Creation Vs Consumption: Finding the Perfect Balance

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Consumption and Creation are the Base of Everything We Do

We need a balance of creation vs consumption in our lives to be happy & successful. This balance should be 60% Creation, 40% Consumption. Creation leads to real accomplishments. Consumption is necessary in the process of creation. But consumption should never be the goal itself.


Why Consume?

Creation cannot exist without consumption. However, creation will not occur if we consume 100% of the time. We create, to make things better. To improve upon what already exists. To give our unique take on something. To create something new. To create something customized.

But you need to know what is already out there first. You need to know the weaknesses. What is lacking. The competition. What makes something great? What makes something not great? What you should copy. And what you shouldn’t. This is why we consume.

Every writing reference book I’ve read recommends reading reading reading reading reading everything. Read poetry, journals, periodicals, non-fiction, fiction, reference, memoirs, all genres. Regardless of what you want to write. Just read everything.

We need a base. We need ideas. We need inspiration. We need to find our passion. We need to disagree with something and write a counterargument. We need to agree with something and write a clearer argument. We need to get mad or fall in love.

Examples of things we consume:

  • Food we didn’t make
  • Media (TV/Movies/Books)
  • Products & Services
  • Internet (Wikipedia/Blogs/Forums/Social Media)

Why Create?

Doing nothing but consumption can be boring. It isn’t challenging. It doesn’t stimulate our critical thinking. While consumption can get us thinking. Too much is overload. Too much consumption and we lose our energy. We lose our motivation to create.

We get sucked into thoughts that “this is the best”. We surround ourselves thinking about one tv show, book series, or movie. We consume more and more information about this interest. Instead of creating a new show, series, or movie. Why make something when someone has already done it for us? We grow lethargic.

Creating keeps our mind fresh. It keeps us on our toes. It keeps us learning. Motivated. Accomplishing tasks and goals feels good.

Goals can only be accomplished by creation. These accomplishments directly lead to success.

It makes us feel we are worth something. Even merely writing your opinion in a product review is creating something. Because creation is a process. You do not just learn how to create one thing. You experience an entire process by creating.

After consuming a movie, you might say “I loved it!” And if someone asked you why you loved it, you would shrug and say “I don’t know, but it was really good.” And why was it really good? “I don’t know, it just was.” That is consumption.

But now, let’s actually write a fully thought-out opinion on what you loved about the movie. The characters? The soundtrack? The setting? The time period? Do you love all movies set in that time period? Is it because you love history? You thought the story was historically accurate? That is creation.

And in that process you may realize some aspects of your own preferences you hadn’t thought about before. Our opinions are more than simply love/hate. We are more complex than that.

Examples of things we create:

  • Energy by working out (races, bike rides, bootcamps)
  • Meals (customized to our preference, for friends, dinner party)
  • Stories (via blogs, forums, social media, long-form, video, audio)
  • Friendships/relationships (by maintenance and putting ourselves out there to meet new friends)
  • Opinions (reviews, editorials)

Create One Thing A Day

Often times, you may find yourself just staring at your mobile device. Or staring at your laptop. You’re bored. And are waiting for something new to appear for you to consume. You refresh all your social media accounts. Nothing new for consumption. You go over to Wikipedia and consume. You’re just sitting at your screen consuming for a long while.Fine, that’s okay. But an alternative to waiting for something to happen to you, is to create. Just start writing. Or recording. Or drawing. Draw a re-enactment of that Wikipedia article. Write a story set in the same time period. Write a blog post sharing this information.

Instead of just researching recipes, actually make one. What’s the worse than can happen? Throw it away and order pizza.

Creation is scary. It can be a risk. It is personal. It is putting ourselves out there. It can fail. Or it can succeed.

Consumption just is. It doesn’t result in an active accomplishment. Consumption-based goals are not accomplishments. You can’t fail at consuming something. Or succeed. It’s not scary. It’s not a risk. It is the safe route. Reading 50 books in a year is easy. Writing one is scary.


Keep That 60/40 Balance, Focused on Creation

I recommend a general 60% Creation 40% Consumption balance in our lives. Because there are times we will want to create create create. We will want to write all the stories, or blog posts. Speak at all the conferences. And make all the meals. But we can’t forget to consume. Because consumption, at 40%, keeps us on our toes. It keeps us learning. And then we can create to share this information. Or to make it better.

Finding our personal balance between creation vs conusumption directly correlates to happiness. Even in failure, our lives are happier when we are creating. And producing anything brings us closer to our goals and to success.

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If you have thoughts on this and would like to discuss please use Twitter or send me an email.