Self-Love & Inspiration

Consume Less, Create More

November 3, 2018

“Creating means living.”
Dejan Stojanovic, The Shape

I recently stumbled upon this lovely concept of the ratio of consumption to creation.

Let’s start off with two simple questions. First, think about how much information and input you consume on a daily basis. This can be in the form of Youtube videos, books, magazines, social media, blogs, movies, T.V. shows you watch, music you listen to, etc. How much time do you spend consuming information or entertainment from all these sources?

Now think about how much you create on a daily basis. This can be writing, singing, photography, cooking, DIY projects – basically, something that you put your mental, emotional, and physical resources into, resulting in a tangible output. How much time do you spend creating?

The answer might surprise you a lot!

Most of us spend a proportionally larger amount of time consuming in comparison to creating. There’s a huge problem with this!

Consumption is a very passive activity. It can be mind-numbing and doesn’t elicit many strong emotions. It doesn’t stimulate your brain adequately and it doesn’t require critical thinking or problem-solving skills. Overtime, this type of mindless consumption can cause you to feel demotivated, drained, and tired.

The reason is simple. Our complex brains require active stimulation in order to grow. Many studies have shown the negative effects of passive consumption on our brains.

On the flip side, creating things is a highly active activity! It forces you to think more and stimulates your brain in all sorts of new and interesting ways which then leads to a better and stronger sense of self. Creating things can often be extremely rewarding and give you a great sense of achievement once the final product is in your hands and you can actually see the results of your labor. Creating hones your existing skills while also helping you develop newer and better skills.

Of course, everything isn’t black and white and consumption is not bad. Sometimes, the content you’re consuming can be inspiring and even necessary in order for you to grow and go out and create. For example, if you want to work on a specific project, you might watch a few Youtube videos to gain some inspiration first and it’s an amazing thing that we have all these resources available to us.

This type of consumption is still slightly better because while you’re consuming, first of all, it’s in moderation and secondly, you’re most likely thinking about all the logistics of your own project.

However, it’s when we overdo this that it starts to do more harm than good. Sometimes you momentarily think of something, such as maybe watching a video on how to do a specific yoga pose and then a few hours later, you realize you lost track of time and not so surprisingly, instead of feeling inspired to do yoga, at this point you just feel tired and mentally drained.

The key is to find the right amount of balance with the scale tipped more towards creation.

“Create. Not for the money. Not for the fame. Not for the recognition. But for the pure joy of creating something and sharing it.”
Ernest Barbaric

Also, I want to touch on another point about creativity. A lot of people think creativity is limited to artsy endeavors such as painting or writing a song. This is simply not true. Creativity is present in literally, everything.

Creating something can be as simple as mindfully putting together a cup of coffee from scratch and learning how to make it differently than your usual cup of coffee. It can be doing an hour-long yoga flow where you focus on pushing your body to higher limits by attempting new poses. It can be writing a page in your journal or writing a short story or even a poem.

If you’re a martial artist, it can mean creating a new type of move, or if you’re someone who’s into organization, it can be creating a whole new organizational method or compiling a list of your top organization tips and hacks. Or it could mean planting a tree in your backyard.

The key is to simply focus on using your own unique brand of thoughts and energy and find a way to somehow materialize those qualities into something tangible in the outside world. Whatever form you choose to manifest your creativity into, the end goal is to simply shift the balance from consuming to creating.

If you’re someone that boxes themselves into the non-creative category, make a list of some of the things that you regularly do, and then pick one of the activities and find a way to innovate or improve upon what you’re already capable of.

Also, don’t let the fear of perfection stop you from creating. Whatever you do, it doesn’t have to be perfect. As all things in life, creating is more about the journey itself than anything else. It’s about capturing those amazing feelings we get when we’re busy taking action in our lives. The best part is that whatever you work on, if you do it regularly, you’re going to get better at it eventually anyway.

We are the artists of our lives and it’s up to us to create beautiful things in and around ourselves. So, go out and get creating – big, or small, it really doesn’t matter as long as you’re consuming less than you’re creating.

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