It’s a question that I ask myself during those all-too-frequent occasions when I find myself plunging into consumer mode. Make no doubt, there are times to consume—to read the news, to become engrossed in a video clip of David Bowie’s prescient insights on the Internet’s impact on music, to see what’s going in the lives of a few (or a few dozen) of my friends’ lives.
However, the temptation to have those times get so out of hand that they crowd out creative time is omnipresent. Do I have enough discernment to know what’s useful research into something that will advance my business—whether my own enterprises or a client’s—and what’s a flat-out distraction?
Distractions are the junk food of creativity. I can delude myself into thinking I am setting the stage for creativity by diving into the lyrics of a Squeeze song. A nostalgic baseball website can bring the 1981 American League baseball season to mind, and I can find stats from the season in a few quick clicks.
Just because I can do something, however, doesn’t mean that I should. Just because I can get sucked into rabbit holes that pop up in my cyber-path on a routine basis doesn’t mean that I have to succumb.
It’s so much easier to consume content than to create it, which is why the ratio of consumption to creation is so staggeringly high. But the one who consistently creates, that’s where so many of the rewards reside, whether financial or soulful, whether looking to expand your income or your influence, or for any number of motives.
So turn off the beeps and the bells, shut down your email for a few minutes (or better yet, a few hours), click out of your multiple web browsers, and starve the consumer in you.
This will nurture an environment of creativity. Stop consuming this moment, right now. Go create.