Learn how to sketch, draw, or paint. Find inspiration from CREATIVE EVERYDAY.
  2. Go on a street photography adventure with STREET HUNT! Put yourself in novel and random situations, to find more inspiration to shoot photos of your everyday life.
  3. Make your own photo slideshows in iMovie, or make your own beats in garangeband. If you need music to add to your own slideshows, download my beats for free.
  4. Go on a walk. When you’re bored, take your camera for a walk. Walk for the sake of walking and clearing your mind. Treat your walking as a “zen meditation”, and take photos of interesting stuff you encounter.
  5. Watch great films or cinema on your laptop, and take screenshots of any cinema compositions which inspire you. Start with Akira Kurosawa (Rashomon and 7 Samurai).

Make more art!

Cindy going down stairs. Osaka, 2018
Cindy going down stairs. Osaka, 2018

Your life is too short to be bored. Always strive to work on fun, creative, and personally meaningful projects. When in doubt, make more art!

Never stop playing and making,
ERIC


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