it is really hard to consume and create at the same time
We are meant to be both creators and consumers. Today, however, most people consume far more then they create. Part of the reason for this is because being both a consumer and a creator at the same time is very difficult, and because goods and services have never been more accessible. But a healthy life is one that balances both creation and consumption.
Consumers vs. Creators
When you consume you are often appreciating other’s work. You eat, watch movies, visit nice places, read books, and party. You vegetate to the sounds of your favorite musical artist on a wonderful couch while surfing Facebook on your beautifully designed laptop.
Creators do just the opposite: they strive to make something that others (or their future self) will appreciate. Creators toil, try different things, fail, and try again.
People were Born to Create
People need to create and they need to have a creative outlet. Creating things lets us use our imagination, add value, provide a sense of accomplishment and ownership, and is both rewarding and satisfying.
This is why children enjoy drawing, painting, and making arts and crafts so much. This is also the reason why people in start-ups are generally much happier than people at large institutions – smaller companies give people the freedom to create and have fewer restrictions.
There is nothing more satisfying than creating something. In fact, the fastest way to kill someone’s soul is to subject them to a life where they can no longer create. But because of our natural tendencies to be creators, this is hard to do: even in the Soviet gulags and Nazi death camps, prisoners found ways to remain hopeful by making intricate designs in their imagination.
In general, creating things tends to be more rewarding than consuming things:
Writing beats reading.
Painting beats viewing.
Giving beats receiving.
Playing beats being a spectator.
Composing beats viewing.
Trying (and failing) beats complaining.
Cooking beats eating.
Lending beats borrowing.
Coding beats pretty much everything.
Yes, creating beats consuming.
The greatest threat to our creative nature is ourselves. Today, many people are intentionally compromising creation by living lives focused on consumption. This is because it is so much easier to consume in today’s world than in the past: wonderful goods, services, and experiences are so readily available. This does not bode well for society’s long-term outlook and my guess is that few things can be worse for your physical and mental health.
This is not to say that consuming isn’t important. It is. Consumption and appreciation play a central role in our lives. But most people need a diet of more creation and less consumption.
Here are some simple tips to help fight the move towards an even greater consumption-oriented society.
How to Create More:
Think of things you would like to create – Instead of focusing on what you are going to consume, focus on what you want to create. You will be much more likely to follow through with something if you are passionate about it and/or have been meaning to do for a while.
2. Start with small creation goals – Setting small goals can help break-in your creativity engine and to build momentum. This can include painting a wall, trying to cook a new dish, setting up a website, starting a blog, writing a story, and more. Don’t worry if the end result is not perfect, the idea is just to start creating.
3. Consume Less – Because we are programmed to either consume or create within any given timeframe, consuming less will actually help you create more. But instead of consuming less immediately, set realistic and manageable goals to cut back on consumption. If you are going to spend money on luxury, I would suggest you focus on things that buy you time rather than getting yourself more stuff.
4. Surround yourself with creators – Perhaps one of the most effective ways of becoming more of a creator is to seek out and surround yourself with other creators. By doing so, you will talk about creating more often, get more ideas for creations, and have a reinforcing support circle.