Most of my days have been spent lately doing a combination of work, social media, eating, watching movies, and when I get a chance, sleeping. Over the weekend I’ve been reading a book called delivering happiness. It’s the story of pursuing happiness over money, and filling your life with meaning instead of monotony.
As I read I usually do a healthy bit of introspection, and this was no exception. Tony Hsieh, the author of the book, was forced to do many things growing up. From studying music, reading books, and even attending college at Harvard, he was always put in a creative environment.
His parents didn’t give him the option to simply be a voracious consumer. He was forced to learn how to create!
While this might seem like a mild dictatorship to most American’s, for a moment consider the alternative. How many of us drift through life as simply consumers, without understanding even on a basic level how things are created.
Here’s a few signs I might be talking about you…
- You know what all your friends on Facebook are up to, but wouldn’t know the first thing about building a website like Facebook.
- You can quote every episode of the Office (guilty), but never learn to speak another language.
- You watch movies all the time, but don’t have the slightest interest in educating others through new media.
- You say music is life, and listen to it everywhere, but couldn’t play a musical instrument to save your life.
All those personas are strictly consumers, and they’re the reasons why creators are usually surrounded by success and happiness. Creators enjoy building useful things, and get frustrated easily with being forced to follow the norm.
We have created a culture in America of being voracious consumers of music, movies, and television. I could throw out a bunch of insane statistics, but you know what I’m talking about. Life can be a real beat down. It’s habitual to want to veg out on something mindless. The danger comes when that mindless escape becomes a cultural norm. Sound familiar?
I guess my point it there isn’t really a middle ground in life. You are either consuming content or creating it. You’re either building the next Facebook or spending all your time using Facebook. Instead of listening to music all day, why not take a few minutes each day to learn a new instrument?
I’m tired of consumption. I am a creator.