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What To Do When You Have Nothing To Say

To do the same thing over and over again is not only boredom: it is to be controlled by rather than to control what you do.
– Heraclitus

“So what’s new?”

“Not much.”

…awkward silence.

We all hate it, yet we fall to it so many times. Hey, that’s okay. Sometimes, you don’t have anything to say. You might notice that I haven’t posted a whole lot in the past couple weeks. Part of that is the time factor (business has been kicking), but another reason is that I haven’t had much to say.

It seems ridiculous – there’s always something to talk about, right? With so much going on in the world, it should be easy to toss out something. And you’re right. It is easy. But when it’s easy like that, what are you really doing?

Probably complaining.

There’s plenty to complain about: money, work, government, stupid senseless acts of violence. But at some point, you have to stop complaining. Just sitting around talking about what’s bothering you will ruin your mood and the moods of everyone around you. And nothing gets done.

So if you have nothing to say besides ranting, it’s time to do something about it. Here are a few ways you can kickstart your brain back into gear and enable yourself to have a real conversation with someone (or just have something worthwhile to write about):

  • Check the news headlines. Normally, this isn’t my go-to, but it’s one of the easiest ones. News headlines are everywhere, and you can come by a headline quickly. Scan them. See what’s going on in the world. See a story you are interested in? Keep reading. However, the reason this isn’t my go-to is that 95% or so of the news happens to be bad news. So this will easily suck you into a vortex of whining. But hey, there might be something good. Or something bad that spurs good conversation, such as sharing memories of a favorite famous person that recently passed away, or something.
  • Go DO something. Anything. If you don’t have anything to talk about, that means you’re not having a life. Get out the door. Take up an exercise routine. Start DIYing something around the house. Pick up an instrument. Hey, it doesn’t have to be an expensive pursuit. Just take action. Start writing. Anything. Come on, you can do this one.
  • Read some blogs. You know, like this one. While many people still hang onto the flawed notion that blogs are a waste of time, or that they don’t have time for blogs, reading them does not have to be a major time commitment, and there are plenty out there that offer great advice, how-to’s, interesting and thought-provoking tidbits, and other productive and intelligent conversation. Sign up for a Feedly account and keep yourself informed regularly.
  • Discover new blogs. Search “[insert topic that interests you] blogs” and go to town. There’s something new to read wherever you look.
  • Read a book. Load up that Kindle, go to the library, or just grab a book or two from Amazon. If you have a bookstore in the area, go walk around in it. Start reading the free classics on Amazon or Gutenberg. Expand your mind with some solid reading.
  • Start watching TED and TEDx videos. TED is a very exclusive and expensive conference that intellectual and industry elites have attended for years. But in the last decade, TED has posted their lectures and presentations online. This is great stuff. Most of them are 18 minutes or less (or shorter than a sitcom episode). Tons of them are under 5-10 minutes. TEDx is an independently-run version of the conference that can be put on in any region of the world. Yesterday, I carved out time to watch this presentation from a TEDx conference that fascinated me and expanded my horizons. Plus, it gave me a great talking point for an interesting conversation about how your body handles stress and productivity.
  • Carry a notebook around. I don’t mean under your arm. Spend a couple bucks and get a 3-pack of these bad boys. Shove one in your pocket, along with a pen, and jot down things that come to your mind as they come to you. You already know that I carry a pocket notebook and love it, and it’s a great way to keep ideas fresh in your mind, just by writing them down.

What do you do when you have nothing to say? Do you just veg out watching television, or do you take a more proactive approach?

boredom, conversation, lists