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Creation vs. Consumption: Are you molding the world in which you live, or is it molding you?

by Live Better

The classic question of "nature vs. nurture" is irrelevant to you now; rather, we should be concerned with nurturing our nature.

True - you are shaped by the experiences in which you grew up. Your home, neighborhood, parents, friends, sports, school, community, and so on all had an effect on the way you developed. Even if your parents nurtured you deeply, the "nature" in which you lived may have produced more harm than good, and you were too young to understand anything different.

The interesting switch comes as an adult where we are now capable of making our own decisions, both about who "nurtures" us and what our "nature" will be. Any and all decisions are your own; who you choose to be around, what you do for work, who you tell secrets to, and from where you consume information.

Which brings us to this week's topic: Creation vs. Consumption.

What is more important? There are arguments for both sides.

Without consumption (i.e. learning), we may not be educated enough to provide a valid argument. The rookie has much to learn from the veteran, just as the apprentice does from the master. As our skills increase, so should the corresponding output.

But what of following a "beginner's mind?" The world we live in is consistently being shaped by a younger and younger generation of people; Facebook and Google were college projects....people make millions of dollars creating content on social media (...Snapchat was also started at Stanford as well). Novelty and lack of experience may be foundational to creating something new. They are not yet conditioned to think, speak, or design a certain way.

The hard part is finding a balance between the two. Most people fall on the side of over-consumption. We consume a 24-hour news cycle (most of which is negative), constantly thumb through a scroll of nonsense on Instagram that turns into a three hour black hole of wasting time, apps are made to be addictive (as are the noises they make), and tabloids spread false information that doesn't actually mean anything in the grand scheme of your life.

When we over-consume, we mismanage our time. We lack productivity, and are always complaining we "just don't have time today."

Challenge #1
Document every minute of your day tomorrow. Start to finish. If this seems ridiculously complicated, make buckets (e.g. Work, Social Media, TV, Reading, Errands, Chores, Relaxation, Exercise, etc.). You are guaranteed to find inefficiencies.

We're not suggesting that life should be one big optimization project, but simply to understand how your environment (i.e. what you spend time doing and who you spend it with) shapes your worldview.

Ryan Holiday writes in Ego is the Enemy, "Why do you think that great leaders and thinkers throughout history have "gone out into the wilderness" and come back with inspiration, with a plan, with an experience that puts them on a course that changes the world? It's because in doing so they found perspective, they understood the larger picture in a way that wasn't possible in the bustle of everyday life. Silencing the noise around them, they could finally hear the quiet voice they needed to listen to.
Creativity is a matter of receptiveness and recognition."

Challenge #2
Carve time out in your day to "silence the noise" and step away from the bustle of everyday life. In doing so, you'll be receptive to the world around you, connecting non-obvious patterns, recognizing what you care about and who you care to be around. We recommend a simple blank journal for this task, and creating a space of 30 minutes. For the complainers and eye rollers we can hear and see through the screen, just take 5 minutes. If you don't have 5 free minutes, it's your fault (see Challenge #1).

If you don't prioritize your time, someone else will. If you don't make a list of principles you stand for, you'll stand for the next best thing. If you only consume, you'll never create (when could you possibly find the time?!). If you never create, the world misses out on your creative, unique gift to the world...and that is your perspective.

Be very aware of where and from whom you consume your information. Both positive and negative, it shapes the way you think about the world. The way you think about the world prompts action, both positive and negative.

Create the world you want to live in by consuming information that supports the journey to do so.

So we'll ask, "what are you going to create today?"