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Consuming vs. Creating

So in a previous post, I wrote about how materialism gets ingrained in us from such a young age. We learn to value things, get attached to stuff, and be defined by gadgets

The other day we had a discussion about the new generation…the under-tens who find it really hard to live without their iPads. While I like the fact that technology has made it easier for people to share their creativity with the world, I’m dismayed we still don’t have a culture where kids are encouraged to create more than they consume.

To build a culture where creation supersedes consumption, a lot of traditional rules would need to be broken, the main one being; kids need to be allowed to fail. That means when the kid comes home with a report card with a big red 80%, instead of asking him, “Why not 100?” he needs to be lauded for working at the edge of his comfort zone.

The thing is, consuming is easier than creating. To create, you need the space and time to come up with new ideas, then you need to implement those ideas, and that’s a lot of work. But creating something with your own hands is more fulfilling; it builds your skills and improves your focus. More importantly though, it makes you happier. Have you ever entered the Black Hole of Youtube Videos and emerged three hours later feeling horrible because you have no idea where the time went? I’m not even going to talk about Facebook because I really hate it and am not on it.

So where do we start to build a creating culture?

-Create art; whether it’s photography, writing or painting, the tools are widely available for you to create and share art. The thing I personally love about art is that in its pursuit to inspire awe, it makes us stop and mindfully engage with our surroundings.

-Build stuff; Instructables.com are filled with DIY projects that are cheap and fun to do.

-Create experiences. Travel, go on treasure hunts…

-Destroy. It sounds counter-intuitive but destruction is also a part of creativity. If you’re an artist then you understand the iterative process of creativity. Sometimes you would need to tear up your work and start from scratch. It’s just part of the process.

So a lot of people I meet claim they’re not creative. They’ve entered the school system, found themselves studying engineering or medicine and are working a job that’s pretty much routine, and requires more analytical thinking than creative thinking? Does that mean they should start a side hobby to exercise their creative thinking neurons? What if they had no time?

Never underestimate your knowledge in your field of work. A lot of times people who are buried so deep in a field assume everybody else knows what they know when in reality there is always a segment of people who know less.

A friend of mine wrote a post on how it’s becoming more common for people to become kanjoos (stingy) when it comes to sharing their knowledge with people. The easiest way to share nowadays is to write on your topic of expertise on a self-hosted blog* or your Linkedin profile.

Always look for problems in your lives and think up creative solutions. Thought leader James Altucher famously writes about exercising your idea muscles by coming up with ten ideas every day. They might be stupid ideas and not really practical but they have to be themed and they have to be ten (since coming up with new ideas get harder after the seventh one usually). Whether you do something about those ideas or not is irrelevant (though from experience I must say sometimes you become so obsessed with an idea that you can’t relax until you’ve done something about it). You could doodle your solutions in your notebook and keep them so one day they become as famous as Da Vinci’s notebooks.

Or not.

Quote by AJ Leon; Go make something, and when you’re finished, take a deep breath and do it again. The world needs you.

P.S. *Hostgator is a simple tool to start your own self-hosted blog, and if you decide to start your own blog there, use the promo code; AHSCRIBE for a discount.

Published inCreativityEducationPersonal DevelopmentQuarter-life crisis