I love to read. I read a book about every two weeks. They tend to be business, psychology or personal development books because that is what I am interested in. I truly enjoy reading and that is why I am able to get through books relatively quickly. However, I have started to realize a problem with this, I read too much. Most people don’t view reading too much as a problem, but it definitely can be if it is preventing you from what you should spend the majority of your day doing; creating.
Don’t get me wrong, I think reading is great and ABSOLUTELY necessary to become a healthy and well-rounded person. However, spending all of your leisure time reading allows you to FEEL PRODUCTIVE without actually creating anything tangible to show from it.
Gaining knowledge is just the first step in obtaining your ideal life. I consider this the CONSUMPTION PHASE. You realize that you have a passion for cooking, hiking, writing, business, etc. and you start to read books, blogs, and magazines all about this topic to learn what other people are doing or saying about it. This can be an exciting time because you are joining a community that shares your passion. You start to learn new aspects of your passion that you never knew existed before. Since this is something that you care about, you want more and more. You want to learn new secrets and tricks that only this unique community knows about. This is not a bad thing. All this knowledge will feed your passion and keep you pushing forward.
The problem comes when you need to make the jump from consumption to creation. Most communities have more information floating around in them than we can consume in a lifetime. We trick ourselves into thinking that we need to know everything before we can start creating. That is completely false. Start creating as early as possible. If someone else has already created something similar, oh well. You will have learned from the process and no one will be worse off just because more information is out there. Creating presents opportunities and learning experiences that consumption never can. It is extremely important that you take the knowledge that you have learned from reading and CREATE something with it.
What good is all the knowledge in the world if you never share your thoughts with others?
What good are skills if you never put them into practice?
What good is ambition and drive to pursue something you are passionate about if you never get past the consumption phase?
But creating is scary. You have to show someone your creation, and they might think it is bad. You are opening yourself up to others and becoming vulnerable to criticism. That is scary. When you get to this point stop and think, “what is the worst thing that could happen?” It is never as bad as you initially make it out to be in your mind.
You cook something new and it is not your spouse's favorite. Oh well, you learned something new and you can try a different recipe for the next meal.
You write a short story and your friend is less than impressed. If he/she is a caring person than they will probably be supportive and give you pointers on how to improve. Not that bad.
You play your first song on guitar and everyone listening is not quite sure what it is supposed to be. They will probably play it off and pretend you are great.
Why do your friends and family respond this way? Because they care about you. People respect others that create. They will be supportive because they know how hard it is to put yourself out there. It is very admirable.
The fear of judgment prevents us from doing so many wonderful things in our lives. Do you really think that your TRUE friends are going to treat you any differently because you aren’t immediately great at something? If they do treat you differently, then you need new friends. What will actually happen is they will be impressed that you tried and will probably become inspired to create something of their own.
When you create something and share it with others, you step out of your comfort zone which forces you to grow. It also makes you feel alive. You get a rush from putting something out there and getting feedback. It is a good kind of scary. When someone compliments you for your creation, it feels great.
You can either go through life, never creating and protecting yourself, or you can create, share and feel alive. Don’t stop at the consumption phase. Create something and put yourself out there. You won’t regret it.
Make sure you create a balance in your day. You only have so much free time to do what you want to do, make sure that at least half of that is spent creating something. What have you dreamed of creating or developing?
Photo by Alice Dietrich