From Consumer to Creator: Why You Should Create Stuff?
There is a saying that states,”If you want something done, do it yourself”. Nowadays, though, the saying is a bit modified: “If you want something, you just need to go to the nearest mall and buy it.” There is rarely something that’s not created. At least that’s how most people think.
As the world is getting “smarter,” people are becoming more and more unwilling to work and exhaust their mental and intellectual energy if they want to get something or achieve something.1
You no longer have to remember years, dates, important calls, meetings, or stuff in general. You have Google and a well-arranged system of notification to serve you and remind you to buy your wife flowers, and/or to pick your kids from kindergarten.
Writing on paper has become obsolete, along with payphones, newspapers, and print maps. Though navigating around a foreign country is 100% better with apps like Google Maps, there is a growing tendency to rely more on machines than on our brains. We depend so much on the devices we use nowadays – from which route we should take, to even who we should date – that we stall when we need to make a simple calculation.
At first glance, you might think that there is nothing wrong with consuming stuff in general. That you should definitely enjoy what’s already created and take advantage of the abundance of software/hardware that’s designed to make our lives easier. Yet, this growing trend to solely consume can lead to some nasty side effects.
Here are a few:
The Consumer’s Mindset
In essence, consuming means using things that are already created. You don’t have to additionally contribute to an item in order to take advantage of its qualities. For example, when you buy a meal from the local restaurant, you don’t do anything additional to extract the nutrients inside that will feed your body and keep you going. Except, of course, chewing plus later throwing your trash in the designated places, which sadly doesn’t happen so often.
After the industrial revolution, folks started to consume more than before because companies were able to produce faster and better products. People started to enjoy better qualities of products and there was a huge uprise in the distribution of wealth.
Thanks to these new developments, our lives became busier.
That’s why, nowadays, you won’t see a lot of people growing their own plans and later preparing their own meals because it doesn’t make a lot of sense now in the current world. There are markets all over our towns where you can buy fresh food. On top of that, there are hundreds of apps available that will deliver food right to your doorstep.
Even if you’re not considerably well off, you can have plenty of food on your plate. Access to modern entertainment. Cool gadgets in your pocket and a nice vehicle parked in your garage.
Before, a typical day of the average person involved planting your own veggies and later harnessing them. This process took hours a day. Now you can order a six-pack of burritos online and enjoy them while doing something else – choosing what else to buy, for example, or watching a Netflix documentary.
Thanks to the applied innovations in all the different industries throughout the years, we can now live a life that’s probably 500% better than the lifestyle royalties had just 100 years ago. The average person has access to electricity, fresh water, 24/7 entertainment system (i.e. TV and the Internet), nice-looking warm clothes and shoes, an occasional vacation to a foreign country, a big apartment, a vehicle, an abundance of food.
So far, consuming sounds super cool. Cheap tasty food, cool gadgets, online affairs, a lot of free time for the mind-blowing entertainment systems that send strong signals to our brains and make us feel extremely good while seated on our couch. Yet, there are two major downsides emerging from all of this comfort:
We don’t really appreciate what we have: We abuse our belongings and we take everything for granted: we smash our items, throw them, don’t use them properly simply because we have plenty. Things are just things for us – as absurd as it sounds. We don’t know, and care, how long it took for someone to create something. That’s why we don’t really value what we have and we keep wanting more of what we don’t have. As the years go by, this indifferent act transmits to other sections of our lives. From not appreciating things, we start to not appreciate all other living creatures if they don’t bring any immediate value.
Our capacity to accept or tolerate delay is getting slimmer: Since we can have everything in the world – as long as we have the money – in a matter of days, sometimes even faster, we don’t really accept any sort of delay. We want things now! We want entertainment now! That’s why we feel sad when we haven’t purchased something new for a while. And that’s also the reason we spend hours online, waiting for a new post or a new comment to appear – so we can consume it.
Because of these emerging trends, and the lack of time to process everything, our way of thinking becomes shallow. We rarely think deep enough about what causes things to happen. We observe products – and also people – only from the outside. Never thinking about what’s behind them, what’s inside them.
This type of thinking leads to a weak character in the long-term. We start desiring things to happen rather easy in life and we tend to take the path of the least resistance – constantly pursuing quick wins becomes the norm.
The alternative to this never-ending desire for more is the creator’s mindset.
Today, consumption is emphasized, not preservation, and buying has become “throw-away” buying. Whether the object one buys is a car, a dress, a gadget, after using it for some time, one gets tired of it and is eager to dispose of the “old” and buy the latest model.” Erich Fromm
The Creator’s Mindset
The word creator sounds a bit pompous. I bit pretentious. Most people think that a creator can be only someone who can pain pictures as good as Picasso’s. Create an app that can compete with Facebook and Spotify. Craft a chair that will somehow walk alongside you and help you rest in the middle of the desert.
That’s why, most people don’t consider themselves creators. Most, actually, don’t even consider becoming makers for the previously mentioned motives – we can have everything we want and it seems like everything is already created.
But the above is not 100% true. We’re creating daily and sometimes we don’t realize it:
Every time you’re preparing a meal you’re making something out of nothing.
Each social media comment or status is a form of writing and expressing yourself. Along with all the emails you send during working hours.
When your kitchen counter broke and when you added a few nails to fortify the construction you solved an obvious problem.
Point is, you are creating more than you realize.
The main difference between the creator and the consumer is how the former thinks about the process. When something needs to be produced, the person making the tool needs to look at the overall process. To consider the needed materials and to imagine all the steps before taking any form of action.
