A preacher died and went to heaven, where he noticed that a New York cabbie had been awarded a higher place than he.

"I don't understand," he complained to St. Peter. "I devoted my life to my congregation."

St. Peter explained: "Our policy in heaven is to reward results. Was your congregation well-attuned to you whenever you gave a sermon?"

"Well," the minister had to admit, "some of them fell asleep from time to time."

"Exactly," St. Peter said. "When people rode in this man's taxi, they not only stayed awake -- they even prayed!"

Now, I'm not saying you should drive like a maniac, but there is something to living life to the fullest and not being boring.

Boredom affects everyone. Sadly, it's quite prominent in the workplace, especially for those who perform the same routine job day in and day out. It's the same for people who sit in silence for long periods of time. Boredom makes it tough for people to focus. Boredom weighs you down.

Believe me, this problem affects managers in high-level jobs as well as line workers.

A special-events manager who has a reputation for being the best in the business recently told me she was bored. "Every party looks the same to me," she said. True, I told her -- they look absolutely fabulous. I advised her to take time to share the joy she brings her clients. "I guess I forgot about that part," she said.

A customer-relations vice president encourages his staff to think in terms of how many people they helped that day, rather than how many complaints they dealt with. He knows that employees can get discouraged and bored in that line of work, and he wants them to have every reason to love their jobs.

Folks who are chronically bored miss out on a lot of opportunities. Can you improve your job or performance? Is it time to consider a different job? Or do you need to concentrate more on how your job affects others and less on the pay?

When you can't change your job to eliminate boredom, you have to change your state of mind. You need a shot of stimulation. Give your brain some new challenges, even if they aren't work-related. Changing the way you spend some of your time can cause a domino effect on the rest of your time.

Try these tricks:

Do something you want to do. Go to a movie, a museum or a sports event. Listen to your favorite music. Go out with friends. Go to the mall.

Read something new. Pick a book by an author you've never read or an article that will stimulate your imagination.

Get some exercise. Physical activity will get your blood pumping and stimulate endorphin production, making you feel energetic and happier.

Explore your surroundings. Stop ignoring the sights on your way to work, or at work. Look for something original.

Rearrange your space. Sometimes shifting things around at home or at work can force you to look at your surroundings, and your life, in a new light.

Develop a hobby. You may already have one or two, but if not, find something you enjoy.

Volunteer. Helping others is a great antidote to the blahs. And look at the good you're doing.

Change your routine. Take a different route to work. Start the day with something new. Shake up your day, and interesting things may reveal themselves.

Mackay's Moral: You can't soar if you're a bore.

Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or send e-mail to harvey@mackay.com. His column is distributed by United Feature Syndicate.