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Creating Beats Consuming

It is really hard to consume and create at the same time.

By Auren Hoffman.

We are meant to be both creators and consumers. Today, however, most people consume far more then they create. Part of the reason for this is because being both a consumer and a creator at the same time is very difficult, and because goods and services have never been more accessible. But a healthy life is one that balances both creation and consumption.

Consumers vs. Creators
When you consume you are often appreciating other’s work.  You eat, watch movies, visit nice places, read books, and party. You vegetate to the sounds of your favorite musical artist on a wonderful couch while surfing Facebook on your beautifully designed laptop.

Creators do just the opposite: they strive to make something that others (or their future self) will appreciate.  Creators toil, try different things, fail, and try again.

People were Born to Create
People need to create and they need to have a creative outlet. Creating things lets us use our imagination, add value, provide a sense of accomplishment and ownership, and is both rewarding and satisfying.

This is why children enjoy drawing, painting, and making arts and crafts so much. This is also the reason why people in start-ups are generally much happier than people at large institutions – smaller companies give people the freedom to create and have fewer restrictions.

There is nothing more satisfying than creating something. In fact, the fastest way to kill someone’s soul is to subject them to a life where they can no longer create.  But because of our natural tendencies to be creators, this is hard to do: even in the Soviet gulags and Nazi death camps, prisoners found ways to remain hopeful by making intricate designs in their imagination.

In general, creating things tends to be more rewarding than consuming things:

Writing beats reading.
Painting beats viewing.
Giving beats receiving.
Playing beats being a spectator.
Composing beats viewing.
Trying (and failing) beats complaining.
Cooking beats eating.
Lending beats borrowing.
Coding beats pretty much everything.
Yes, creating beats consuming.

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Editor’s note: Portions of this article republished above on with permission, thanks for the excellent article Auren!