Or in other words, to have the end goal in mind while thinking about the mechanism. This way of mental imagination helps the person design a more vivid picture of the process and consider everything needed to complete the project.
For instance, if you’re about to paint a picture, you’ll first think about what you want to paint. Secondly, you’ll think about the colors you want to use, also, the brush, the lining, the draft, the canvas, also probably even think about the end customer.
If you want to sell the picture to a spoiled millionaire, you’ll most probably research what’s trending in such homes. You might even spy some pop-stars on social media to see how their homes look.
This type of thinking is deeper. More complex and over time it makes the person a better decision-maker.
In the older period, everything one owned was cherished, taken care of, and used to the very limits of its utility. Buying was “keep-it” buying, and a motto for the nineteenth century might well have been: “Old is beautiful!” Erich Fromm
Why You Should Start Creating Something, Now
Starting a side-hustle, as we love to call it, it’s not, and shouldn’t be primarily about making money and calling yourself an entrepreneur, manager, CEO, co-founder, or another self-imposed title on social media.2
Creating can calm you down, give you purposein life, and help you organize your thoughts. Furthermore, it’s surely better than constantly refreshing your Facebook or Instagram.
Here are the main benefits of becoming a creator:
Creating Give You A Sense Of Purpose
The first requirement of any job is that it should pay you a salary so you can cover your expenses. But almost as important, yet much less commonly recognized, is that a job should feel full of meaning. Since most of the careers lack a sense of higher fulfillment, creating something on your own, something you care about, will substitute the absence of purpose your job has.
If your job is boring. If it feels boring. If you get drunk after 5 PM because what you do doesn’t make any sense to you. Writing, painting, or even attending piano lessons might make all the difference and erase the suicidal thoughts in your mind for good.
During the day you might be an accountant whose only role is to add numbers in a spreadsheet. But during the night, you might transform into a novelist who writes about the modern world crisis or a YouTuber who reviews survival kits to help people choose the best equipment if there is a potential zombie attack.
An Opportunity To Build Something Substantial
Creating something is the perfect way to NOT waste your time. The modern leisure activities that are heavily advertised will give you nothing in return. Playing video games and watching television are surely fun, but they only erase the already limited amount of free time we have.
It’s addictive to hang around social media and like statuses but this won’t really help you achieve something in life. The more time you’ve spent commenting on other people’s posts, the more effort you put into playing video games, the less time you’ll have to create something long-lasting that can potentially help other people.
Besides, the more stuff you share on Facebook or Instagram the more dependent you become to these channels. On top of that, this way you’re helping these obsessive platforms grow even bigger.
You’ll Grow As Individual
Crafting a simple wooden table will expose you to a lot of problems that will require solving: What wood to use? How to place the legs? How nails to use? Should I polish it? How should I enforce the construction so it will last for at least 5 years?
Moreover, the process of creating will prompt you to think backward. To reverse engineer which will change the way you see things and the world in general.
Consumers never think about how things are made or how they operate, they don’t care. They only care about the joy the item brings in their life.
Creators, on the other hand, consider the process and learn from it.
I was recently listening to an episode of the NTMY show by Tobias van Schneider. The guests, Hardeep, and Mandeep Kaur said something that resonated with me: “We are often called materialistic but I don’t think we are materialistic enough.”
What these two fashion twins shared later in the episode is that, even though we’re buying stuff like crazy, we don’t really appreciate what we store in our homes. We don’t take good care of the things we own because we have so many. Everything around us is happening so fast that we don’t care if we’ll need to buy a new phone after a few months. We don’t care because we know that after one year there will be a new model and we’ll want it. For that reason, we throw the current one, smash it, and neglect it.
This type of behavior is a sign of weakness. A sign of inner struggle. Basically, since someone is not respecting his own belongings, this means that he doesn’t respect himself.
Responsibility To The World
Everything you enjoy throughout your day, all the tools, gadgets, all easements, no matter how big or small, are thanks to the millions of people in the past who actually made them. What you learned in school, on YouTube, the articles you read, the books you go through, even the comfy design of the toilet you’re probably sitting right now are all thanks to people. In most of the cases, to people who you don’t know personally. Some of these items can improve your life just slightly, others might be a lifesaver. It doesn’t matter, what matters is that the combined effect of these things makes our lives easier. So, don’t just stand there and take the heated toilet seat for granted, give something back.
You, as well as me and all other people, have a responsibility to contribute to the culture. It’s easy to stand on your couch and consume burgers and TV series, but it should be a mandatory thing to give back. To share your experience, your expertise with the world, in the best possible way you can, so that people can learn from you.
Some Closing Thoughts
Industries are booming and the stores around us are full of things we don’t necessarily need. Seeing this we conclude that it’s all there. Everything is already created and the world doesn’t need our opinion, another book, another YouTubber, or another motivational website.
Truth is, it does.
Even though our lives are quite similar – we all go to work, eat, sleep, drive – we’re all different people and have a different view of what’s happening around. And though it seems that it’s all created and that we’re thriving as a species, the world it’s pretty fucked up place right now: Global warming; More than 700 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life3; Corruption in pretty much every government in the world4; People continue to hunt wild animals for fun.
So, don’t get too comfy while eating a large pizza and playing the latest video game. The world needs you on the battlefield – contributing, sharing your experience.
So, what can you create and share that can make a difference in the world?
Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” Sigmund Freud
By the world getting smarter, I mean, all the intelligent gadgets that are now present in our day-to-day lives.
Sadly, the majority of the people creating websites or opening a restaurant are doing it for precisely the mentioned reason: so they can brag about it on social media and in front of their friends.
According to the hunger statistics on this website, here.