We’ve got another aggressive blog post today. Being somewhat related to yesterday’s topic of developing the courage to see the truth rather than endlessly searching for it, I’d like to talk about creating vs consuming.
It’s an interesting topic. Think about all the people you look up to. Tony Robbins, Michael Jackson, Steve Jobs, whoever. What do they have in common? They’re producers much more so than consumers.
We idealize people for the things they create, but for some reason we’re afraid to create things ourselves. Why? Consumption is effortless. Websites like Youtube, and Reddit have been designed to be highly stimulating and provide instant gratification. I’m sure all of us have had days wasted watching random videos, or if you’re like me reading dozens of personal development blog posts.
How many days though have you spent 10+ hours producing creative works? Exactly. The longest I’ve ever written was 7 or 8 hours straight and I’m more than half-a-year into this blogging business.
I’m pretty sure most people couldn’t even sit down for the hour or two I write everyday. Why is that? Perhaps they’re just trying to express themselves via the wrong medium. If you’re more comfortable expressing your ideas through music than public speaking then there’s nothing wrong with that.
If you’re not producing anything right now via any medium, however, what I’d suggest is that you’ve merely allowed your creative muscles to atrophy. Similar to our physical bodies our creative muscles need consistent exercise. If we don’t exert ourselves we become weak.
Each day I go without writing a blog post it gets a little more difficult to write until it eventually gets to the point of being seemingly impossible after a week or two. Once I force myself to sit down and write however, my creative muscles quickly begin to develop again.
(If you do this enough you’re bound to create something epic.)
What If My Creative Muscles Are Dead?
A couple paragraphs ago I mentioned that it seems almost impossible for me to produce anything after a week or two without writing a blog post. It seems logical to argue then that after months, or years without creating anything it actually becomes impossible to do so.
I would say you’re right. Well, at least to some degree. Your muscles never die, but if you’ve gone a long time without producing, or have never produced anything before than it will likely seem like your creative muscles don’t even exist. What do you do at this point?
You create anyway. When I first started writing I sucked at it. I’ve been told I’m a fairly decent writer at this point, but back when I first started writing blog posts I sucked. Almost every single one of my posts ended up being a 200 word pithy article simply rehashing what other people had already said. You know what I did though? I accepted it, and kept writing.
When you first start with writing, video editing, music, etc. you’re probably going to suck. Some of us start sucking worse than others, but all of us who stick to the creation process look back on our first works one day and marvel at the improvement.
The people who end up sticking with it also realize something. It’s ok to suck. As long as you’re doing your best and working towards improvement there’s nothing more you can ask of yourself. There’s no reason to get your ego attached to your work. Don’t focus on improvement as a means to an end either.
I know I’m not the greatest writer in the world, but I know that by writing everyday I’m improving and that I’m learning more about myself and helping others in the process. In fact, I’m expecting over 1,000 visitors this month to cameronchardukian.com Talk about a win/win/win.
I also know that at this point I’m not even a mediocre rapper. I suck and I know it, but I’m having the time of my life anyway. I’m really enjoying the spontaneity of freestyling and my rhymes are significantly better than even a week ago.
The point that I’m trying to get across is that you’re going to suck initially, but as long as you pick the right medium (and if you don’t it’s no biggy, just switch when you realize it) then you’ll derive fulfillment from the process of creating and competence will soon follow.
Why Would I Want To Create Things?
- As I alluded to before, creating things will position you as an authority in your field. Being an authority in your given field is beneficial because it’ll open you up to a lot of new opportunities and experiences.
- Creating things is also a great tool for self-expression. We all have a need to express ourselves and feel understood. Writing, painting, and singing are great ways to do that.
- It gives you a body of work. Sometimes we think of this as something to look back on at the end of your life, but having hundreds of blog posts, or interesting Youtube videos will also help you find work as well as provide a great topic for discussion.
- Finally, producing things for the world is probably the best way to make it a better place. If you write a song about dealing with your lover breaking up with you there’s a good chance someone will be able to relate, and your song may even help them recover. If you write a book about healthy dieting, you’ll likely be able to help LOTS of people out. The best part of this is that it’s completely scaleable as well. As a personal trainer you can only be at one place at a time and over the course of a year you may only be able to help 100 people. If you write a book about the basics of exercising, however, you may be able to help thousands, or even MILLIONS of people for years to come.
I’d highly encourage you to get started with becoming a creator today. It may take more effort than consuming, but I truly believe the act of self-expression and creation brings us to life, and I think you’ll derive much more fulfillment from this path.
Because of school starting up again I’m strapped for time and am experimenting with speed writing. I think this post turned out pretty good, but let me know if you think otherwise. I’ve never tried deliberately writing faster before, but I was able to get over 1,000 words in an hour edited, proofread and everything. Sweet stuff!
(Picture of me is from Spanish class a couple months ago. Finally a 2013 picture of me!)
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