“When in doubt, consume less and create more. The world will thank you.”
After all of last week’s talk about the importance of selling value to others, I realized we’d forgotten to cover an even more foundational step…and a decision we all face every day.
Thankfully I’m constantly reminded of it as I explore Thailand. The above man seems to have it figured out…
To Consume or to Create – The Golden Question
Two weeks ago over some Tumeric Spice tea at Samovar, my buddy Jonathan Fields casually smiled as he said “You know I don’t really read that many blogs anymore.”
Then it got me thinking…most people waste their lives consuming things.
When I first started my business I noticed myself spending a lot of money. And this wasn’t money needed directly for the business (it only required about $67 to start), but I was buying all kinds of books on passion, career, entrepreneurship, sales, marketing, etc. I hired coaches, purchased courses and attended seminars.
I also subscribed to (and actually attempted to read) 30 or so of my favorite blogs.
Over the course of a year the cost, both in time and money, started to approach a rather ridiculous number.
I was learning a ton, but I noticed I was creating very little of my own work.
The consumption was killing me.
Even when I did create things, it was often because I’d read the latest post from one of my mentors or just finished a recent bestseller. All it lead me to do was create a much lower quality version of the same idea I’d just consumed.
I was stuck in this trap.
And it’s a valley every one of us stumbles into on the path to living our legend.
At some point, if you are going to become a perceived (and real) expert in your field, and build a business around helping people with something you’re genuinely good at, then making this transition is life or death.
Three years ago I proudly read over 60 books in a year. I attended half a dozen seminars and subscribed to at least a couple dozen blogs. I also had nothing tangible to point to as a result. I’d created basically nothing of value.
In the past year I read six books, attended one seminar and currently subscribe to three blogs that I actually read.
In that year, I built Live Your Legend and also created two courses that have turned into my most proud projects of my life. They’ve involved hundreds of pages and hours of content, and I believe they truly are unique to my talents and approach to the world.
They have also helped tens of thousands of people.
Over these past few years I’ve traded hyper-consumption for dedicated creation, and it’s change everything, both for our business and everyone who interacts with it.
The problem is that there is no risk in consuming.
There’s no fear of rejection.
No concern of choosing the wrong path.
And no feeling like an idiot.
Why do you think so many people love going back to school, and many choose to get advanced degrees? Learning is an easy way to justify putting off the big decisions.
Unless we commit to learning by doing…
Don’t get me wrong, I am obsessed with learning.
But there are all kinds of ways to do it.
You can learn by burying yourself in a library, or you can learn by burying yourself in a project.
One gives you ideas, the other gives you experience and results.
When Do You Make the Transition from Consuming Ideas To Creating Value?
The easy answer is “yesterday.”
Sure, in the very beginning of anything you will need to do plenty of work and consuming to get up to speed.
But what few realize is that the best way to become good at something is not to learn everything under the sun.
It’s to do it.
To find other people who need help and help them.
So the real answer is that as soon as you know one person in the world who you’re confident you could help in a massive way using your talents, skills, passions and experiences, then it’s time to start creating.
You still can (and should) consume on a specific and selective basis.
But if you are ever facing a decision to consume or to create, the answer is always to create.
The fun thing is that every one of us faces that decision every single day. Do I respond to emails or help a client? Do I read a blog post or do I write one? Do I take another course or do I start creating the one that I know will change lives?
We all know the answer.
Create first. Then if there’s time to consume, and you really feel like it, then go ahead and consume.
But realize that right this second there is someone out there who would happily pay you for something that’s still stuck inside you.
The sooner you get it out, the sooner you’ll make others’ lives better. And the sooner you’ll have experience and real tangible results.
No amount of consumption could hold a candle next to that.
So in case I wasn’t clear, it is time to start creating.
Now the important question becomes…
What are you going to build first?
Tell us in the comments and let’s make some magic!
If you need me, I’ll be in the jungle in northern Thailand, creating something new for you all,
P.S. Huge hat tip to the ever-talented Liz Seda of A Life on Your Terms, for bringing such a crucial topic to my attention. If you haven’t spent time with Liz’s work yet, I strongly suggest you do. We see the world in a very similar way.
And another thanks to the guy who sold me that coconut