“I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up in the morning and see the light.”
– Miles Davis
I was in a bit of a slump for the last couple of weeks. For whatever reason, my motivation was pretty much non-existent and I struggled to get anything productive done outside of going to work and making a few simple posts. While I’m no fan of these motivational slumps, I’m doing my best to learn from them whenever they happen, and the biggest lesson I’ve learned from this last slump is the different states of mind that consuming and creating put me in.
One of the main characteristics of my motivational slumps is that they always involve me doing more consuming than creating. Instead of writing or making videos or even going out and socializing with people, I tend to just sit in front of the TV (well technically my laptop) and watch movies and shows all day. At my best, I might read a book or watch a self-development video on Youtube.
I’m by no means against doing any of these things, but I’ve found that they often have the opposite effect of what I’d like. Let me explain.
My typical motivation behind consuming content rather than creating it is that I want to either conserve or recharge my energy. More often than not, though, things like watching TV or browsing Reddit leave me with even less energy than before. This is especially true when I do these things for long periods of times. I’m sure everyone has experienced this at some point, maybe after binge-watching a season (or three) of House of Cards for instance.
In a way, my lapses in motivation both cause and are caused by this type of over-consumption. I feel tired or lazy so I turn on Netflix. But after watching Netflix I rarely want to get up and do something productive. So I watch more Netflix and the cycle continues.
But what about when I’m actually creating content? Regardless of how good it ends up, the simple act of engaging my mind in order to create usually leaves me feeling mentally energized. I may experience uncomfortable feelings like creative blocks and even physical exhaustion, but they pale in comparison to the sluggish stupor that consuming too much always leaves me in. Plus, I get the added benefit of positive momentum. In contrast to the downward Netflix spiral, doing a little bit of creating
fills me with even more desire to create.
I’ve already talked about how important it is to choose what type of content we consume on a daily basis. If my only choice was to either watch TV or read a book, ideally I would read the book. But I’m starting to see that consuming too much of anything, even if it’s a book or something educational, can be a negative as well.
Moving forward, I don’t expect to completely cut out consuming from my life. That would be impossible, not to mention unenjoyable. But I would like to start spending more time creating than consuming. This means doing more writing than reading and more filming than watching. I’m hoping this post will be the catalyst for that change.