Ironically, as I write about being a consumer, I feel the sweet urge to turn on Netflix and just chill. It’s evening; I didn’t sleep well and it’s a weekend. Why should I push myself to create? Don’t I deserve to passively rest?
I almost decided to. What changed my mind was seeing an inspiring Instagram post of someone who is living the life I want to emulate. I’ve been following her for years, and I see the progress she’s made through hard work, dedication and most importantly, self-care.
But above all, what’s the one thing that sets her apart from most other people? How did she rise to success?
She is a creator. Not a consumer.
This makes me ask myself: Are you putting out into the world as much as you are getting from it?
A finance book I read recently said that you will be monetarily rewarded for the value you put out into the world. Value takes time, it takes effort, creativity, and constant learning. Consumption does not add value. So again, I ask myself: How much value are you adding to the world?
Apart from the glamours of riches, why is the act of creating a fundamentally essential part of being human?
I think it’s because it’s self-actualizing. It’s fulfilling. It’s at the core of what separates us from everyone else. It’s the expression of our soul’s unique song, and it begs so badly to be sung.
According to Steven Pressfield in Turning Pro, we start off as amateurs in life. We are the excited kids who dream about a grandiose future where we are the brilliant protagonist kicking ass and taking names. As we get older, we slowly begin to say that we will “start tomorrow”, because, as we all know, there’s always a reason. We look at everyone around us doing the same, extinguishing their soul’s flame through enveloping relationships with people, food, drugs, the internet, and T.V.
The vices of today drown out our underlying need to self-actualize. We begin to lose sight of our childhood dreams. We stop asking ourselves pivotal questions like, “Am I living up to my full potential?” and “What am I living for?”. These difficult questions often get pushed down into our subconscious with the humdrum of our daily life. We’re living for the next social gathering.
And, at times, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with the safe office job and your weekend mojitos with the girls. The problem arises when we never look back to that child inside us and ask what sets our soul on fire. If the child is there, it’s often too scared to speak up. It’s been beaten down one too many times. When it does speak up, the adult in our mind called “reality” steps in and puts it back in place. How dare you dream to be a musician! Do you know how unrealistic that is?
If your voice didn’t say it, someone else’s will.
That’s why, when you feel the desire to create, it’s often best to toil away in silence. Work on your passions because you want to. Don’t wait for approval or permission. Create for the sake of creating. We all have something inside us we secretly want to work on. Part of the reason you are here is to fulfill that creator inside of you.
While reading A Man’s Search for Himself, I stumbled upon a very moving passage that deals with the idea of why we create.
There is the curious remark made regulary nowadays at the end of radio programs, “Thanks for listening.” This remark is quite amazing when you come to think of it. Why should the person who is doing the entertaining, who is GIVING something ostenibily of value, thank the reciver for taking it? To acknowledge applause is one thing, but thanking the recipient for deigning to listen and be amused is a quite different thing. It betokens that the action is given its value, or the lack of value, by the whim of the consumer, the receiver… So many people judge the value of their actions not on the basis of the action itself, but on the basis of how the action is accepted… The person who is passive, to whom or for whom the act is done, has the power to make the act effective or ineffective, rather than the one who is doing it. Thus we tend to be PERFORMERS in life rather than persons who live and act as selves.”
Rollo May’s words blew my mind in an amazing, clarifying way. It struck a chord so deep, I knew there was truth in it.
So many people are creating with the idea of someone else in mind. They are not rejoicing at the act of creation, but instead looking around the room for someone to give them a nod of approval, a like on Instagram or a follow.
Sure, customer-focus is necessary for business. You have to follow the demand. But there are things you must do to fulfill yourself.
You and everything you produce is effective, valuable and worthy simply as a beautiful expression of life. You are not a success by being applauded. You are a success by pouring out your soul into something. This is enough. You are enough.
When you seek to fulfill your deep and often unrealistic, childhood dreams, you are pure energy at it’s best. You are living in alignment with your purpose. You’re in flow. However you want to call it.
Why do you practice yoga? Why do you hike? There is no end goal. There is no reason besides sheer desire and will.
You are not just a performer for the world. You are a pro. Someone who shows up, day after day, and honors their purpose. You don’t have to make a living from it. You don’t even have to enjoy it 100% of the time. But you know it’s right. Especially because it’s not always easy. It’s the most worthwhile thing you’ve ever done.