There is a happiness and contentment that sets in when you stop trying to fill the discontent in your soul by consumption — and instead focus your energy on creation.
Consumption : the utilization of economic goods in the satisfaction of wants or in the process of production resulting chiefly in their destruction, deterioration, or transformation.
~As defined by Merriam Webster
Consuming as a past time doesn’t contain the sustenance necessary to keep us satisfied for long. We never quite get our fill when our main objective in life is to consume by upgrading our possessions. We upgrade our car, our house, our job, our clothes, our TVs, etc., etc., etc.
As soon as we obtain the latest object of our desire, our sights are set on the next *thing* to upgrade. Of course this means our energy, time and resources will be allocated to our next upgrade as well. We never quite make it though, do we? We upgrade, decide what our next upgrade will be…and round and round we go.
Creating, on the other hand, allows you to tap into the part of yourself that is uniquely you. As if that’s not motivation enough to make creating a priority in your life, consider that creating also allows you offer something of meaning to the world. This is something consumption can never do.
Think about it. Have you ever felt that you touched people’s lives by purchasing a more expensive house? Maybe it helped the real estate agent, but other than that — you’ll now have more house to pay for, clean, maintain, heat, cool and insure. All of these responsibilities take a tremendous amount of time and energy, don’t they?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy cleaning and maintaining more house than I need. The more of my time I have to spend tending to a bigger house (and working longer hours to pay for it) the less time I have to do things I truly enjoy — like playing with my kids, traveling, going for walks and writing.
Each and every one of us is inherently creative. As children we create uninhibited, just for the joy of creation.
Many times, as we grow older we lose that creative spark. Maybe it’s due to the rigors of school, or the logical nature of most jobs, but the imagination from our childhood is oftentimes lost — or least substantially toned down by the time we reach adulthood.
I believe many of us lose our aptitude for creativity because we become addicted to consumption — rather than creation — as a means to focus our lives. There are many reasons for this, some of which we’ll discuss later this week.
For today, let’s stick with the idea that creativity = happiness and consumption = discontent.
Over the next few days, I challenge you to think about what you enjoyed doing as a child. Was it drawing, building with LEGOS, writing, rolling down hills, playing with friends, riding your bike, building sand castles or cooking? Something else?
After you’ve remembered the activities you enthusiastically engaged in as a child, try to recollect how participating in those activities made you feel.
Chances are they made you feel pretty darn good, or else you wouldn’t have willingly spent your free time engaging in them.
Do you remember feeling like there were no limits to what your world could be? What if you could recapture that feeling?
Shift your focus from consumption to creation, and watch the world start to unfold in ways you never dreamed possible. Step outside of the whirling merry-go-round of working, spending and accumulating and immerse yourself in the possibilities of a life free from the vicious cycle.
Once you get a taste of the utter bliss and freedom this exercise brings, your world will begin to shift. Even if the shift begins only in your mind and perspective of the world.
Over-consumption is hard to resist. The intoxicating allure of feeding our addictions to over-consumption can be harder than expected to break. Later this week we’ll talk more about why this cycle is so addictive and look at some specific steps you can take to begin shifting your focus from consumption to creation.