So you have a class coming up and you dread it. Of all the subjects on your list for the day, this one drains energy from you and you haven’t even stepped one foot into the room.
But you say it’s more than just the subject. Actually…you love the subject but find yourself dozing off in class, unable to focus on the content. After attending the class several times already your mind and body are conditioned to tire out, induce sleep and zone out. At this point you know you can’t help it.
“No I can’t,” you say, “The teacher is so boring!”
Ah, the “B” word. Even without making myself aware of the word’s consequences years ago, I had an aversion to using it. And when I did use it, my inner balance didn’t feel right. This turbulence made me question the concept.
As someone who always “has something to do,” I find the word “boring” to be a useless term. The dictionary’s definition explains “something that is boring fails to hold one’s interest or attention, often resulting in listlessness or impatience” (thefreedictionary.com/boring).
That means if something is boring it doesn’t mean it lacks value. It means there’s disinterest in learning about it.
I know what it’s like to sit in a college classroom with boring professors. Classmates are fun to talk to but once the dictator in the room starts speaking, the urge to fall into la la land is born. No matter how important the topic may be, a boring professor can destroy a normal student’s interest. That’s why, as a learner in charge of her own education, you’re not normal; you can’t use a boring professor as an excuse to ignore learning.
It won’t matter how bored you are in the class, if you fail what you need to pass to conquer the course, you’re not going anywhere. The professor has no problem with that.
A boring professor, meeting or professional experience isn’t an excuse to ignore learning.
Whether you’re listening to a business presentation at work or a college professor, to overcome boredom you’re going to have to be mindful and realize why the professor is boring. Once that first class knocks you out stone cold, you need to show up to the next prepared with resources and strategy.
A few reasons that might cause the boredom:
- Monotone voice
- Lack of enthusiasm
- Weak body language
- Failed to ask engaging, open-ended questions to class
- Low energy
- Doesn’t use handouts to engage the class
- Hosts no activities
- Weak charisma
- Unprepared for the course
- Low confidence or knowledge of course content
- Doesn’t present him/herself professionally
On the contrary, someone loaded with charisma could cover the most useless topic and make you feel like you need to know more. So we know boredom is a major problem. Despite this, the responsibility still falls on you to succeed in the curriculum.
Being bored remains an excuse label.
Think about it: if you had something of interest on the mind, how could you ever be bored? And to know that your time is limited on this planet, using that wonderful body-mind of yours, to experience all that the world has to offer, who in their right minds would allow themselves to be bored for a minute?
So this is what you do:
Pluck out the relevant content from the boring professor. If you’re zoning out, you should still have a notebook with you ready to be penned. Write down the keywords you hear and save them for after class. When you have personal time, do your own research into the keywords and form your own connections using mind maps. This technique provides a more intimate understanding of the subject so you don’t have to rely on anyone to teach you the topics in-depth. You’ll make connections faster and gain an edge in the class. When you go in to class the next day, your maps are already set and all you have to do is keep expanding on them. Not only will this give you the edge, you’ll also become better at using the next strategy. Which is…
Participate during the class. People tend to avoid this to run away from looking like a fool, giving wrong answers and generally taking risks to be seen, but you’re going to be different. You’re going to raise your hand, ask questions and take initiative. The more you talk, the conversation you stimulate among your peers and even the professor, and the more engaging the content becomes. If you stay quiet the entire class, you only give the professor the opportunity to talk your head off. So speak up and encourage your classmates to do so. Naturally several people tend to have the same questions or thoughts in mind but only a few have courage to voice them. When you do it, you’ll give the others confidence to join in. You also help the professor settle down by taking the weight off his shoulders to speak for the full duration. Everyone wins.
Then guess what happens?
A 60-minute class feels like 20 minutes because you’ve made the environment so dynamic the time passes quickly.
The iSuperThink.com mantra is to own your education. Remove the word “boring” from your vocabulary and take ownership of every opportunity to learn, no matter how useless it may seem.