Start today and future-you will thank you for it
How many hours did you spend creating today?
There’s nothing wrong with consumption. We are entertained, informed, and educated. Consumption is not the antipode of productivity. I’ve learned so much from YouTube, through people like Ali Abdaal (Productivity), Graham Stephen (Personal Finance), and Matt D’Avella (Lifestyle) over the past few years. The reason we are so addicted to our phones and the social media apps is that we are receiving too much value from them for far too little work. Think about it; you have access to see the biggest library of video information in history, the most expansive store of “people experiences,” or the world’s largest social network through just a tap of a finger.
Here’s the problem: we are consuming MUCH more than we are producing. The ratio is so insane. With the recent sharp rise in the usage of apps like YouTube, IG, and TikTok, the problem is super apparent.
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In my case, for the past year, my average time spent creating per week is probably close to an hour a week. This time is mostly spent between sporadic programming side projects and journal writing. Considering I spend around 4 hours of a day staring at my phone, about 30 minutes reading a book, 1.5 hours playing video games, I consume about 6 hours a day. 42 hours a week.
The result is an astounding ratio of 1 to 42 😲
I’m not a prolific creator (yet!), but spreading this message is essential. People are consuming too much, and the world is much better off with more producers. I’ve told my parents and my brothers to fix this balance. I told my mom to design new recipes, my little brother to make more tik-toks and told my dad to come up with better ways to improve the house.
The ideal scenario would be a 50/50 split between creating and consuming. In this case, what you’re consuming becomes input that feeds into your creative process and fuels it, improving your output.
Think of your role models. Who do you admire? Do you admire them because they are creators or because they are consumers? In most cases, people who create excellence are considered our heroes.
There is no such thing as an excellent consumer. I’d rather be a mediocre creator than an avid consumer.
The best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago, the second best time is now
One of the things that have stopped me from putting myself out there is the fear of being too late to the party. People have been blogging for ten years, twenty years. What’s the point of starting now? I’m sure this mindset has stopped many people. I’m too late. All the good ideas are gone, and perhaps the space is too saturated.
Maybe it is. But that’s irrelevant.
By creating, you are fundamentally shifting the way you think. Your brain is now looking for ideas to develop, for value to provide, instead of searching for the next rush of the dopamine supplied by other people’s creations.
By creating, time is now on your side. If you haven’t read the book The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, I highly recommend it. It talks about a concept that has shifted the way I thought about progress. Progress in the right direction, no matter how small, becomes gigantic in the long-term. It’s like how a minuscule shift of angle of a plane’s trajectory at takeoff will lead to a completely different destination.
Another concept to note is the concept of Latent Potential from the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. He describes progress as initially slow and disappointing, followed by an unexpected breakthrough that will make people think you’re an overnight success.
As a creator, you will not make much progress at the start. I’m personally prepared for this. It will feel like I’m flinging value into mid-air. According to this rule, you will suddenly reap the rewards, and it will surprise you. Of course, if you do not start, you will continue to be surprised by other people’s “overnight successes.”
I think of creating as a stock with limited down-side, but infinite up-side. Sure, you will lose time and perhaps money invested in your projects, but what you can potentially get out of it is limitless. If someone sells you a stock that costs you $0 with a chance of it growing to a million, would you take it?
This one is for the programmers out there. Make things instead of just taking courses after courses. Solve problems instead of going on YouTube and searching for the newest mobile framework. Learn as you go. If you want to complement your creative process by learning new tools, that’s amazing, but don’t sacrifice creation for preparation. If you end up making something people love, you can even launch a start-up.
If you’re a good writer, this is the way to go. If you’re not, then writing can help you improve. It also has numerous benefits like structuring your thinking and help to improve your retention.
I am a fan of DJs like Illenium, Gryffin, and Porter Robinson. Music, specifically EDM, requires massive amounts of effort and creativity to produce. Think of your favorite musicians as role models who are creators and use them as a source of inspiration. If you are aspiring to create EDM music, the world needs more of you; please increase your ratio today!
If you love making videos, put together travel videos. If you have a great personality or if you have valuable insights to share, maybe you should start a YouTube channel and make videos consistently. Even if you don’t become the next Pewdiepie, it will surely teach you a lot.
Or make a TikTok?
Photography, carpentry, painting, podcasts, etc. The possibilities are endless.
The other side of living in a world flooded with things to consume is the abundance of readily available resources to help you start producing right away.
“If you think you can, or if you think you can’t — either way you’re right”
If you’re still reading this, I appreciate it. This article is my jump into writing as a creative outlet. I’ve always had so many ideas in my head that I just write down in a note somewhere instead of sharing because I thought I was a lousy writer. Now I’ll put as much of that as possible here.
My goal is to post every week. I’ll share my approach to personal development, software engineering, travel, and random ideas that might help inspire someone out there.