We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit – Aristotle
History is littered with wisdom lauding the rewards of diligence. It is also littered with the resulting failures of not spending time doing work on yourself. So how does this relate to the idea of “Create not consume”?
With the inventions of radio and television came the consumption of media in our homes like never before. Less interaction with family but an activity that could be shared with our family. Now with rise of the internet through mobile devices, our consumption happens anywhere anytime and is a much more isolating activity. It has its positives but is also addictive, highly addictive. Many of us have watched The Social Dilemma and are now becoming more aware of our mindless tendencies. (Ironic considering the popularity of mindfulness in recent years.)
As a result, I’m embarking on 100 days of create not consume. The idea being that I must pick a particular form of creation and do it daily for 100 days. I have chosen writing. The idea is to move away from the false narrative that you must wait for inspiration to strike before you can do meaningful creative work.
After watching a lengthy interview with Seth Godin (read here) a few truths became apparent. Firstly, how the difficulty with creative work is that we are showing up to make change in a way we are not sure is going to work. Second, you can’t just decide you want to be a writer or an artist and it becomes reality. You must develop the craft to get an idea if you have what it takes for it to be possible and test the market. Creativity is a job, not purely something that happens when you feel like it. Thirdly, the work needs to be in the public domain. What is the purpose if you cannot share what you’ve learnt to help others?
People who do the work every day end up creating masterpieces regularly but those who decide to just make a masterpiece, end up missing the deadline.
I extended this invitation to those within my social network both as a way of accountability for myself and also to encourage others. Algorithms aside, this didn’t get the same engagement as a selfie, a trendy share campaign or announcement of a pregnancy. No surprises there, you do have to be a certain frame of mind for something specific to turn on the light. However, the quality of engagement was much higher.
Goals of Create not consume
- Create something every day
- Only focus on one activity
- Put it into the public domain
- Aim to be better than the day before
- It must only focus on one activity
- The focus is not the time spent doing the activity but the activity itself
- You can still consume during this period
In essence, this is a system for forming a creation habit. James Clear examines the topic of habits in superb detail in his book “Atomic Habits“. The points that are at the foundation of this exercise are:
- It’s easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis.
- Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action.
- Get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better.
- You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.
- You get what you repeat.
- Fall in love with the process rather than the product.
- You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.
- Does this behavior help me become the type of person I wish to be?
That’s it. The journey will be documented here as time progresses. I’m very interested in seeing how this goes and being surprised by the difficulties that arise.
If you’re keen on embarking on the journey too, I would love for you to contact me here.