We live in a society that teaches and trains us to constantly consume.
We consume lots of food, lots of sweets, and drink more than usual. We buy and receive gifts and buy things for ourselves.
Most of us have way more than we need but consuming is fun. It gives us pleasure. However, we have to keep our consuming in balance.
The 7 Deadly Sins
If you have ever heard of the seven deadly sins, they are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth.
They are natural human desires taken to excess.
- Confidence taken to an extreme is pride or arrogance.
- Desire for wealth taken to an extreme is greed.
- Physical attraction taken to an extreme is lust.
- Desire of other’s possessions or traits is envy.
- Rest and relaxation taken to an extreme is
- Anger taken to an extreme is wrath.
- Finally, consumption taken to an extreme is gluttony.
We all need to consume to survive. And, consuming is pleasurable. However, consuming too much is unpleasurable. Too much of anything makes us feel bad.
And, more importantly, the feeling of pleasure does not last. Food only tastes good while you are eating it. The pleasure only lasts a few minutes.
The opposite of consuming is creating.
Creating is when we apply our skill and effort to create something of value. Creating brings us joy, and joy is a feeling that lasts.
Consuming evokes pleasure which is always and only temporary. Creating evokes feelings of joy which last.
Consuming is passive and requires no thought, effort, or skill. Creating, on the other hand, requires thought, effort, and skill.
From Consuming to Creating
There are partial levels of creating that require increasing amounts of thought, effort, and skill.
Contributing is when we lend a hand or add our talents to a group effort. We are not leading the group or responsible for the outcome.
Collaborating is when we are partially responsible for the outcome and feel invested in making the project a success. We give a higher level of thought, effort, and skill.
Coordinating is when we are responsible for the outcome but aren’t required to do the work. We are implementing others’ ideas to create something of value. Coordinating requires thought, effort, and skill but lacks full ownership of the idea or vision.
Creating is when the vision of what is to be created is ours, and we take complete ownership and responsibility to make sure it happens. We don’t do 100% of the work, but we take 100% responsibility for making sure the vision is created.
When we move from consuming towards creating, we feel greater and greater satisfaction and joy with both the effort we make and the outcome we receive.
Finding A Balance Between Consuming and Creating
We can’t spend all of our time consuming or creating. We must find a balance.
If all we do is consume, we are gluttons and receive less and less pleasure in consuming. If we spend all of our time creating, then we become tired and weary and lose our creative power.
Here’s the Midlife Lesson:
Life is meant to be a balance of work and play, of creating and consuming. Consuming brings temporary pleasure and creating brings lasting joy. Balancing both makes each of them better.
Here’s the Mighty Challenge of the Day:
- Consider how much time you spend creating versus consuming. Are you keeping them in balance?
- In the work that you do, where do you fit along the creating continuum?
- Can you take greater ownership of what you do to achieve a higher level of creating which will give you a higher sense of satisfaction and more joy?