Do You Consume Or Create? Join Me For National Creation Day!

National Creation Day is on Friday, June 28th. Check here for details and join!

Creative Definition Magnifier Showing Original Ideas Or Artistic DesignsIn almost every exchange, someone gets the better deal.

Who do you think gets a better deal in the exchange between creator and consumer?

The consumer has to pay a little or even nothing to consume what the creator made, such as a movie or a blog post. The consumer is then entertained by the creation, if it’s any good. That sounds like a pretty good deal.

The creator has to work hard to create something of value. He must challenge his mind for ideas and sacrifice time and energy that could be spent consuming. Most creators receive no monetary compensation. That sounds like a pretty lousy deal.

Round one goes to the consumers. Is this why there are so many more consumers than creators?

Consumers press a button and enjoy. Creators work hard without any guaranteed reward.

But what about the aftermath? What about round two?

Round Two – Knockout

Not a lot of people think about the long term effects of their daily, “insignificant” decisions. In the moment, consuming seems like a good idea. Watch a TV show for 30 minutes? Sure, it’s fun.

What’s the harm?

The harm is in habit. You’re setting (or more likely following and reinforcing) a standard of habitual consumption, and here is why consumption is actually a much worse deal than creation.

Creation satisfies people long term, while excessive consumption drains and discourages people.

Consumption singled out, is perfectly fine. There is nothing wrong with it. Excessive consumption, however, is detrimental and happens to be rampant today.

The more you have to consume, the less you feel the need to create.

Scarcity has always been a factor in creativity. If there were no movies, TVs, or games, you’d be forced to get creative and perhaps make your own game. If there was no food in grocery stores, you’d have to be more creative to find it.

If great movies, music, stories, and everything else is readily available, why should you bother making your own? You may not feel the need, but the need is still there!

You need to create to feel alive.

The Joy Of Creation

Creating something valuable is the best way to give to the world. Contributing to the world makes people feel useful and happy! And it does even more than that.

It is an expression of your humanity to create, because humans are naturally creative beings (which I believe comes from God). The act of creation also expresses your personal passions and interests. When you carve a wooden boat out of a log, you may be expressing a love for the sea, or for craftsmanship itself. Or for adventure!

But even if the world labels it as “most likely to sink in the boat class of 2013,” your boat can still mean the world to you, because you made it and it stands for something important.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you might know that I love adventure and imagination, because I express it frequently through my writing. 🙂

Creating something is deeply satisfying and it sticks with you. I’ll always cherish this blog and the 100 unique posts I’ve spent hundreds of hours to create.

The Misery Of Excessive Consumption

Consumption is temporary one-and-done enjoyment. Long term benefits are negligible. And the reason excessive consumption is draining and discouraging, is because it takes the place of creating, which is a natural energizer and encourager.

Unfortunately, I’ve spent more time consuming than creating in my lifetime. I’ve spent thousands of hours watching TV and movies, or playing video games. Some of the things I consume stick with me (quotes and game memories), but they don’t carry the personal satisfaction that creating does.

Whoever created this, thank you.

I’m glad this person decided to create this. Fantasy art is just beautiful.

Lately, I’ve been creating more. I can confirm it’s better.

The current culture in America encourages consumption to the point that creation is displaced. Heck, they even call us “consumers.”

Americans love TV more than anyone else. We love shopping more than anyone else. We love consumption more than anyone else.

In the developed world, we grow up in a house, with prepackaged baby food. And when we want to have fun, the TV comes on. Or even if we play outside, the games are given to us – no longer do we have to make up our own games using rocks and sticks.

My childhood was a bit different, thankfully. As a kid, I made several board games with my cousin (“Turbo 500” and “Jailbreak” were our favorites). They were fun! And all of the kids in my extended family used to create commercials and plays together.

At school, we are taught how everything is. We may get to draw something, but that is maybe 10% of the school experience. School should be 50% creating in my opinion. Is there a better way to learn than creating something?

Our society is weird because the focus on consumption creates a dichotomy between creators and consumers. Instead of everyone creating, we have a select few create huge productions for the masses to consume. But it is changing (some)…

I like the way the world is changing, because anyone with an internet connection can create now. Youtube and blogging are great low-barrier entry points for people new to creating.

But that also means there is more content than ever to consume, which is why focus is such an important skill for our time in history. I am acutely aware that I could watch something funny right now instead of writing this, but I’ve made the choice to create because this isn’t a temporary gain.

Some 13 year old kid could find this article a decade from now and make positive changes to his life. How satisfying that would be!

National Creation Day – June 28th 2013

Readers and fellow creators, let’s start a new national holiday right now. America is the land of opportunity and freedom, and that means that we’re free to get absurdly creative. We’re free to create anything imaginable. So let’s do it!

I propose that for one day a year, we don’t consume and only create. It will be just before Independence Day – a perfect time for us to redefine what freedom means to us. If you decide to try this, you will be astonished at what you can create in just one day (and how much you were addicted to consumption).

What will you create?

The Pledge

On June 28th, 2013, the last Friday of June, I will not consume. I will only create. I will not consume any content unless it is necessary for what I am creating – no TV, books, news, websites, youtube cat videos, movies, distracting music (background music is fine if that helps you to focus), etc. But I promise to continue to consume food and water to stay alive.

