Culture is “the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon man’s capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations”
~ Webster’s Dictionary
Consumption is a potent silent killer. In all its forms, it slowly reels us in and lights us up, but it never satisfies. It’s the addiction that can fuel your day and fill you with fleeting motivation, skipping from one stimulus to the next until you burn out.
The question is, when do we stop consuming and start producing?
The trouble is, we consume in order to produce; therefore consumption turns into procrastination.
Seemingly difficult, a change in our mind’s eye creates a world of thriving opportunity.
Cultural Tendencies To Consume
Culture itself has varied definitions. Two of my favorites are: from Webster’s Dictionary, “the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon man’s capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations,” and from Chamber’s Dictionary, “the attitudes and values that inform a society.”
Simple, really–yet so powerful to think of the raw, pure significance that our mind, choices and actions have on society. “Pop” culture, however, for diverse reasons unrelated to the good of humanity, has created a culture of consumption that perpetuates drained resources and shallow bouts of pleasure derived materialistically and engrained mentally.
A culture of material abundance is also bursting with information–similarly it comes in good, bad, free, cheap and pricey forms.
I’ve spent too many hours of too many days consuming endless information online, offline–everywhere. I love every bit of it, and there is always more. I’ll stay up too late and wake up too early to quench a thirst for intellectual stimulation.
After bouts of binge information consumption, my mind is drained, I am physically fatigued (although exercise is part of the equation) and it feels like most of the information is lost in a whirlwind of archived notes and scattered thoughts. What a mess.
There are countless people who suffer from the same procrastination habits guised as productive learning. We learn, learn, learn and tell ourselves and/or others that we will create when the time is right.
But when is the time going to be right? There is endless knowledge to consume; endless hours of preparation and endless hours of planning that coincide with the addiction of consuming knowledge. Contrary to balance being the last thing you want, there has to be a balance between consumption and production.
There is no escaping consumption. Learning is the first step to liberating from convention, opening your mind to new patterns of understanding, self-knowledge and belief. The next step to freedom is taking that knowledge, forming your uniquely extraordinary intention and putting it into action.
We also have to be extra careful of what we consume. There is a lot of timely junk and a lot of timeless quality. Seek the good stuff (like Mind the Good Life
Maybe you’ve read up, gone to seminars, met and listened to people, taken classes and revealed a sense of who you are and what you stand for. If you’ve done these things, or a handful of them, you’re ahead of the game.
It’s easy to consume. It feels great, as well. But does it contribute to culture and does it transmit knowledge to succeeding generations? When you creatively produce, you have something to show for your efforts and achieve these ends. Even if it’s a bit rough around the edges, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful or to make a difference.
The highest learning comes from doing. When you produce more than you consume, sooner than later you will becoe a greater expert with a whole, rounded, grounded understanding in your forte, greater than you would ever achieve from merely consuming.
The battle between consumption and production is nothing new–millions of people struggle with this dilemma. Some consume for eternity and never create, while others create abundantly with little consumption.
What endless research and human experience proves is that creating what matters to others and oneself in a way unique and true to an individual provides the individual and society with the fullest benefits.
Create what matters. Create what is timeless. Create what speaks to you. Create what helps others. Create what empowers one, or empowers the world. Consume what supports your craft. Consume what nourishes life, and produce accordingly.
When you create, when you share, when you work – you invest your time, mind and energy. These are your greatest assets.
Make them count, make them worthy, and make them heard.
If someone is negative or unappreciative, practice patience and compassion through understanding. Try to help them understand, or if they are helpless, walk away. Don’t spend your life investing in the wrong areas.
As we must be careful of where we distribute our energy, we must also remember that none of us are entitled to greatness or recognition. We have to work hard and master character traits that organically gain our recognition to match our offerings.
That said, find your people, find those who understand and appreciate what you have to offer and work and share with them, continually innovating while expanding that circle.
If you’re looking for more information or help with these concepts, check the MTGL archives (sidebar on the right).
Everything on Mind the Good Life deals with personally investing time, mind and energy into areas of greatness–awareness, understanding, creation, sharing.
To consuming, producing, sharing and investing in mindfully embracing the good life :~)
What do you create? What will you create?