The term “boring” is typically used as an insult. If you heard it directed at you before, you might have felt hurt. We don’t blame you for that reaction!
But what if you found out that it’s actually good to be boring? Believe it or not, research agrees that boring people can have it better. Here’s how experts reveal 7 reasons why being boring isn’t a bad thing.
1. You Fly Beneath The Radar
There are downsides to flying under the radar, of course – and they’re likely the same reasons you may have disliked being boring up to this point. For example, you might get passed over for some promotions and may wish you had more attention from your peers or even your family.
- Being able to get away with a few bad days at work without getting in trouble
- Managing to conceal intentions and emotions from the people around you
- Attracting less unwanted attention
- Having a better grasp on your nonverbal cues
2. You’re A Better Leader
A lot of people labor under the idea that charismatic leaders are the best. But charisma isn’t everything and can often wind up being linked to traits like narcissism, which we’ll discuss shortly. As a matter of fact, a lot of charismatic individuals face challenges with leadership because:
- Their advantages provide more benefit to themselves than their organization
- They can be too self-centered and entitled
- Most of the company-wide advantages they provide are short-lived
- They may be too driven by power and therefore not as caring for those working with and for them
Research indicates that the world’s best leaders with the most positive results for their work and subordinates are, in fact, rather boring! Jim Collins, a renowned expert in the world of business who has authored many books and conducted a lot of research to discover the secrets of business success, reveals that good leaders are usually:
- Emotionally stable
- Considerate for others
- Consistent and reliable
- Polite to everyone
- Humble and realistic about themselves
- Trustworthy and reassuring to their employees
- Easy to read and understand
- A resource for employees to turn to
This means that instead of being excitable, eccentric, and erratic, the world’s best leaders are boring because it means that others can trust them and view them as equal in many ways. They have no interest in making themselves look good – they want to function as a unit with their company and therefore do what they can to benefit the collective instead of just themselves.
3. Too Much Of A Good Thing Is Just Bad
Excessive positive traits can increase your risk of experiencing psychological and even physical diseases, and it also tends to go too far.
Kaiser Leadership Solutions president Robert B. Kaiser, who has written books and participated in research on the subject, states that often, having very high levels of so-called positive traits is, in fact, just counterproductive. This is something we can consider the “too little / too much” scale. For example:
- Highly confident individuals can often wind up suffering from arrogance.
- Ambitious individuals may become greedy or may aim too high with unreasonable expectations.
- Conscientious individuals can experience a very compulsive, obsessive, overly pedantic set of behaviors.
- Extremely social individuals may become dependant on social approval.
This is not to say that it’s necessarily terrible if you’re very good at one specific trait, but the research doesn’t lie – there’s such a thing as having too much of a good thing. Being average and “boring” allows you to have more balanced traits that don’t tip over into exacerbation that can become problematic for you in the long run.
4. Your Expectations Are More Reasonable
It’s normal to grow up being told that we must constantly be exceptional and the best that there is. You were likely told to be better than the average and that being the average for your current level of learning or age was not good enough.
This, unfortunately, has created a society where you subconsciously expect values and successes only truly possible in fiction. It’s the concept of egalitarianism – but, unfortunately, it also forgets the standard downsides of that concept from the get-go. The idea is certainly a positive one, but the issue with this is that there isn’t room at the top for everyone. Not everyone can be among the top 1% in their field – that’s why it’s just 1%!
Moderating your expectations
Unfortunately, always assuming that you can be the best at everything if you just tried a little harder or applied yourself better leads to unrealistic expectations. For those who grew up gifted or “exceptional,” it can be difficult to break the cycle of feeling like not being the very best is the equivalent of failure. It can wreak havoc on positive thinking and destroy self-esteem.
We have it drummed into us from an early age that we are exceptional or have the potential to be. This is an appealing aspect of an egalitarian society – a meritocracy in which we can all become someone or something if we only apply ourselves. It’s a nice idea, reach for the stars, they’re there for the taking, but the other side of it is: if we become anything other than ordinary, we feel that we’ve failed somehow.
