I recently ran into a great friend. She’s the kind of friend I know really well, but rarely see. She’s an incredible picture of leadership, kindness, and creativity.
To my surprise, within the first few moments of our conversation, she said, “You’re so good at doing your thing. It seems like every time you start something, you really do it.”
I was taken back. I quickly tried to hide behind the kind words with an overly humble response, “It’s easy to say that when you can’t see the graveyard of my work.”
“But you keep…making.” she replied.
Those words have stuck with me for the past several days. They meant a lot.
It’s important to grapple between how much we should create versus how much we should consume.
Society celebrates the creators and makers – engineers, entrepreneurs, artists, developers, etc. But it also tries to convince us that the more we consume, the more special we are.
Excess has become synonymous with security, and what we purchase has come to define our identity. But those mindsets stunt our development, cognitively and socially.
When you focus on consumption, you are at the center. Your world shrinks and your ability to relate to others atrophies. When you focus on making, your object or audience is at the center. The very nature of making helps you see beyond yourself. It gives you a new perspective on your world and surroundings.
So one of the greatest and most tangible signs of growth is when you learn how to make more of the things you consume.
This is why you enjoy seeing a friend trying a new recipe, or celebrate when you see someone perform something they’ve been practicing, or why you feel great when you finish working on an idea you conceived.
Making is a sign of progress.
Of course, you will also consume. A lot.
Food, music, books, technology, films, furniture, clothes, and so on. But the more you make, the more you see those things differently. You choose more carefully knowing that everything has a maker.
Three things to remember as you start making more:
GO. Get started on the hardest parts. Right now. Just do it. The sooner you start, the better.
BURSTS. You can’t always be making. Working longer doesn’t equate to better work. Schedule short bursts of time. Work hard. Then go do other good things to fill your head & heart.
SHIP. Set the deadline and the audience and then send your thing(s) into the world. Do it often. Even if it’s not perfect.