Shut down the consumer mind. Power up the creator mind.

True happiness comes when you stop evaluating, & start participating

David Kadavy
May 28 · 4 min read

Three years ago, I moved from the United States to Colombia. I wanted to cut out distractions, and focus on writing.

I now realize, I wanted to shut down my consumer mind, and activate my creator mind. Making this move from the most consumer-driven culture in the world to the so-called “third world” helped me do just that.

I’m happier when I use my creator mind. I’m less happy when I use my consumer mind.

To my creator mind, I am a part of the world. The world exists so that I can add onto it—so I can create, so I can participate.

To my consumer mind, the world is outside of me. The world exists to give me what I want—so I can consume. I need to evaluate—so I can demand nicer things, better food, and faster service.

My creator mind looks within, and sees how to work with what’s around me. My consumer mind looks outward, and demands someone else gives me what I want.

The consumer mind is a yes, but mind. “Yes, I like these shoes, but I want them in a different shade of gray.” “Yes, this food is good, but the chef used too much salt.”

If I’m not careful, the consumer mind can creep beyond my evaluation of things, and into my evaluation of people. “Yes, I enjoyed my date with her, but she has bad taste in music.”

Beyond that, the consumer mind can pull you from yes, but, to no, no, no. No, I don’t like this that or the other thing. I demand something better. Give it to me.

The creator mind is not a yes, but mind. It’s a yes, and mind. “Yes, I had that thought, and now I’m going to write it down.” “Yes, someone asked me that question, and now I’m going to make it into a podcast episode.”

When the creator mind spreads throughout your life, even problems become opportunities. “Yes, this horrible thing happened, and I can’t wait to see what I learn from the experience.”

The consumer mind is a friend of ego. “It has nothing to do with me,” says the consumer mind. “Someone else messed up. Someone else needs to do better. This package is late. This avocado has a bruise. This barista is too slow.”

Thinking about how someone else can do better is easier than thinking about how you can do better. The more brain power you use thinking about how someone else can improve, the less brain power you have to think about how you can improve.

The ego’s job is to protect us from painful thoughts. The consumer mind distracts us from those thoughts. This is why the consumer mind and the ego are best buds. The consumer mind lets the ego slack off a little bit.

The creator mind is no friend of ego. It’s an enemy of ego. “How can I make this better?,” asks the creator mind. “This is my creation, and I want it to succeed.”

The more brain power you use thinking about how you can improve, the less brain power you have to think about how someone else can improve. The more you work on the tough task of making something, the better you understand when something someone else made isn’t 100% perfect.

When you use your creator mind, you have to push through discomfort. The ego doesn’t like discomfort. The creator mind makes the ego’s job harder.

The next time you catch yourself using your consumer mind, see if you can use your creator mind, instead.

It’s not always a simple as turning a yes, but into a yes, and. Unless it’s “Yes, these shoes are the wrong shade of gray, and I’m not going to think about that anymore.”

Sometimes your consumer mind wants to tell others what to do. Simply by writing it down, you can turn it around to fuel the creator mind. Like Cy Wakeman says:

Do you have advice for others? Write down exactly what you think they should or should not be doing, and enact that advice in your own life.

The best way to shut down your consumer mind is fire up your creator mind. The best way to fire up your creator mind is simply to create something.

When you make a habit of using your creator mind, you cultivate true happiness: The feeling of contentment—the state of having enough. The consumer mind doesn’t understand the concept of enough.

This contentment is the natural product of a mental math problem: What do I have to lose by letting my things take over my thoughts? Wouldn’t I rather use that energy to put something into the world?

If I’m using my consumer mind, I can’t use my creator mind. I choose the creator mind.

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David Kadavy

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"'The Heart to Start' is solid advice from David Kadavy. It's not too late." -Seth Godin. 4x your creative productivity: