Why It’s Okay to be Boring
Monday May 21, 2012

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“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”–John Maxwell

A handful of times throughout my adult life I have been accused of being boring. Initially, such statements stung because I, like so many others, have been conditioned to believe that “boring” was negative and something to aspire not to be. But then, after much contemplation, I began to consider the source of the statement and then consider the context in which the statement was made. Having analyzed both aspects, I have come to own my boringness.

And here is why:

If being boring means . . .

. . . gradually accomplishing my goals, then I’m more than happy to attain success.

If being boring means . . .

. . . treating my body respectfully, then my future 80-year old body will thank me later.

If being boring means . . .

. . . respecting my instincts, then my self-esteem will will not be dashed.

If being boring means . . .

. . . enabling my focus to be unshakeable, then wasted time will not deter me.

If being boring means . . .

. . . going out, but coming home at a decent hour, then my energy level will be ready to go the next day without losing a step.

If being boring means . . .

. . . being seen as a leader, instead of a follower, then at least I know I’m living my life and not somebody else’s.

And if being boring means . . .

. . . taking care of all of the responsibilities I have accepted gladly (home ownership, doggie mama, educator, writer, adult, etc), then I know I am content with my youth, wish to leave it in the past and do not try to relive it.

Yes, I wholeheartedly accept the label of boring. Each year my life reaches a high that I had not seen before. And while there are many moments throughout the duration when I have stumbled, made mistakes or had to reassess how I approached something, I have come to realize that I am content with my life. And while some (who either don’t know me or refuse to accept and understand who I am) may see my life as boring, I find it quite exhilarating, and those who genuinely love and respect me don’t feel the need to pull me down with such petty remarks.

While at this point in my life it is time to put my nose to the grindstone and work without looking at the clock, I am confident that in doing so I will have time to let go a bit more later in my life. But what I am doing now, I quite enjoy. In fact, I thoroughly enjoy feeling productive at the end of the day – exhausted, but productive.  I have come to learn from observing others’ mistakes and successes, that success doesn’t just land in our laps. We must go out and work for it – work hard for it. And yes, we will have to make sacrifices.

“Every time you stay out late; every time you sleep in; every time you miss a workout; every time you don’t give 100% – You make it that much easier for me to beat you.”-Unknown

Right now I am the putting in my time, trying to learn from every mistake and constantly seeking answers to questions I didn’t even know existed five years ago.

So if labeling me as “boring” makes other people feel better about themselves, I’m fine with that.  In fact, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be called boring. After all, regardless of your political preference, while a student at Columbia University Barack Obama was constantly chided by his roommate for being boring. I can only wonder what his roommate is doing now.

“An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men.”–Thomas Fuller

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43 thoughts on “Why It’s Okay to be Boring

  1. Oh, I’m ‘boring’ too! 😉

    I often think it’s a label given to someone when the person making the remark is, in reality, questioning their own choices/behaviour.

  2. Your blog and especially this post is well written, inspiring and a subject a lot of people can relate to. If being boring is the equivalent of your stories, then I salute you and your boringness. I hope you have a lovely day!

  3. Very true – life offers so many distractions and if we don’t want to fall a prey to those, people tend to label us. That is why I love my 30ths. As a woman I am confident in what I want to do and don’t do, even if the surroundings don’t always agree! Great post..


  4. To the poster above, the discussion was not focused on politics. It was merely an example of how the most successful people are labeled ‘boring.’

    Tiger Woods was once called a loser for practicing golf Saturday nights, this is the same analogy

  5. This is such a wonderful post. I, too have been called boring. I have taken it to heart and have tried to change myself into a more ‘interesting’ person, in which I felt even worse for not being myself

    I realize whoever says that doesn’t know me well. I can proudly say I am an interesting and talented person. People fail to recognize these qualities in others, and therefore label them as boring.

  6. I love this post! Perfect timing because I needed this reminder!! Thank you sooooooooo much for writing this!! I am boring too! Lets continue to be boring together! 🙂

  7. Shannon, thank you for this! “Boring” is one of those words that I think people reserve for anything that disinterests them and so I’ve been on the receiving end of it many times, for my interests or decisions. I realized after a time that I could either abandon my boringness or embrace it – and since I love my art, literature and foreign films too much to ever abandon them, I went for the second option and never looked back. Sometimes it’s easy, though, to feel like you’re the only Boring out there. You and the other commenters on this post definitely proved otherwise – and for that I’m quite grateful!

  8. I am boring too! Sometimes I wish that I was more of a risk taker. I think I miss out sometimes because of my conscience and my choices.

    However, I am who I am & that is ok too. Boring it is!!! 🙂

    1. It is absolutely important to be who you are and not succumb to outside pressures to be someone else, but I don’t believe that living a life that is goal-oriented (as some would label “boring”) means you are not a risk-taker. In fact, I think that someone who is focused and willing to say no to the late-night hijinks every weekend that so many people feel they have to participate in actually takes more of a risk because they are betting on themselves and chasing their dreams, often times, alone. This is risky because there is uncertainty, but the pay-offs can be so very wonderfully rewarding.

  9. There’s obviously a lot of us “boring” girls out there doing out thing quite happily – seems to me it’s those who have a problem with it who may need to look at their lives and what they’re achieving. These are wonderful quotes and I am sure I will use one or two of them myself at some appropriate moment. Thank you.