According to Alain de Botton, a philosopher and the author of Status Anxiety, this has caused a very painful divergence between reality and goals. There is no real way to be successful at everything – all areas of success will come with downsides and usually mean you can’t be successful in other areas.
This means that if you’re a “boring” person – or, basically, an average individual – you have a better chance of being realistic in your goals naturally. And if you haven’t been that relaxed previously, you can now adjust your goals to be more realistic. You only have to make your personal best effort – not the best in the eyes of the universe.
5. You Have A Lower Proclivity For Risk
Being boring often means being safe. You don’t take risks that aren’t extremely well-calculated, you’re less likely to:
- Be impulsive
- Put yourself in harm’s way
- Break the law
- Develop addictions
- Get involved with the wrong crowd
- Be tempted to do negative things
As a matter of fact, conformity benefits are so well-studied that being boring is almost obviously the more positive option compared to standing out or being eccentric. According to The Longevity Project co-author and psychologist Howard S. Friedman, Ph.D., predicting who will live a longer life is not at all random – it has to do with risk.
Those who are “gifted” or have the proclivity to attempt the exceptional are at higher risk in all areas, including:
- Disease susceptibility
- Injury frequency
- Marriage health and success
- Vice addiction
- Education level
- Work performance and success
- Overall longevity
Conversely, “boring” people – who, as that term suggests, were much less likely to take bad risks – enjoyed better results in all areas of their life by comparison. Not too bad for an average Joe!
6. You’re Less Likely To Be Self-Focused
In this day and age, referring to someone as average is often conflated, essentially, insulting them. Uniqueness, though, is overrated. An excess of it can lead to rises in self-focus and even a risk of narcissism, says internationally acclaimed psychological profiling and leadership development expert Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Ph.D., who also works in people analytics and talent management.
Chamorro-Premuzic points out that narcissism levels in individuals are rising rapidly through the years, with more and more people having a view that they are important and special. This has been seen most clearly in consumer purchases, according to studies. In just 30 years from the 1950s to the 1980s, the number of people who consider themselves important had risen to 80% of the population from just 12%!
This kind of self-focus is, ultimately, a negative trait.
Self-centeredness can result in the following outcomes:
- The impediment of personal development, self-improvement, and progress
- Fear and self-hatred due to poor choices and decisions that have resulted in regrets
- Dissatisfaction and disappointment due to the many unfulfilled desires and unrealistic expectations that come with self-focus
- Oversensitivity and a tendency to take things personally and be insulted by everything
- The harm of those around you, such as loved ones, friends, and family members
- Short-sighted decision-making that winds up messing up your life
- The distancing of those who would have loved and cared about us
When you’re “boring,” you have less interest in hyping yourself up over everything. You don’t focus too much on yourself because you know where your potential is and are happy with being average. You don’t have hang-ups about this and don’t attach your self-esteem to such issues, so you have more positive thinking in the long run!
7. You’re Likely To Have Higher Emotional Intelligence
Many so-called interesting people have high IQ scores. But not only has the importance of IQ been disproven many, many times, it’s also a rather silly thing to focus on overall.
Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, has far greater importance in everyday life. And that’s something that “boring” people have a lot of! That emotional intelligence makes you more reliable, increases your bonds with others, and makes you a better friend and person overall.
On top of that, it can also point to more positive work performance, among other benefits. Some of those benefits include:
- Improved self-regulation
- Higher levels of empathy
- Better abilities in collaborating with others
- Reduced stress
- Better self-awareness
- Higher motivation
- A better social life
- Improved ability to communicate with others
Though the word “boring” has plenty of negative connotations, the truth is that being boring can be an excellent thing in many aspects!
Of course, most people aren’t boring all-around. You’re likely an interesting and unique person with a good personality and areas where you excel, and that’s how the people who truly matter in your life will know you.
So leave the eccentric quirks and risk-taking daredevil tendencies s to others! Being boring in the right ways means being safe and stable in the ways that matter and interesting to those closest to you. It sounds like a win-win to us!