Stop consuming and start creating

Every day we spend countless hours consuming content. We dive deep into the plethora of podcasts, articles, movies, and books as a gateway into the minds of creative influencers. Naturally, questions and ideas flood our minds, leading us to reflect on our values, behaviors, and feelings. What most people never get around to however, is sharing that internal dialogue with others. The consequence of endless streams of content is that many of us overlook the importance of experimentation and creativity. I mean, why share something that’s been talked about hundreds of times over across every medium known?

For those of you who have thought about creating something but decided not to because, “it’s already been done” or “what if people don’t like it”, consider yourselves ahead of the game. You’ve at least realized the importance of content creation… many people don’t even think of it as something they can do, and until quite recently, I was one of them.

For the majority of my life the drive to create and be expressive wasn’t apparent. I often found myself trying to break a routine consisting of little more than work, sleep, and binge watching Netflix. Creativity casually took a back seat behind other less productive, but accessible and enjoyable activities. Part of this was because regardless of the topic I thought to write about, I found hundreds of perspectives that argued both for and against my position, diminishing in my mind the value of my voice. I wasn’t confident that what I’d contribute would provide any additional insight to readers; I was hindered by the all too common fear of rejection.

The reality is that innovative ideas fuel the advancement of societies. Behind all scientific discoveries, shifts in cultural and societal norms, and the development of new technologies, there are curious minds that stumble across ingenious and inspiring questions. These questions combined with unique thoughts have the power to influence change. But how do these creative geniuses do it?

As you can imagine I’ve read a lot of articles around this “how”... One of the first mistakes that I noted about myself was that I’ve lived a lot of my life on autopilot, multitasking through a daily grind. My mind constantly scattered between work, sports, family drama, and my next meal. If I until recently felt stuck in this routine, I imagine many of you are/have been as well.

What we foolishly forget is that creativity like any other skill, needs to be practiced. We need to turn autopilot off and dedicate 100% of our attention to whatever art we’re trying to craft. An ongoing commitment strengthens our creative muscles and trains our subconscious mind to incubate experiences that overtime form ingenious ideas.

The benefits of practicing creativity

Time to Reflect; Whenever I sit down to write or edit photos, I’m awarded the opportunity to reflect on a specific experience. I immerse myself in a moment and effectively relive it, embracing the details and letting the emotions fill my mind and body. This time of pause has helped me better understand myself, and to ask questions like “why did I react that way” or “how can I do X better next time”, which has propelled my growth.

Opportunity to Connect; Sharing something you’ve created requires an intense level of vulnerability, a necessity for building meaningful relationships. Each “product” that you create is a gateway into your life and you never know when an idea of yours will resonate with the audience and lead to an unexpected connection or question. Putting yourself out there without a perpetual fear of rejection is a courageous and rewarding step towards self-fulfillment.

Becoming Open Minded; The time dedicated to an act of creativity requires a natural evaluation of an alternative perspective; ie. why you did something one way over another. A holistic evaluation of the pros/cons of each method widens your scope of thinking. When you’re willing to take the risk and put your ideas into the world you also become more accepting of other’s approaches and learn to appreciate their perspective and methodology.

Time to get started

Next time you catch yourself watching a series of videos on YouTube, I hope that you take a moment to breathe, reflect on what you’ve just consumed, craft a perspective, and then share it with the world! A steady commitment to creating will train the subconscious mind to wander limitlessly and imagine a world that you can then work to create.

Creativity isn’t always about finding an untapped topic, but instead about expressing your perspective and experiences related to that topic. This post is one of my first few attempts at expressing an opinion and documenting my thoughts.

I’ve included a few resources below that have been helpful on my journey and I hope you will enjoy. Thanks for reading!

Resources

Gary Vaynerchuk does a great job of inspiring urgency. He emphasizes the importance of sustained effort in achieving success over the long term. Everyone needs to HUSTLE.

Actualized.org; Leo has great YouTube videos that have helped me reflect on my mindset, emotions, and thoughts, enabling a deeper understanding of underlying motivations.

Shoe Dog; This is the memoir of the Founder of Nike. It kicks off with 24 year old recent graduate, Phil Knight, and highlights his journey to build Nike into the #1 Sports Apparel Brand in the world.

Daring Greatly; Written by Dr. Brené Brown, Daring Greatly shares a transformative new vision for the way we lead, love, work, parent, and educate that teaches us the importance of vulnerability.