Prasanna Natarajan

Creating vs Consuming

You know how the world is supposed to work?

People who don’t have money should try to earn it by creating as much value to others as possible. And people who have lots of money should be laid back and watch netflix and chill.

But that’s not how it is right now, is it?

People who don’t have money decide they’ll never become rich and so, lay back, and watch netflix and chill. And people with lots of money spend every waking moment in pursuing more wealth because they experience life as the biggest gift and work to get more out of it. They are all about minding their own business’ business.

Love it or hate it (I hate it), the law of this particular Universe that we live in is that, to get more value out of life, you have to produce more value for other lives. This shitty law holds for 100% of all people.

I’d love to sit in a couch and watch all great movies and play chess online all the time. I’d love to workout in the gym, eat healthy and stay fit. I could care less about these other people. So far I’ve been doing just about right value creation for others to make me live my self-centered life.

But now, I want more. I want more money and more everything. More relationship, more time, more creativity, more fun, more properties etc. And I realise that this is directly proportional to the value I create. There’s no other legal way to get around this Universal law.

Either I could create huge value for a handful of people, or create moderate value for a lot of people. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I provide value equivalent in size to the life I desire.

With the 24-hour day restriction, and “any time heart-attack” life restriction around, I now think it’s a real bad way to spend life consuming stuff. Be it watching movies, listening to songs, reading books/blogs, playing games or watching youtube/netflix/amazonprime, scrolling through fb/tweets/instagrams and laughing to comedians (and maybe watching porn).

Yes, I’ll miss out on watching the greatest movie, reading the “this could change your life” book and other stuff that others put out.

But I’d rather be the guy putting out the movie, book, blog or software. That adheres with the law. Some people may find what I create useful, and if they don’t I can learn more and create better.

Hold on. Is learning too consuming? It is. You could get trapped easily being the forever-learner. Or you could say “I’m just starting out, what the hell will I create?” Yes, in this case what you create will be shit or non-existent shit.

But in this learner mode, you could still create stuff about things you are learning. You can put out to the world what you are learning, as a blog post, a video or a podcast or a comic zine. You could even conduct a session to your colleagues about what you learnt. This is how you learn other more important life-skills.

By putting out a blog post, you’ll learn about creating websites and improve your writing and presentational skills. By creating a video and putting it out to youtube, you’ll learn about video creation/editing process, you’ll become thick-skinned and become less self-conscious, and learn to take tough feedback with a straight face early on. By conducting a workshop or a training session, you’ll learn the all-important skill of public speaking. These multiplier skills will allow you to spread what you create to even more people in the future. And that means more money.

So, the only decent way to live life is to either create value, or learn things to create value. Consumption is just masturbation.

It is no small task to jump off of the consumption bandwagon and jump in on the creation wagon. It’s a huge mindset shift. It’s an addiction you’ll have to break. Just think for a second how many youtube/fb/whatsapp videos you watched in the past 2 days?

And to make matters worse, the creators want you to keep consuming. That’s how they can get money from you.

TV networks want you to watch movies and directors want you to keep thinking and talking about their latest movies.

Youtube has the Autoplay button turned on by default. In mobile, and now in desktop, they keep playing the current video in the bottom corner even if you are just searching for other videos. They don’t want you to be disengaged with their product even for a second.

Facebook and instagram videos play just by scrolling.

All tvs now have netflix and amazon apps by default.

So yes, it’s not going to be an easy task to stop consuming and start creating. But being at the rock bottom, you can only go up. Start with a 30 day challenge to not watch youtube and other favorite sites. I dumped youtube, reddit, hacker news, fb and twitter.

Instead, start putting out stuff for others. Anything that you think might be useful to them. And learn to get good at packaging what you create. Learn to write, learn to shoot a photo/video, learn to speak in public and learn to learn.

And know this: creating and learning new things might give you a better high than consuming. You’ll start realising it once you start. It can become an addiction, and it’s worth getting addicted to.