  10. Love this post!! Very well done. When I was younger my school mates called me “boring” because I knew what I wanted to do and did not follow the herd. As I grow oder and albet “wiser” I’ll take “boring” anyday of the week, for I know I’m being true to myself :))
    Take Care.

  11. Fantastic post, Shannon! As always, you are spot on! Although nobody has ever called me boring, I can imagine that some would probably view me that way at times. I’ve never been one to follow the crowd if I felt strongly against something or felt it was a waste of my time. Time is precious, and I was aware of that in my early 20’s. While others were trying to recover from a hangover, I was at the gym. While others relaxed all weekend, I worked full time hours while going to school full time. I knew that I was building a life I would be proud of. Since hubby and I travel quite a bit, I seem to go from being boring and then suddenly the envy of my friends because I’ve seen so much more of the world. I’m just happy doing what makes me happy. At the end of the day we need to be comfortable with ourselves and our lives. If others cannot understand, it’s their issue. I generally find that those who are considered “boring” are those who seem to be the most productive and accomplished. 🙂

  12. Thank you for the insight!
    I often feel frustrated with myself for being boring…when, as you point out, I am really living a productive,responsible, adult life. Working at a useful (UN-glamourous!) job in the medical field, maintaining a welcoming home, cooking simple healthy meals, spending a quiet evening with my lovely husband. From your perspective it is the ideal to aspire to rather than mundane.
    As much as I hate to admit it, does what I perceive as glamourous and exciting even really exist? Does anyone really live like Holly Golightly or Carrie Bradshaw??
    I think all of us who enjoy Shannon’s blog would agree that the excitement is found in the simple luxuries.

    1. The images that we are fed probably exist at some point, but at a constant level, I doubt. And if they did, well quite frankly, it would be hard to appreciate everything when it is glamorous all of the time. Beautiful and quite accurate observation.

  13. Right on! Thanks Shannon for encouraging the idea of being true to oneself and doing what makes one happy. I have been called “boring” several times throughout my life and have found that the times when I didn’t listen to those people’s opinion, but ignored them and continued what I was doing, that’s when I’ve felt most at peace with myself.

    There is an overwhelming sentiment in society that calls for us (women specially) to be scandalous, attention-seeking (in a negative way) and overly sexualized, and I strongly believe that to go along with society is to sell ourselves short.

    It’s refreshing to read your blog and be inspired by your message of ‘uniqueness’, tapping into one’s personal power and believing in possibility. Thanks for providing an inspiring haven for all of us who have decided to ‘choose ourselves’.


  14. I really cannot thank you enough for your blog posts, how much they’ve helped me reach my potential. I’m feeling very stressed and unproductive lately–mainly because I’m juggling too many glass balls and watching them each shatter when I drop them–and after reading this, I know that I am proud to be “boring” and know the importance of a good night’s sleep.

  15. You are not boring at all,I can’t get enough of your posts,every time I learn something and take it with me.. I think it is better to have more inside then you can show,then look promising and interesting ,attract people only to disappoint …I was called boring at my 20th,now all my friends asking me how do I manage to look so young at 35? Well,I don’t drink,I go to sleep at 11 ,I am trying to eat healthy ,raising 3 beautiful kids ,I have guts to tel no to a lot of stuff I can’t afford both physically and financially …I admire you and thank you for sharing with others your awesome beautiful ideas and thoughts

  16. So very thankful for this blog. I’m working towards being my authentic, boring self at 50! With a French flair of course!

  17. No, Its really not ok to being bored. Enjoy each and every moment of your life by doing some crazy and funny things. Great blog thanks for sharing.

  18. Hi, I’m in high school and I don’t know why, but I’m being called boring….one person even goes so far as to call me ‘grandma’, I’m not lazy, I don’t ramble on about scientific facts , I don’t think I’m different from any teenage girl my age,.,and it hurts so much to be called a grandma and to be laughed at and I feel if this is how one person feels then maybe everyone else think so too….thank you for this post, it’s made me feel better, I can’t be someone I’m not, and while I’m frustrated and sad bcus I don’t see what’s so bad about me that I’m labelled like this, I am who I am, perceptions are not always the reality…thank you

  19. No one has ever called me boring, that’s for sure. I’m always to work early, I am a doting and over protective parent, I’m a community volunteer, I’m a loyal wife, and I pay my bills/have no debt. So I can check the responsibility box. But I am so fired up about being alive despite the fact that I’m almost 40! I want to try everything, meet everyone. learn all I can, go everywhere. It has often been brought to my attention that this is an unusual way to feel at my age. That’s so sad. Even at work, I’m asking a boss/co-worker to show me new things or chatting with customers or reading up on what there is do locally, to share with patrons. I have a lot of enthusiasm and curiosity about the daily happenings of my boring life. If you find yourself just going through the motions too often, panic. Do something that fires you up, try to get the most out of every situation. If that doesn’t help, maybe get your thyroid checked. Thanks for sharing an interesting topic! It’s not one we here often!

    1. Mary, I absolutely LOVE your energy! Curiosity is key to living well no matter what our age, and it is clear you have this mastered. Keep reveling in your life and in this world that is truly fascinating, so long as we choose to remain curious. Thank you very much for your commend. xoxo

  20. I absolutely love the spot-on way you captured what it’s like being on the inside of a seemingly boring exterior. A quiet, intense focus is so active and so electric. It’s invisible to the naked eye.

    Keep up the amazing work, Shannon! Thank you!

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