I have been pushing myself lately to create more, and to consume less.
My hypothesis at the outset was that consumption was leading me to be passive and unproductive in other areas besides simply being lazy in the moment. It wasn’t until after I start focusing on creation, however, that I realized another very real benefit: Increased satisfaction.
The passive act of consumption is tempting. Sit there, do nothing, and have a near-endless stream of entertainment from the end of whichever spout you are drinking from (Netflix, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube—whatever your vice). It feels like it’s about as close to a free lunch as you can get.
In 2018, 106 billion dollars were spent on digital advertising in the US alone. The truth is that you are the product on these platforms, and the mission is to manipulate your attention and your clicks. But even putting that fact aside, there’s another very real detriment: Decreased satisfaction.
But the blame for dissatisfaction doesn’t rest solely on the advertising industry. Even the most pure social network, completely absent any advertising presence, would still cause dissatisfaction. You can’t peer constantly into the lives of others without being bombarded by the things they own and the experiences they are having.
Being a constant observer fills you with a sense of longing for what others have. You are constantly aware of any gaps between their lives and yours.
As I gradually implement my own habit of creation, I find that I am more satisfied. It doesn’t matter if I have an audience of none, the mere act of regular creation is stimulating; it allows me to see the work of my hands (or mind) come to life.
By committing myself to regular creation and holding myself accountable, I have introduced an element of challenge: Can I make time to prioritize creation? Can I push myself to be uncomfortable, to face the fear of perhaps creating something I am not proud of?
And along the way I have discovered that I not only lack the time for mindless consumption, I have also begun to lack the desire to do it.