- Thoughts for inspired living

August 18, 2010

Consume – Create

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:41 am

It doesn’t appear at first glance that “Consume” and “Create” are polar opposites, but it seems to be the case.

Sometimes consumption is a precursor to creativity, as in the case of education, but for the most part, you cannot consume and create at the same time. They live on opposite ends of a continuum.

Let’s look on the fringes of each.

A total consumer displays no creativity. Take the couch potato who consumes countless hours of mindless TV and sups on foods and beverages filled with empty calories. They are stuck in a pattern of consumption from which no creativity can flow.

Take the textbook example of their opposite – they create without consuming. Think of the genius artist who goes hours and days on end producing their masterpiece without consuming anything, except stimulants to keep them going – like coffee, for example.

These examples are easy to imagine, but it gets more difficult to discern as we move away from the edges.

We have to find our own optimum mix of creation and consumption to feel a sense of balance in our lives. Too much of either leaves little room for the other.

We require both for balance.

For the most part, we lean heavily in the direction of consumption. We are a conditioned culture of consumers. Consumers have a need to be stimulated at all times without contributing any creativity. There is no need to think for ourselves and we are easily led.

Advertising loves this.

There is an old business axiom that underscores how consumption lines the pockets of the few. It goes like this: “If you market to the masses, you eat with the classes.”

Simply put, if your product appeals to the majority, you will make enough money to afford a high priced lifestyle.

Marketers know that most of us are consumed by consumption and they count on it to make their handsome living.

This isn’t about advertising and marketing; it’s about you.

How well do you balance consumption and creativity? If you are heavily into one, you are ignoring the other and are out of balance.

I’ve mentioned the term, “Shadow Artist” before, coined by author, Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist’s Way.” It’s someone who lives in the shadow of someone else’s creativity and doesn’t create anything of their own. They are a consumer.

Oftentimes, this is a self image issue where the person believes they are incapable of anything creative, and also believe anything they produce will be dwarfed by others.

The piece they miss is that creativity builds on creativity. Remember: With the exception of The Monkees and a handful of others, all bands with national reputations began as local bands.

That’s another way of saying that small pieces of creativity lead to larger ones.

Notice your amount of consumption and you take the first step towards being more creative. Just by observing that you are engaged in consumptive behavior is often enough to spark creativity. Creativity comes when you create a space for it. When you move consumption aside for a moment, you enter the empty space that produces creativity.

The empty page and the empty canvas won’t fill up on a diet of consumption.

If you are looking to write a new chapter for your life or to paint a different picture, you’ll need creativity. A good start is to reduce your consumption.


All the best,



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