Ideas: Paint, draw, write/start a non-fiction book, write a story, create a mini-movie, carve a sculpture, create a website, make an exercise video, create 100 ideas of things to create, imagine a fun scenario and pretend you’re living in it, hand out $1 bills to strangers in exchange for a story, invent something, make a fort in your room, draw a funny cartoon, write original jokes, invent a new type of dance, make clothing with a sewing machine, create a book club, create a mastermind group, write a blog post, write a song, devise a better way to deliver mail, come up with a new water toy for lakes, or make an bow. The possibilities are endless.

Will you join?

Join here!

About the Author

I'm lazy, but you can call me Stephen. When you're as lazy as I am, you need superior strategies to live well. My strategies are so effective that I'm productive every single day. As the world tries to figure out how to always stay motivated, I create strategies that don't require it.

Igor Glinsky

I love this. I’ve spent the last several months reading 10-25 various articles per day, and although they are good, edifying, contain valuable knowledge and insight… the whole time I’m thinking, “What if I was writing rather than reading?”

Thank you for this. It is a perfect kick-in-the-ass, get-to-it answer to the above question I’ve been asking myself

Stephen Guise

I’ve been in that same spot many times! It’s tough when you love to learn, because you could literally learn for a lifetime without actually doing anything.

Some nights I’ll bounce from article to article. I always have a little bit of regret when I do it, not because the articles weren’t good, but because at some point, I’ve got to apply what I learn and see what we I create that others can benefit from.

I’d imagine that most people’s consume/create ratio is very lopsided in the direction of consumption.

Igor Glinsky

I haven’t been able to nail it, but “regret” hits it spot on.

An art teacher did an experiment with one of his classes. He divided the class into two. One half would be graded on sheer quantity of clay pots produced (50 lbs = A; 40 lbs = B; 30 lbs = C; etc). The other half, on quality (proportionate sizing; thickness; volume; etc).

Any guesses who got the top grade?

That’s right: QUANTITY. I imagine they got both grades in fact. For while they are pumping out pot after pot (creating), they are making mistakes and learning and making bigger and better pots, with more ease.

Meanwhile, Quality group is sitting there reading about pots and looking at pictures of pots (consuming) and planning and thinking .. and then trying to go from zero to perfect pot in one go. In the end, they end up with a lump of clay and a failed assignment.

Just start doing it Igor! You’ll learn several thousand times more from experience than from books!

(NOTE: I love books, but they are intended to be a Servant and I have promoted them to Master. Time to demote)

Stephen Guise

Wow, that’s a fascinating story. Thank you for sharing that! I think I’m going to apply this concept to my writing. Often times, I hesitate because I only want to write “really good content.”

Here’s a good article on writing I think you might enjoy (it’s more reading, but it’s short and it’s about the subject of taking action).

Igor Glinsky

Nice! I read it, followed the link to the book, read the teaser they allow on Amazon, and succumbed to that little button that gets me every time: One-Click Order 😀

Thanks for the link! That is exactly the book I need for the place I am at. Cheers to CREATING a comment after CONSUMING material 😉

Stephen Guise

Oh, good choice! That is a great book. I’ve read it and I think I’ll read it again soon.

I also want to pick up Stephen King’s book, “On Writing.” I don’t read his books, but he’s obviously a great writer with a lot to teach about the craft (and people rave about the book).

Trevor Wilson

I like it Stephen! Seems like a good idea to me.

You’re absolutely right about creation vs. consumption. Consumption may be more prevalent in our society, but creation is infinitely more rewarding.

Chalk it up to the fact that we live in a world of instant gratification, but I believe the current trend towards consumption will only continue to grow. That makes the creators a rarer and rarer breed with each passing generation . . .

What a shame.


Nice article. I agree with a lot of the points you’ve made. Perhaps there should be a concerted effort to “create” a generation of more creative people. After all it’s the creative thinkers who problem solve and the world has a lot of problems to solve

Stephen Guise

Consumption probably will grow, especially as entertainment evolves to be even more immersing. It’s going to get more and more difficult to resist! But someone’s got to create the stuff, and with technology, the average person will have more ability to do it.

When you look at Youtube, there are a lot of content creators out there, so it isn’t all bad. Facebook I think is the worst platform as far as encouraging consumption and limiting creation. Thanks for your thoughts Trevor, and keep on creating! 🙂

Stephen Guise

I think there should be an effort to do that. It should start in school, but instead school teaches people to consume by teaching them while they passively sit in their seats and do nothing.

The most sensible “revolution” would be a new kind of school which was more interactive and pro-creative. Hopefully it could get enough steam to disrupt the current model. I think it could happen, but it would be very challenging with the way school and government tend to be tethered together at the hip. The government would probably need to support the idea. Or else people would need to be willing to pay a premium for their kids to get a “real, active education.” I know I would!

College is already being disrupted, and I’m glad, because I sit here with a fairly worthless (to me) Finance degree. There are 9 week programming boot camps that students come out of with jobs (90%+ get jobs) with $80k salaries. After NINE WEEKS. And it’s because they’re taught how to create something valuable.

Check it out here –

Wow I just read the article you linked to. That goes to show what can happen with some focus and a really useful teaching program.

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