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Consume less, Create more
How a simple goal helped me start to write after a decade of hiding behind fear.
About a decade ago, on a dark and damp winter afternoon, I was sat alone on a park bench.
I had just finished a long walk, and as was my habit then, I had been listening to a podcast.
I was close to home but I was so into the unfolding story that I now lingered here to listen to the end.
Around me, people were shuffling along to wherever they were going, their breaths condensing in the night air.
And, in that moment, I realised I wanted to tell stories too.
I too wanted to create.
As soon as the podcast ended, I took out my phone and started to record some of my own thoughts.
The problem was my voice came out shaky and as loud as a whisper; I felt embarrassed that the people walking by might hear me.
Later that evening, I listened to the recordings and I deleted them immediately. They sounded terrible.
I had fallen into the trap of comparing my first step with the work of people years into their creative journey.
I had quit before I had even begun.
I wish I could say that I pushed through that initial block but I didn’t. I went on with my life and I buried my desire to create.
My fears had won that round.
Throughout the years, my desire to create continued to live within me, occasionally coming back up for air and reminding me it wasn't dead.
I dabbled in a few personal projects but I felt them to be false starts. I made the mistake of never showing my work, so they fizzled out.
Eventually, my desire got drowned out by my consumption of other people's books, podcasts, posts, films and stories.
For me, as I suspect it is for many people, to consume was easier.
To consume is the easy option.
We live in a world where everything is designed to make consumption as frictionless as possible.
Scroll a feed, like a post, or watch a video; it’s all so easy that there’s almost no choice.
Consuming becomes the default.
A few years later I was working in the Tech industry. I too contributed to the massive amounts of energy that goes into reducing that gap between you and the almighty click.
Everybody is fighting for your attention—and, if I’m being honest, I’m doing the same right now.
My point isn't that consuming is bad or that I'm against frictionless consumer experiences. I prefer ease of use as much as the next person.
My point is that it’s a one-sided affair.
In my experience, this avalanche of consumption tends to promote mindlessness and excess.
My feed became endless and I got lost in that one-way traffic.
Then, over the past year, I felt I needed to change that. To stand up somehow; to establish a counterweight; to seek reciprocity.
To have more of a dialogue.
It took me several years but back in September, I felt it was time to stop hiding behind fears.
I was determined to start Seeking Wisdom, this newsletter.
The best thing I did was to commit to a simple goal.
No matter what, I was going to publish something every Saturday for three months—a total of 12 articles in 12 weeks. (I'm on number 10, in case you're wondering).
Now that I am almost there, I am shocked at how much the simple act of writing once a week in public has been like holding a mirror to my self.
It has forced me to confront my fears and move beyond them.
What will people think?
The truth is, no one cares about what I’m doing. And I mean that in the best way possible. Realising that has been freeing.
Will it be good enough?
So far, I have yet to write something I'm satisfied with. But that's fine because, by the time I've finished one week, I immediately have a new piece to write.
I try my best whilst writing the thing, but the deadline ensures perfectionism is left at the door.
Will I be interesting enough?
It isn't about me. I might be sharing stuff from my life but I am only doing that as a way to hopefully make it more relatable to you.
I’d like to think it’s about possibility.
This project has me buckled on a journey I don't fully control.
I swing on the pendulum between excitement and doubt—but at least I feel forward momentum.
An unfolding journey of discovery.
When I started, I had no idea what to write about; I still don't.
But that doesn’t matter.
Back on that park bench, I was blocked by viewing the creative act as a competition. As a result, I approached it from a place of fear.
But now I’m starting to appreciate it as a personal endeavour.
It's about making sense of what we consume, the things we experience, and the people we meet.
It is to return the tennis ball across the net.
The act of creation forces you to stop consuming and to sit with yourself for a minute.
What do you think?
What do you feel?
Tell me why that’s important to you.
On my side, there is no doubt that I will continue. The act of doing this has already given me so much that I now must see where it will take me.
If that means standing up to my fears, then so be it! It’s so worth it.
To create is an expansive act.
For yourself and for the people your work will touch.
I hope you got something valuable from this post.
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Be well, thank you for reading 🙏