The activities you do in your free time fall into three categories: creation, recreation and consumption. In this post, I want to highlight the contrast and the relation between creation and consumption.
Creation is when you produce something previously nonexistent. This includes writing, cooking, painting, playing music and coding to name a few. These are activities you will always find rewarding.
Consumption is when you ingest content created by someone else. This could be reading, listening to music, watching a movie or browsing social media. Consumption may or may not be rewarding, depending on what you consume.
Creation cannot exist in itself. You have to consume to create. You cannot be a chef without first understanding how your ingredients blend together. You cannot produce good music without having listened to some.
Unlike creation, consumption can exist in itself. You can spend all your time consuming, but it won’t take you far. Sure, reading a good book or listening to an insightful podcast will give you knowledge. But knowledge alone is futile if you don’t also apply it.
This is where creation comes in. It is the application of what you know from consumption.
You will find your time to be the most fulfilling when you balance creation and consumption. The general principle you want to follow is:
- Spend as much time as you can creating something. Do it until you run out of ideas.
- When you’re out of ideas, consume. Not just anything, mind you. Consume with the intention to create more. Be a picky consumer.
Once you fall into this virtuous cycle, you will never find yourself bored, idle or disappointed in yourself. It will give you a sense of achievement and satisfaction that you can never find with consumption alone.