Consuming vs Creating

Photo by Juliet Furst on Unsplash

Think about your average day; what percent of the day are you consuming and what percent of the day are you creating? If you’re like most people, it’s probably almost all consuming and very little creating. I believe we should work hard and push ourselves to create more and consume less.

First, let me say that not all consuming is bad — you can learn new things from articles you read, have a big insight from a tweet, or watch a Netflix movie that inspires you. I’m not saying to eliminate consumption completely because not only is that not possible but it will also take away from the things you gain. That being said, even positive consumption can only get you so far. At its best, consuming brings knowledge about the world, whereas creating brings experience. And experience is what really matters. Experience is what allows us to grow, improve, learn, fail or succeed. Without experience and actually trying things, we’ll never truly live up to our potential.

To illustrate this, let’s say a student was interested in becoming an artist. The school they went to offered two classes. The first class taught the students about history’s greatest artists and their works through lectures. The second class had students create their own art; every day they came in and experimented with different tools and techniques. Which class is better for the student to become a great artist? I’d bet the second one — where the students get real experience, real practice, experimentation, the joy of seeing their own creations, the thrill in seeing themselves improve as an artist, and the priceless feedback about their work from friends or family. All of this is invaluable compared to the knowledge gained by studying artists. This is why creating is so important. We gain experience so we can improve, grow and develop our talents. Consuming only gives us the knowledge. And knowledge without application is useless.

So instead of scrolling through Twitter, write an interesting Tweet thread. Instead of reading a New York Times article, write your own blog post on the subject. Instead of ordering food on DoorDash, cook your own food. Instead of learning code by watching a youtube video, build your own tic-tac-toe game. Instead of browsing through Instagram, go out and take some beautiful photos of your town. Instead of flipping through TikTok, create your own funny content. Instead of watching Netflix, take a woodworking or pottery class.

Here’s to creating more in 2021.

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Scott Schindler

Scott Schindler

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