The Path from Consumption to Creation — A reflection
At the start of summer, the idea of starting a blog to share thoughts with my peers waltzed through my mind. With very little thoughts of committing, I started reading Medium articles by the dozen. At the time, I couldn’t feasibly picture myself coming up with enough topics to sustain a blog for an entire summer, much less for the long term. However, in my decidedly noncommittal readings, I came across Stop Consuming and Start Creating by Isaac Morehouse. Ironically, or by the result of someone churning through a hundred articles and finding no takeaway value, an article about creating something was the one that stuck. I’ve always treaded in an impasse where the idea that listening to podcasts and news would make me a better person, only to be rudely awakened with the realization that I wasn’t different in any ground-breaking way at the end of it all.
I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind that “self-improvement” just wasn’t happening anymore, and it was time to try something new. It ended up boiling down to one question.
“What if I turned everything I used to consume into something I create?”
The result of this one single question led to:
A lot of the items on the “creation” side of the above list previously lived on an abstract laundry list of “things I want to try out but know that I’ll never actually get around to”. For example, I’ve been casually following Korean shows and articles for 6 years and only really self-taught how to read the characters. When I tried translating Korean to English for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I’d picked up without knowing. It’s hard for me to learn something that I can’t attach a tangible purpose for, so it ends up being something that “would be nice to know”, but always brushed aside. Instead, by thinking about learning Korean as a bridge to translating and sharing information with others who didn’t know the language, it strongly motivated me to solidify my Korean skills. Another important factor in trying something new is surrounding yourself with the right support system. I was able to learn from others who shared the same interests as me, which made learning a new language a social and immersive environment.
In your own life, consumption to creation happens unconsciously. Posting a picture of the food you’re eating on Instagram, or reading a recipe book and making it into a meal with your friends are all ways we create and share in our daily lives. I genuinely believe that all it takes is a slight shift of mindset to make creation a conscious effort. This is as easy as making a travel video after travelling, or writing a review on a movie you recently watched. Before, I would speak to a professional or read an insightful blog post and think “I got a lot out of that”, and then completely forget about it in a few days. Our memories don’t offer the luxury of unlimited storage and retrieval, so creating something out of what you consume gives it greater significance, increasing the likelihood of retaining and appreciating knowledge and ideas.
Finally, a key motivator for me to create is to share with others in ways that are helpful to them. When I write original works and get comments saying that my uploading of a new chapter makes the readers’ days better, it instills the empowerment that I’m doing something worthwhile. While I absolutely respect people who create things to keep to themselves, I think sharing it with others adds an additional layer of purpose. Maybe it is validation that my ideas are worth being heard, or maybe I find my perspective broadened with every response that is bounced back at me. At the end of the day, every little creation creates a dent, and the dents we create in our lifetimes can create something worth leaving behind.
Maybe the idea of creating something doesn’t inspire you, but put a meaning behind something you want to accomplish and it could be the single driving force to get it done. When you put an item on your bucket list, it’s likely with the mindset that it might never happen. Take any of those one items and instead consider the steps that will get you there. Who knows, it might be the initial rough sketch, the first non-committal read, that sets you off on your next journey.