Less consuming, more producing

Digitalisation makes it easy to consume content. Movies, podcasts, audiobooks, video games, magazines, newspaper articles, tutorials, social media updates are all one click (or tap, or swipe, or voice command, …) away.

The older I get the more I realise how the content I consume shapes me. This is both a boon and a curse. On the one hand I can educate myself about new topics and ideas during commute for personal and professional development—on the other hand I might read a hyperbolical news article at the breakfast table that might float around in my head for the rest of the day. All in all I feel that the amount of content I consume grows over time.

This growing amount of content makes it quite difficult to actually reflect. It feels like piling idea on idea in my head without actually deciding which idea I want to keep and which one I want to throw out again. Thus I am now reducing the amount of content I consume so that I have more time to process the content in my head.

[I]f you want to do something make a habit of it, if you don’t want to do that, don’t, but make a habit of something else instead.

The Stoic Epictetus knew that in case we want to get rid of a habit we don’t like, we replace it with a habit we like. After meditating on this for some time I realised that I want to be more creative. Thus I decided that I want to focus more on producing my own ideas instead of consuming the ideas of others.

Less consuming → more producing

So this is all quite theoretical. So I collected some practical ideas I am currently working on:

  1. I created this blog to be able to share and formalise thoughts. Just writing this blog article here allowed me to formalise the idea of less consuming → more producing. Publishing it gives importance to this new idea and makes it real.
  2. I started to play around with experimental approaches to content creation. E.g. I currently experiment with programming machine learning algorithm that can dream up images. This allows me to learn new technologies while having fun.
  3. I started to play D&D games both as a player and dungeon master. This allows me to invent creative stories together with friends instead of consuming predetermined stories of others via books, movies or video games.
  4. I started to write small songs for the Tin Whistle. So instead of playing tunes from others I am actually learning how to express my ideas and feelings in a piece of music. I expect that I will not create something that I would feel confident to share in the near future, but it still has a lot of value to create music for my self.
  5. I started to do zazen meditation. Meditation is not about producing, but I feel that meditation allows to better reflect on myself.