Make this your motto. CREATE MORE. CONSUME LESS.
I recently read a comment under a YouTube video that went something like this- “I can’t give up my phone because if I do, I would be left to deal with my own life and my thoughts”. Really??? Has it really come to the point that we use our cellphones to escape our very own lives? It very much has. Let’s talk about it
CONSUMERISM. A very big issue today. Technology + Consumerism has made data/information a huge deal. Information/content can be considered the most valuable product in the market today. Everything you want/need to know is just a click away. It’s a blessing and a curse.
I’m all for learning. The more knowledge, the better. I’m constantly reading up blogs, articles, and watching YouTube videos in the name of self-development. As it’s called- infotainment. I thought I was bettering myself. But was I really?
We all have fallen prey to technology, no matter how much we deny. If you’re up at night till 3 a.m. watching Netflix or YouTube or even reading articles, you have fallen prey. Don’t deny it.
This is the very thing that made me aware of my own shortcomings. I so long to be able to wake up early and have a nice, productive morning routine. But I’m never able to wake up early and it’s because I sleep late because I’m on my phone. So all I have to do is put that phone away and go to sleep. But it is so damn hard to do.
So I’m not just addressing consumerism here, but also the fact that it has become an addiction today that is hard to break. I’m currently reading Digital Minimalism, and the first chapter describes how these technologies are programmed to be addictive from the ground-up. We are becoming slaves to the Silicon Valley. Someone way smarter than us is sitting there writing long algorithms to keep us glued to our devices.
But let’s not talk about that. It’s a whole another, bigger issue. All I’m saying is that all of these things have turned us into passive consumers. It has just become a way of escapism and what we’re escaping from is our own lives.
We are constantly living in stimulation, bombarded with new information every second. Social media is the biggest culprit. We follow these people we don’t even know and compare their lives to ours. What’s even worse is, we start living vicariously and think that our lives are as cool as the content we consume but is it really?
I don’t use social media but YouTube will be the death of me. I feel embarrassed to even tell you how much time I spend on YouTube. I can try to justify myself by saying I watch self-development content like Matt D’Avella, Casey Neistat, and Ted Talks but who am I kidding? It did not lead to any action. Which means it was just “consuming”. And knowledge without action is useless. Might just consider it entertainment.
How much of the information we consume on the internet on a daily basis do we really remember? None. The endless number of blogs, articles, videos, images, quotes, memes- it goes on and on. It will never end but one day your time will.
I get it. We think this information might change our lives. But has it done any change until now? Can you confidently say that this quote changed your life? I don’t think so.
If you just put your phone away for a day, you’ll realize you have nothing to do. Your life is a bore for most part. You’ll go mad trying to deal with your thoughts. We think we have a lot to do when we keep ourselves busy with our phones. But nooooo.
Consuming makes us mere observers of our own lives. We have forgotten how to just be in the moment.
When we fill every single parcel of time with something to do, a screen to look at or a show to watch, we almost lose touch with ourselves. But this boredom and idleness is extremely important because it helps us to uncover things that need to be addressed.
If you keep distracting yourself, you are never going to be scared into taking action. You will never create.
Let’s face it. Consuming is so easy, right? No thinking and creativity required. To apply your brain and actually create something is difficult. So everybody opts for the easier option.
You can also be a victim of consumerism that does not include technology, as I found I am. I had become a self-development junkie. I was reading 7-8 self-help books at the same time and when I jumped from one book to another, I realized I didn’t remember any of the previous pages I had read. What’s the point then?
I was trying to gain as much knowledge as possible but what’s the point if I can’t remember any of it? And what’s the point if it doesn’t invoke action? I was reading these books just for the sake of reading and deceiving myself that it was going to improve me. Should have just read fiction instead, which I prefer anyway.
There are so many other negative effects (deteriorating ability to comprehend and think critically, form your own opinions and create new things, to name a few) that passive consumption can have on us that I can’t include in one post, the worst being, living in a simulation and losing a sense of self. But I hope you’ve at least got the gist of it. I don’t want to make consumption a villain, but after a certain point, it is.
Consuming is vital, no doubt. How else would you appreciate the works of others? But if it’s all you do, it will take a toll on you. Balance it out with some creating.
As said in the book The Compound Effect– “New or more information is not what you need – a new plan of action is”. The only way you can tackle this problem of consumerism is by taking action, i.e. by creating. The opposite of consuming is to create. To CREATE MORE than you consume.
Doesn’t mean you have to necessarily create something physical or even virtual. It simply means doing something that requires more active participation. Doesn’t have to be productive and produce a result. It’s just about doing something that is not considered consuming.
You can simply meditate, if not anything else. That will be considered as not consuming. Just sit back and relax, instead of bombarding yourself with new information every second.
Create a life of your own and live it. That is how you live life to the fullest. BY DOING.
In the article, What I’ve learned from the ‘5-second rule’ (and it’s probably something you already know), there is more information on why doing is more important than just thinking about it and mindlessly consuming content. Do check it out!