Are You Creating or Consuming?

I fly a lot – way too much for normal people. As a result, I get to see the extremes of human behavior. I joke that I’m a magnet for crazy people on airplanes. Usually, if there’s a wacky passenger on board, they’ll set next to me. As a result I’ve seen every weird habit, OCD trait, and activity you can imagine. On my last flight I sat next to a guy who had to wipe down his knife and fork for 2 minutes before he could use them.  But the thing I see most often are people watching movies or playing games on their iPad or smartphone. That’s fine, but I’m amazed at the number of hours people spend “consuming” rather than “creating.” I spend most of my time on planes preparing for client meetings, writing blog posts and scripts, or working on a book or presentation. I’m trying to create.

But so many people stopped creating years ago, and now simply consume the work of other people. There’s nothing inherently wrong with watching a movie or playing video games. The question is – when it comes to creating versus consuming, how much balance do you have in your life?

You don’t have to be a professional writer, filmmaker, or artist to create. Everyone needs time to daydream, make notes, and jot down ideas. Leaders, employees, housewives, students and more should spend more time thinking, and less time consuming.  In my experience, one of the biggest reasons people don’t advance in their careers is because they’re not developing original ideas and approaches to their job. They’re not being a good source of ideas for their boss.

Think about the balance. And next time you’re waiting at the doctor’s office, standing in line, or sitting on a plane – think twice about Angry Birds, and consider using that time to think about an idea that could change your world.