What Changed When I Stopped Consuming and Started Creating

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“Creative thinking inspires ideas. Ideas inspire change.” – Barbara Januszkiewicz

I grew up like every other teenager of the 80’s and 90’s – watching MTV. I was obsessed with Madonna, moshed my teen spirit with Nirvana, then entered the dark side of pop with Nine Inch Nails. I loved all of it; the music, the visuals, the performance. I decided that I too was going to become a rock star and perform on MTV.

So I set off to work to make that dream come true.

Until this artistic awakening, I had taken lessons in piano and dance, but doing my own thing was a completely different ball game. There were no notes to follow, there was no choreography to obey. I needed to decide for myself what the notes and the steps were going to be. This required a whole new way of thinking, seeing and listening.

Consuming is easy. Getting inspired is easy. Following instructions is easy. But when you go from a consumer to a creator, you start to think about things you never thought about before.

It is equally overwhelming and exciting. I wasn’t always sure I was going to be able to do it. Yet, when I shifted from a consumer of music to a creator, my life changed profoundly.

For the first time, I started to listen to things I’d never listened to before, like the drums. Not just the beat that made me dance, but really, the sounds and the sequences.

For the first time I started to really appreciate the power of the bass guitar, and the huge part it played in music. How was it possible that I’d never really heard it before?

I started to pay attention to what all the different instruments were doing and it blew my mind.

Music opened up to me on a whole new level. It was richer and more fascinating, and I started to appreciate it so much more than I had ever before. It became more layered and multi-dimensional.

Becoming a creator and not a consumer turned me from a receiver into a producer. Life didn’t just flow over me, but I became keenly aware of what was happening all around me. Everything became potential material for my creative pursuits.

I became an active gatherer-hunter of ideas. Ideas kept popping in my head all the time, and I had to capture them quickly before they would escape me. I started to carry a notebook with me everywhere.

Everything became interesting. I collected stories, moments, feelings, anecdotes, quotes, and jokes. I started spotting interesting names, logos, and colors everywhere. My notebook became my favorite thing, my treasure trove.

Eventually, I did reach my dream of being on MTV. It didn’t happen by luck or by accident. It happened because of this shift.

Maybe I could have been one of the hopefuls, joining the queues of talent shows, thinking that someone would create me. Most likely I would’ve not done very well because no one can create anyone, we have to create ourselves.

Music was my first muse. It taught me everything about being a creator. It awakened all of my senses and it opened up the world for me. Becoming a creator has changed the way I do everything in life.

The world is so full of stuff that it’s easy to sit back and just consume it. Creating is hard, it quickly makes you aware of your shortcomings and your lack of knowledge.

Yet, moving from a consumer to a creator in every area of life will open your eyes and your senses to so many fascinating things. Everything is a story. Everything can be a seed for an idea.

You will become infinitely curious about life. The world will become richer, and a more interesting place to be. What a beautiful way to move through life, don’t you think?

My Challenge to You

Have a think about all the things that you consume and love. Is it books, music, perfumes, fashion? Maybe you love looking at someone who can dance really well. Or you love eating mother’s cooking. Or perhaps you admire someone who knows how to code, or builds shelves or fixes cars, but you’ve never thought you’d be able to do something like that.

Instead of observing and consuming, I challenge you to pick one of these things and try to become the creator yourself. Ask someone person to show you the ropes. Spend a bit of time on YouTube tutorials. Join Skillshare. Start with something small and simple.

Share your experience in the comments! What changed?