Consumption is stopping you from creating your dreams.
Sitting down and watching TV, playing games, and reading too many books sabotages your chances of reaching your goals and adding to the world.
If you want to successfully chase down your dreams, if you’re going to make that game, write that book, or start that gaming blog, you need to stop consuming so much and start creating.
But how and why should you stop consuming and start creating?
In this article, I’ll explore why consumption is holding you back from the life that you deserve. I’ll touch on several ideas, including:
- What is consumption?
- What is creation, and how does it differ from consumption?
- Why do we consume more than we create?
- Why should you start creating and stop consuming?
- How to consume less and make more?
I’ve got a lot of exciting topics to cover in this article. Let’s kick it off by exploring what consumption is.
What is consumption?
In this section, I want to quickly define what consumption is.
Consumption is when we experience something that has been created by another person or entity. You are just absorbing the experience passively instead of actively participating in creating something.
Things you consume would still exist whether you decide to consume them or not. Things that are consumed were created by other people. And these creations live outside of you, beyond you. Their existence is not dependent on you.
Here are some examples of consumption:
- Watching a movie
- Listening to music
- Playing games
- Watching sports
- Reading books
- Going to the cinema
- Playing board games
- Absorbing social media
As you can see, consumption is all about experiencing things where you are not actively participating in the creation of something new.
You don’t learn anything. You don’t create anything.
Consumption also often involves repeatedly spending to consume instead of making money from creating something.
- Spending $10 every time you want to consume a movie.
- Spending $10 to subscribe to music.
- Spending $70 every time you want to experience a new game.
- Spending $50 to watch a sports game.
The list goes on.
The issue is that consuming anything doesn’t bring you closer to your real dreams. Consuming doesn’t bring you closer to a happier and more fulfilled life.
Watching more TV won’t get you closer to becoming a TV star. But practicing your acting and making YouTube videos might.
Playing games won’t help you make a million-selling game. But downloading Unreal Engine Five and making a demo game might.
Reading more gaming blogs won’t help you write on your own gaming blogs. But sitting down every day to write 1000 words might.
Creation is at the heart of happiness and dream fulfillment.
In this section, we learned that consumption is when we experience something that has been created by another person or entity without actively participating in creation.
In the next section, I want to answer what creation is.
What is creation?
In the last section, I defined consumption and why it can negatively affect your life.
In this section, I want to quickly define what creation is.
Creation is when we experience the act of making something new ourselves. When we add something new to the universe that, before we took action, did not exist. You actively participate in the production of the new thing.
Here are some examples of creation:
- Writing a novel
- writing and creating music
- Making a video game
- Making a blog
- Designing an app
- Making a board game
- Create muscles and a six-pack
- Create more meaningful relationships
- Create winning experiences
The list goes on.
The point is: You are creating something instead of consuming something.
As a creator, you can decide what reality you want to experience by creating it. I know that sounds a little crazy. But it’s true. Think about it, if you want to experience a reality where you are a Superstar YouTube gamer, you need to create that reality by creating gaming content. You are making a new reality for yourself.
You can’t consume your way to stardom. You can’t watch 50 YouTube gaming videos daily to become a YouTube sensation. You must create if you want to reach your goals and live the dreams that play on repeat in your mind.
You can create a reality where you are rich, healthy, and surrounded by happy friends. You can create a reality where you are free to follow your dreams. You can create a reality where you are an expert in your field. You can create a reality where you are a leader. You can create a reality where you’re the master of your life. Just get out there and start making, start creating the life that you want.
In this section, we learned that the act of creation is the changing of reality. That you are making something that did not exist in the universe before you took part in creating it.
In the next section, we’ll examine why we consume more than we create.
Why do we consume more than we create?
In the last section, we talked about what creation is and how it’s the act of changing your reality by creating something that didn’t exist before.
In this section, I want to examine why we consume instead of create.
The reasons why we don’t create are numerous and varied. But from my experience, these are some main reasons why we choose to consume and reject creating.
Consuming is easier
It’s much easier to consume something than it is to create something. It takes much less energy to look at a painting somebody else painted than to actually go out, buy paint and brushes and canvas, and paint the painting ourselves.
And that’s not to mention all the skills and years of experience you need to acquire.
It’s simply much easier to sit on the couch and watch TV than to write a script and make a TV show.
Consuming feeds short-term thinking.
Consuming is like a drug; every time we watch a YouTube short or an episode of Stranger Things, we get a small injection of the happy hormone dopamine into our system. We feel delighted we’ve consumed and therefore consume more. This feeds destructive short-term thinking and erodes the long-term thinking needed for creation.
We fear that we are not good enough to create
We don’t create because we fear we are not good enough. I’ve suffered from this for a long time. While studying game design at university, I refused to sketch anything.
I would come out with many excuses: I don’t like pencils. Sketching is worthless. I’d rather write my thoughts down.
But the truth was I was afraid. I feared that my sketches would be awful and that I would be judged.
When we first set off on the creative journey, we all fear failure, rejection, and judgment. But we must push through these rough seas to calmer waters.
