We Need to Create More and Consume Less

Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash

We live in a consumer society. Eat more, watch more, read more, buy more. More, more, more.

Consumerism has become the staple of our livelihoods. Think of a typical day: consume breakfast, consume the news, consume your favorite streaming show. We consume so much; we are referred to by businesses as consumers.

Are we human anymore?

This begs the question — where is there room for creation? We spend so much time consuming; there isn’t enough emphasis on creation.

Unfavorable “Creative to Consumption” Ratio

In the current season of The Bachelor, one man must decide his soul mate among 32 women. For every one man, there are 32 women— a ratio of 1:32.

This is what we like to call an unfavorable ratio.

The ratio seen on The Bachelor isn’t so different from our consumption to creation ratio. We spend a lot more time consuming than we do creating. In fact, some of us don’t create at all. Our lives may resemble 32 women and no man.

Is 0:32 even a ratio?

One goes through life only consuming. But here’s a thought; almost everything you consume was created by somebody else. Much of what we take for granted wouldn’t be possible without the creative motive of others.

The delicious bowl of pasta. The catchy song on your Spotify playlist. The device you’re using to read these words.

People had to hold off on consuming content to sit down and create something of their own.

Favorable “Creative to Consumption” Ratio

As mentioned earlier, we are all heavy consumers. Read this article, buy that smartphone, eat these cookies.

There’s no escaping the allures of consumption, but even with a little effort, we can allocate a small piece of our time to creating something new.

Instead of reading all day, write something others will read. Instead of eating what others cook, throw some food together for you and your family. Instead of listening to music, string a few beats together yourself. Instead of buying Apple products, create your own technological empire (this last one may take a bit longer to accomplish.)

The opportunities to create are endless.

Consume to Create

It may appear I’m opposed to conspicuous consumption. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s great to enjoy the fruits of other people’s labor. I’m all for a lazy afternoon consisting of food deliveries, streaming shows, and reading.

But there’s a reason to consume other than for sheer enjoyment. We always have something to learn. Consume to inspire action of your own. Consume to launch a creative mindset. Consume with the motivation to create.

All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original — Austin Kleon

Take what you’ve consumed to motivate action. Piece together your greatest influences and make them your own. That’s the heart of all creation. But remember to credit those that came before you.

Humans weren’t put on this planet to consume mindlessly. Before advanced civilization, our ancestors were expected to create everything themselves.

We need to get back to previous times. And by previous times, I don’t mean a hunter-gatherer society. What I mean is sitting down and creating something yourself.

True fulfillment arises through creation. Food always seems to taste better when you make it yourself. The same goes for everything else we create.

Now go out and make something. Create what others will consume.

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