It sounds paradoxical – being happy while consuming less. After all, how do we expect to feel satisfied at the end of the day if we don’t reward ourselves with the fruits of our labor? Well, turns out consumption is just one possible reward. And the key to discovering what’s even better lies in first removing as many distractions as possible.
Are you easily distracted?
Actually, we all are. We live in a society where dozens of distractions, online and offline, are vying for our attention at any given moment.
This is ironic, because the key to being satisfied at the end of the day is to exactly the opposite. The trick is to end each day having created something.
To sit down, focus and make something new is not easy. We constantly feel the need to be “entertained” with something new, cool or funny. Of course, this mass need of ours is taken care of very well by the media and entertainment industries.
Common weapons of mass distraction:
- TV shows and programs
- Various news outlets and channels
- Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
- The billions of webpages out there (including the entire blogosphere)
- Constant updates and alerts from our connected phones and tablets
- Endless incoming email, both personal and work related
It feels good to be “plugged in” – we feel connected to society. Unfortunately, this need for constant reassurance and reinforcement leaves no room for creating anything.
Even when we consciously decide to concentrate on a task, we easily fool ourselves into finding a few minutes to check on something (or someone). These few minutes turn into an hour, and the day quickly slips by.
We are so good at tricking ourselves that we even consider some sources of distraction to be essential consumption. Would-be writers try to hold off writing that novel until they finish just one more book on story structure. Wannabe web entrepreneurs never get past the domain registration stage, always looking for more tips and shortcuts that will magically protect them from failure.
So how do you find a healthy balance?
Set aside an hour a day during which you will not be distracted. Turn off the media consumption, and spend some time by yourself. Think of something which you like to create.
It doesn’t even have to be big.
How to start creating: some ideas:
- Starting a blog and updating it twice a week
- Creating a gallery of your photos (and taking new ones!)
- Writing a story, screenplay, poem, or song
- Doing arts and crafts: sketching, painting, carving something out of wood
- Bringing something back to life: fixing old machinery, repairing cars
There is a magic to creating anything at all. To launch something into the world that had never before existed. Something you can call your own.
As you build and create, you will wonder why you wasted so much time on pointless distractions. You will become even more confident in your own abilities, and uncover talents you did not know you had.
Most importantly, you will have something to show at the end of the day. If not to others, then to yourself.
And there’s hardly a better feeling out there.
Less consumption, more creation
Note: genuine social interaction is also more satisfying than endless consumption of entertainment. Take every chance to spend some quality time with friends and family – create some new memories!