You’ve grown out of creativity.
A lot of adults simply grow out of the habit of creation. We are told, often at a young age, that a creative career will lead to financial hardship. So teachers and parents slowly push pupils and children in less creative directions.
That child will then grow into an adult that believes that creation is something that leads to failure and poverty.
Yet that couldn’t be further from the truth. Every single product you consume has been created. Not by just one creative person, but by teams of creative people.
In the 21st century, creativity pays. And it pays very well.
In this section, we looked at why people choose to consume instead of choosing to create.
In the following section, I’ll look at some reasons why you should choose to create more instead of consuming.
Why should you start creating and stop consuming?
In the last section, I explored some reasons why people spend more time consuming instead of creating.
In this section, I want to move forward and look at some of the reasons you should start creating.
All forms of value are created.
In our world, all forms of real value are created.
That mobile phone you are using right now was developed and created by vast teams of creatives.
That car you used to drive to work, the plane you flew in the Bahamas, the book you read, and the pencil you used to sketch that drawing of your cat were all created.
All products throughout the world, all the value, were created into existence, not consumed into existence.
So, to create real value, you need to stop consuming and start creating.
Consuming less gives you more time to create.
The most straightforward reason you should stop consuming is that it gives you more time to create.
Creating helps you reach your goals.
Like many of us, I dreamed of developing a business that would let me make lots of money and be my own boss. The dream of creating my own blog flooded my head for many years before I took action, hauled anchor, and set sail on the journey of creation.
It taught me one valuable lesson: If you want to improve your life, take control of what you can create and start creating as much as your energy levels allow. The one and only thing that can change your life, outside of the luck of winning the lottery, is starting to create.
In this section, you learned several reasons to stop consuming as much and start creating.
In the next and final section, you’ll learn some simple ways to start creating more.
Easy ways to replace consuming with creation
In the last section, you learned why you should stop consuming and start creating more.
In this final section, I want to explore some helpful methods I developed over the years to help me create more. I think they can help you make more, too. Let’s take a look.
Do what you consume
The first and simplest way to start creating more is to do the thing that you consume a lot. Now, what do I mean by that? Well, basically, all you have to do is look at the things you currently enjoy consuming, for example, playing games, and then figure out how to create what you consume.
In this case, you would learn how to create games. You can apply this method to pretty much anything you consume.
Use consumption to develop new ideas.
This is one of my favorite ways to increase my creativity and decrease my consumption.
Whenever I sit down to consume something, such as a game, I write notes about problems I face or my opinions on gameplay, graphics, and design.
Later, I will write an article and create videos to express my thoughts.
For example, after playing a game, I might write a review about that game. So I’m turning the act of consumption into the act of creation.
You can do this with pretty much any form of consumption.
If you go to your local restaurant, take some mental notes, and then write a review about the restaurant when you get home.
Find new creative hobbies to replace consumption.
A simple method of adding more creativity to your life is replacing consumption with creation hobbies. For example, if you like to sit down and read a lot, replace that reading with writing. If you like to watch many YouTube videos, replace that hobby with one where you create lots of videos.
Any consumption hobby can be replaced with a creation hobby.
Start your new creative habit small.
The final piece of advice I can give you about creating more is to start small.
Most people, especially in the western world, make the mistake of jumping feet first into a new creative hobby. They’ll try to spend three or four hours a day creating.
Dedicating this much time to creating when you haven’t for most of your life sounds great. But, the problem is the human body doesn’t like change. And we tend to push against any significant change we try to create ourselves. This often leads our fledgling habit of creation to fail.
I recommend that you start really small.
If your goal is to start the creative habit of drawing, start by drawing for 10 seconds. I know that sounds incredibly insignificant. How can you turn yourself into creative if you’re only drawing for 10 seconds? Well, the point is that you’re starting to build a habit in the smallest but easiest way possible, so it doesn’t trigger your fear of change.
You can then add 10 seconds to your habit of drawing every day. So on day two, you may draw for 20 seconds. On day three, you may draw for 30 seconds, and so on.
Adding 10 extra seconds every day may not sound like a lot. But after about 360 days, you will draw for one hour daily. And you’ll have a concrete habit of creation in your life.
In this section, you learned practical, actionable methods to get more creative in your life. But the best approach to welcoming more creativity into your life is to start small.
I’ve talked a lot about creativity and consumption in this article. And I’ve probably covered more points and ideas than anybody could be expected to remember in one go. Therefore, I’ve included a bullet point list of all the major topics covered in this article.
Let’s take a look:
- Consumption is when you passively experience something that has been created by another person or entity.
- Creation is when we experience the act of creating something new ourselves. When we add something new to the universe that, before we took action, did not exist.
- We consume more than we create because consumption is easier, creation is challenging, we’ve grown out of creation, and we fear we are not good enough.
- You should start creating because all forms of value are created, not consumed, and you can only reach your goals by making the reality you desire.
- You can start creating more by turning your hobby of consumption into creation, using consumption as a springboard for creation, and starting small to overcome your fear of creation.