Have you ever read something really, really boring but struggled through it because you recognized the information was of high value? As students, we’ve all labored through massive, ancient textbooks, our eyes becoming heavier and heavier, our minds overflowing with dates and formulae. As adults, we have a little more discretion. Nonetheless, we’ve all been trapped in a dull business meeting with a flavorless presentation. Most likely, we’ve all not only been victims of boredom, but perpetrators as well! Oh, the humanity! Boredom is a force to be reckoned with, especially with today’s channel surfing and click-happy society, and you should do everything in your power to make sure you’re not spreading the pandemic of ennui.
Charlie Brown’s Mother
The Peanuts gang as envisioned by Charles Monroe Schulz as a comic and then later an animated television show artfully captured the innocence and vitality of children. As a child, almost anything can seem like an adventure. A bike ride to the store? Finding a shovel? With imagination, even the most mundane can be brought to life. However, whenever a Peanuts character would try to talk to an adult, the authority figure would respond with the same robotic, inarticulate, droning voice. Waah waah waah. Waah waah waah waah. Charlie Brown and Linus would stare at them perplexedly and nod in affirmation. Yes, ma’am. Yes, sir. They were being subjected to the world of adult boredom.
Snoopy, on the other hand, was the purest form of childlike imagination. Snoopy was so imaginative he would literally become the characters he created. Whether he’s battling the Red Baron in the sky or leaning against a wall as Joe Cool, Snoopy regularly defeated boredom with sheer willpower. Though he was certainly abused occasionally by an angry Lucy, Snoopy was in many ways a role model to the children of Peanuts. You want to be more like Snoopy and less like Charlie Brown’s mother. You want your words to reach into the core of people and communicate your ideas and concepts.
Make Them Laugh
You don’t have to become the next Chris Rock or George Carlin to become an entrepreneur. But don’t neglect the power of humor when it comes to connecting with people. Even presidential candidates throw in a couple of jokes during a debate, though they may be better served by hiring better writers. Humor is so effective because it puts people at ease. It lowers defenses and makes people more receptive to what you have to say. If Charlie Brown’s mother would have told a joke once in a while, maybe her voice would have come through with more clarity.
Make Them Feel
Boredom exists in the logical realm. If somebody is actively feeling something, they’re functioning in the emotional realm and will not become bored. Relate to your audience on an emotional level by writing about your personal past circumstances, using evocative language, and building anticipation. A reader who is emotionally engaged will become intellectually engaged without effort. It doesn’t work the other way around, though.
Edit, Slash, and Burn
This blog post was originally 6000 words long. Granted, most of the words were a long string of nonsensical letters after a short keyboard nap. Still, the point remains. Don’t be afraid to edit your work significantly. Less is more in writing, video content, and hat size. If you can make a point with fewer words or sentences, make the edit. Your readers, and the eternal warriors that fight boredom, will thank you.
Did you make it through this article? Or did it bore you like Charlie Brown’s mother? How do you measure excitement and interest? Let us know with a comment.
Matthew Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur, and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Adam. Matthew is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.