Successful people who live highly fulfilling lives, create more than they consume. When you create more than you consume, you not only enjoy financial and material success along with good health, but you also find lasting happiness and fulfillment.
We will first look at why you should create more than you consume and the benefits it has in your life. Then we will look at a step by step system that will help you create more than you consume without thinking about it.
The Story of Trachtenberg
Jakow Trachtenberg was the creator of the Trachtenberg system of doing arithmetic. The Trachtenberg system allows one to do complicated math lightning fast. The Mental Math Tricks in Ofpad is based on this system. What is amazing is that he developed this system in its entirety when he was in Hitler’s concentration camps. He had no pen or paper to work with. To help him keep his sanity, Trachtenberg moved into a world of numbers and logic. His body became weak with each passing day. He was surrounded by death and destruction. But he refused to accept defeat and he simply worked on his system.
Jakow Trachtenberg was able to make it out alive retaining his sanity because he did not stop creating. Many of the Holocaust survivors who experienced similar brutal conditions mention the key to their survival was having a sense of self-worth. Jakow Trachtenberg was able to keep his self-worth by creating. Creating doesn’t just make you feel alive, but it keeps you alive.
Creating Makes You Smart
You become smarter, when you create more than you consume because you use your brain in ways you normally don’t. Take for example cooking (creating) versus eating (consuming). When you cook you improve your culinary skills and form new connections in your brain that do not exist. When you eat you are not really using your brain as much. This applies to everything you create and consume. Singing versus listening to music, offering a service versus consuming a service, reading versus writing.
Sometimes, consumption like reading seems good when it actually isn’t. Reading seems good when compared with the time spent on social media. However when a lot of us read, it is just another form of mindless consumption. Rarely do we use or apply the information we read, and as time goes on, we remember very little of the information we spent hours consuming. Time spent on mindless reading ends up being just as wasteful as time spent on social media. Check out the post Knowledge is Power But Knowledge Without Action Is Useless for more on creating with the knowledge you consume.
Creating Makes You Rich
You automatically accumulate more wealth when you create more than you consume. Creating value for others is the only way to make money. The only exception to this is inheritance, gambling and crime. The amount of money you have now depends on the value you have created for others in the past. On the other hand consuming value will often cost you money. The more value you consume from the world around you, lesser the money you will have.
People who are rich create more value than they consume. If you do not create value, you will never be able to hold on to your wealth. This is the reason why people who win millions in a lottery, lose it all in a year. Lottery winners end up with a life worse than the one before their lottery win because they start to consume more value than what they create. They quickly become bankrupt and depressed in spite of their lottery win, because they don’t create more than you consume.
Consuming less should not be confused with frugality. Frugality centres around a mentality of scarcity. When you consume less, you are not trying to save, comparing prices of the cheapest toilet paper. You are instead spending money and energy on things that matter, instead of focusing on things that adds no value to your life. You are investing your resources to create more than you consume by dedicating fewer resources to consumption.
Death by Consumption
Consumption without any purpose is a waste. Most of our consumption is mindless and we often do it because we are bored. Certain forms of consumption will give you a bloated sense of self. For example when you consume the news, you feel good knowing things about the world. But it will not help anybody and the good feeling will disappear pretty fast. In the end, your consumption would have only distracted you from working towards your true goal.
Consumption will also give you the false illusion that you are doing something. But consumption is useless if it does not take you closer to your goal. Spending hours watching fitness videos will not help you build muscles. But it is easy to trick yourself into thinking that you are doing something for your fitness by just watching videos on YouTube.
I see in the fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables, slaves with white collars, advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.
– Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
What If You Suck At Creating?
In the beginning you have to give yourself permission to create junk. There is no avoiding this. There is an interesting story about ceramics teacher in the book Art & Fear.
A ceramics teacher announced that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.
His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pounds of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot — albeit a perfect one — to get an “A”.
When grading time came and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity!
It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work — and learning from their mistakes — the “quality” group had sat around theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
This extends to any form of creation and is not limited to ceramic pots. When you put in consistent work and learn from your mistakes you make steady progress towards your desired result. You will not be able to predict which work you produce will be good but by producing the volume you will hit the bulls-eye every now and then.
If you want to write something good, you can write a lot, learn from your mistakes and expect your writing to improve over time. In the beginning you might have to write 10 bad pages to find yourself writing one good sentence. Slowly but surely you will get better with time. However if you focus on writing one perfect book in your lifetime, you might never publish anything. If you want to run a successful business, then you need to be trying out different ideas by putting them into action. Overtime, you will realize what works and what doesn’t. If you spend a decade tweaking your perfect plan, you will never get started and your business has a high likelihood of falling flat on its face when you do set out to create.
Your aim should not be to achieve your perfect goal. Your aim should be to develop your skills over time by producing the volume of work. Don’t just think of the outcome that you desire. Instead think of the volume of the work that you will have to produce that will help you achieve the outcome that you desire.
What you create initially need not be good. Your skills and ability to create will improve with time. But the only way to get better is by constantly creating. Some call this practice while others call it being consistent. Professionals all start out as amateurs. Only consistent creation will improve the quality of what you create. In the second half of this post we will look at how to set up a system that will put creation on autopilot. You will achieve the results you want automatically over time without actively thinking about it.
What Counts As Creation
Anything you produce spending effort and time counts towards creation. Most of the time there is a definite output that will produced. If you are writing, there will be an article or book. If you are cooking there will be a meal. But sometimes the things you create need not be tangible. When you are working out, you are creating a healthy body. Though this is not really tangible, it is still creation.
Sometimes you might think you are creating when you are actually consuming. If you are doing research for your book, it might seem like you are creating. But only the actual effort spent towards producing the final output counts towards creating. When you are watching fitness videos on YouTube you are consuming. Only doing the actual workout counts towards creation. It is easy to fall into the trap of consuming to procrastinate creation. If you do this form of consumption long enough, you will feel depressed and unproductive pretty fast. To create more than you consume, it is important to clearly distinguish between creation and consumption.
CC Ratio To Create More Than You Consume
Consumption is sometimes necessary to create. Most people however get stuck consuming and do nothing to create. Research (consumption) is required to write a book (creation). But if you only research and don’t write, you will feel unproductive because you didn’t create more than you consume. Successful authors are creating something imperfect based on what they know. They then consume in the form of research and continuously improve the chapters of their book during editing. It helps to be aware of your creation to consumption ratio (CC ratio):
CC ratio = Amount of Time Spent Creating / Amount of Time Spent Consuming
To keep your CC ratio high, all you have to do is create more than you consume. This also means that the more you create, the more you deserve to consume.
The System – How to Create More Than You Consume Automatically
We have come to the second half of this post, where we will put all the things we learnt above, into a system you can immediately incorporate into your life. This system will help you create more than you consume on autopilot and you will find yourself achieving all your goals and desired outcomes without consciously thinking about it. There are 7 steps:
Where To Go From Here
The 7 step system covered above will help you create more than you consume in autopilot. Applying this system will help you achieve your goals without actively thinking about it. Check out the article Knowledge is Power next. It will help you harness the true power of the knowledge you consume by helping you apply it to your life. Consumption is not bad. Reading a good book, watching an inspiring movie, listening to great music & enjoying great food are all some of the simple pleasures in life. However each one of us have a tendency to consume a lot more than we create. But when we create more than you consume, we fulfil our life’s purpose and find lasting happiness & prosperity. Let us know how you plan to create more than you consume in the comments below.