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 what 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 such is present.1 You no longer have to remember stuff, years, dates, important calls or meetings, you have Google and well-arranged system of notification to serve you and remind you to buy your wife flowers, or to pick your kid from kindergarten.
Writing has become obsolete, along with pay phones, 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.
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.
The Consumer 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. 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. That’s why you can trip on all sorts of items when you’re walking around the streets.
After the industrial revolution, people started to consume more than before. 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. These hubs are responsible for storing the essential things we need for our survival along with other accessories that are not so needed.
Now, even if you’re not considered wealthy, you can have plenty of food on your plate.
Thanks to this network of stores, we have a lot of free time at our disposal. Before you had to plant your own veggies and later harness them. This process took hours a day. Now you can order a six-pack of burritos online and enjoy them for a couple of days while doing something else – choosing what else to buy, for example.
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, big apartment, 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 brain and make us feel extremely good while seated on our couch. Yet, there are two simple downsides emerging from all of this comfort:
We don’t really appreciate what we have: We abuse our belongings and take everything for granted: we smash our items, throw them, don’t use them, because we don’t care about them. 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 keep wanting more of what we don’t have. As the years go by, this indifferent act transmits to other section 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. That’s why we feel sad when we haven’t purchased something new for a while. That’s why we spend hours online, waiting for a new post or a new comment to appear.
Our way of thinking becomes shallow and we don’t think deep enough. We observe products – and also people – only from the outside. Never thinking about what’s behind 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 tend to take the path of least resistance – because who can wait for 2-day shipment, right?
The Creator Mindset
The word creator sounds a bit pompous. I bit overrated. Most of the people think that a creator is only someone who can pain picture 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. Most importantly, people don’t consider themselves as creators – they don’t even think that they should become such personas 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 the emails you send when working;
When your kitchen counter broke and when you added a few nails to fortify the construction you created a solution to an obvious problem.
Point is, you’re certainly creating throughout the day.
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. 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 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 a glimpse of how their homes look. It’s impossible to not think about those things if you want to create a painting.
Even artists who paint abstract pictures have an end goal in mind:
This type of thinking is deeper. More complex and over time helps the person solve problems and understand things better.
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. 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. Quite an expensive Instagram post if you ask me.
If you still think that playing video games is the ultimate activity for your spare time, here’re a couple of reasons in favor of creating something by hand, online, or whatever – as long as you’re creating:
Creating Give You A Sense Of Purpose:
The first requirement of any job is that it should pay. 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 work 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 (#boring). But during the night, you might transform into a novelist who writes about the modern world crisis or a YouTuber who reviews survival kits and helps people choose the best equipment for 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 peoples post, the more effort you put into playing video games, the less time you’ll have to create something that will last and potentially help other people.
Besides, the more you share on Facebook or Instagram the more depended you’ll become to these channels. On top of that, this way you’re helping these obsessive platforms grow. As we all know, social media platform exists and grow because more and more people are sharing inside it. Facebook doesn’t produce content on their own, me and you are doing it for them. Basically, we’re doing the hard work and they’re getting all the goods.
You’ll Grow As Individual
Crafting a simple wooden table will expose you to a lot of problems that will require resolving: What wood to use? How to place the legs? How long should be the nails? Should I polish it? How should I enforce the construction so it will last for at least 5 years and me standing on top?
There is more, it will prompt you to think backwards. 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. At first glance, it might seem insignificant, even completely unnecessary to understand how a burrito is actually prepared, but this knowledge might help at some point – your boss might invite you to a Sunday barbecue. There might be some issue with the barbecue itself and in order for people to not starve, your burrito-making skills might come in handy. Making you the savior of the day, thus your boss new favorite person.
I was recently listening to an episode of the NTMY show by Tobias van Schneider. The guests, Hardeep, and Mandeep Kaur said something that stuck with me: “We are often called materialistic but I don’t think we are materialistic enough.”
What these two fashion twins share 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 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 matter is that the combined effect of these things make 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. To humanity. We all benefited from an education system of some sort that embodies the wisdom of thousands of years of experience. It’s easy to take this all for granted, to imagine that you’re entitled to have all of those powers. 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 life2; Corruption in pretty much every government in the world3; 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 you can create that can make a difference?
By the world getting smarter, I mean, all the intelligent gadgets that are now common in our day to day lives.
According to the hunger statistics on this website, here.