Consumption without Creation

How much do you read or watch each day? What do you consume? Are you in control? Are you deciding what to read and watch? I know I sometimes don’t. I know it’s often hard. We are bombarded with new content. New articles to read. New videos to watch. New social media posts to like. But is it beneficial?

“Create More; Consume Less.”
~ The Minimalists

I thought about this while writing the Motivation Amnesia article. Consuming more is one of the main procrastination activities for me. Consuming books. Watching videos. Reading more articles. Sometimes for inspiration or to collect more knowledge. And also because I subscribed to someone and just want to know what’s going on. But I don’t want this to take control.

Many things are wrong with this. For a start: it’s holding me back. I am hiding behind the idea that I need to consume more. But to change anything, I have to be active. I have to do the work.

“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”
~ Amelia Earhart

Also the argument of collecting more knowledge? Who are you kidding? You really don’t know how to do the task at hand? Or are you fooling yourself? I know I am guilty of researching more than I should.

And now, it’s not only the books and videos we can watch. The content platforms on which these things are designed to keep us there for as long as possible. Looking at Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. It’s all about how long a user stays on the site. So they specialize in triggering us to scroll one more story. And another - then I will work again. Oh and one more, why not.

I mentioned one way to get rid of this problem in my article about Motivation Amnesia. Download the things you want to read or watch instead of watching them right this moment. This way there are no “related videos” or “you might also like”s.

To cut out social media and similar even more, I remove the apps from my phone12. I also disabled almost all notifications. And sometimes, I decide not to watch the latest episode of the newest series. It’s about taking control back.

As a content creator, I am facing an interesting problem here. In a way, it’s an oxymoron. Create more and at the same time advocate to consume less, to go outside, to spend more time building. But at the same time, I publish: videos on YouTube, articles on this Blog, and my photos on Instagram.

But on top of this challenge, there is one more struggle I am rethinking. A struggle many content creators go through. It’s the creative conflict to value your work enough to put it out online. To have people see you, to open yourself to criticism, and stand firm when critics hits.3

The way I am trying to overcome this? I am still learning that there are humans out there who will learn from my videos or articles. It might be the right timing. Maybe the information others provide is harder to find. Or my voice is easier to listen to than someone else’s. Some may like the way I write. Or find my video style enjoyable. And I have to remind myself, that: At some point, I could be the creator of that motivational someone watches over and over again. And, in the end, I can only hope that this article will inspire someone to create more as well.

It’s the struggle of the creative. To appreciate what you created. To put it out there anyway. And to know that somehow my text or video will be valuable information for some, inspirational for others and entertaining for the rest. 4

“Expect Less; Appreciate More” 5

That said: go out there. Stop reading and watching. Pick up the pen and start writing (or start typing if you are like me). Go out there and shoot some photos. The news will be there later as well. You don’t have to read them all. Relax. Breathe. Create. Publish. Repeat.

  1. Removing the social apps from my phone has helped. Now I still can access them, if I have to, with the browser. But I am so much more likely not to go in there. The only social network I have on my iPhone is Instagram. And some chat apps. ↩︎

  2. In the case of Facebook, you can install an extension called “Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator (only available for Google Chrome) to prevent the news feed from consuming all your time. ↩︎

  3. Interestingly, the feedback I got from the articles I have published so far has been impressively positive. Thanks! ↩︎

  4. I also like the idea that I should create for myself. I should write the articles that clarify something for me. And that’s also the main reason I started this blog. To put in the work, to think and write about these topics in depth. ↩︎

  5. I am missing the attribution for this quote. If you know the origin, please contact me. ↩︎