Think about all of the favourite things you use or own.
Here’s are some from me, at the moment:
- Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming (paperback)
- You Can’t Teach an Old Dog new tricks, by Seasick Steve via Spotify
- Travel Hacking Cartel (website)
- Take This Job And Shove It (Free eBook)
These are things that I am consuming at the moment. I’m sure you have your own list.
Now, think about how these things found their way in to your world.
Each of these things started as an idea in someones head. Then through a labour of love, time and dedication they became a reality and we are able to consume them.
Tipping The Balance
The difference is that consumption is a cost (time & money). Creation however, although it involves costs, creates value beyond these and becomes an asset.
To make a difference in the world, both your world and others, you have to tip the balance of your life towards that of a creator.
So how do you flip that switch?
In a word: focus.
Personally, I find that my consumption of information is due to a hunger for the latest methods and the availability of information.
Let’s look at each of these in isolation.
Overcoming Information Hunger
“Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.” – Albert Einstein
How much do you read about your interests and things that you want to do? I’m guessing a lot. Why? Because you are interested in learning everything you can about a subject you care about.
This is fine. After all that is why you look in to these things – you are interested in them.
Problem is, that you probably know at least 80% if not more of everything about the subject you are interested in. If this is something you are learning because you ultimately want to create something out of it, then you are just holding back applying your knowledge.
It is highly unlikely that you are going to find much more than little tweaks that can make small differences to what you are trying to achieve. Whether you are trying to change the world, or just provide a new service for a side income, you really need to stop learning and start applying.
Ease Of Information Availability
“What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and the need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.” – Herbert Simon, recipient of the Nobel Memorial prize in economics and the A.M. Turing award, “Nobel Prize of computer science”
The fact that information is so easily available to us these days is part of the problem. If I want to know something I can just tap a couple of buttons on my iPad and the information is there. Aside from how information availability is changing how our brains work, we are also letting it come in to our lives when we are not ready to use it.
For example, if you fire up your Twitter feed, Google+ steam you are presented with a constant flow of things that of are interesting to you. This is because you follow like minded people, so naturally you have an inclination to like what they are saying.
Instead, you really need to flip the switch to pulling information to you only when you need it to actually create something, rather than allowing it to be pushed in to your brain. Utilising your brain power with information overload is a fools game. That time would be better spent creating something world changing.
Turn Off The Stream – Make It More Difficult For Information to enter your life.
There are hundreds of articles out there with tips and tricks about how to eliminate distractions. I’m not going to repeat them here.
I’m not going to tell you to throw out your TV either. While it is true that this was probably one of the biggest time sucks in the past, now I think the Internet and the availability of information are much more likely to be the causes of lack of creation.
Just find how you focus. Cultivate such an environment on a regular basis, and create.
Here’s what I do:
- I have to shut off the internet completely with a programme like Freedom (I found that browser extensions didn’t work. I always found a way to circumnavigate them. Selecting certain sites to prohibit just adds another distraction).
- I set a timer for a 20 minute block.
- Put on some Rodrigo y Gabriela, or Manu Chau for some up beat and non-distracting tunes (no lyrics, or lyrcis that are in another langauge so they don’t distract me). Some people prefer quiet.
- Have a big drink like a Yerba Mate or a H20 available.
- Create. Let it flow.
- Pat yourself on the back when you have achieved something and then let your brain consume something as a reward.
I really believe that to become a creator you have to make it a priority for your day. Ian Fleming used to spend just two hours a day writing the amazing James Bond books. The rest of the time he spent enjoying his Jamacian home.
I hear Roald Dahl did somethign similar.
See, you don’t have to work that long, as long as you focus and free yourself to be creative.
How do you cultivate your creative work environment? Let me know in the comments!