How is your energy lately? Do you wake up feeling ready to tackle the day? Do you treat each interaction and project as if it’s an opportunity for growth and inspiration? Do you look forward to each new day as a renewed chance to slay it and create something new?
If you’re anything like the majority of people recently clotheslined by this pandemic and the seemingly endless economic shutdown, then your answer is probably a resounding, “NO.”
This is completely understandable. Many of us are out of work, stuck at home, and just wondering when this is all going to be over. Though I do believe that Covid has heightened a feeling of malaise in many of us—along with a sense of hopelessness and meaninglessness for some—I would argue that it has mainly served to uncover an insidious problem that has been percolating under the surface all along.
What problem am I talking about? CONSUMPTION VS. CREATION.
Fact: the ability to develop confidence and go after you want in life is dependent upon physical, emotional, and mental energy.
More simply stated: you cannot do this work if you’re drained. PERIOD.
Just take a moment and think about how much we consume in a given day:
- You want food? It’s there in a package.
- You want entertainment? It’s literally in your pocket.
- You want the appearance of a connection? Sign onto one of your several social media accounts.
We live in an era of almost hyperbolic abundance and convenience. Anything you can hope to consume with your five senses is available to you in an instant at any given moment. Is that an amazing advance that we should be thankful for? Absolutely (after all, it is part of what keeps me in business, and I am hugely thankful for that).
Is it also, however, antithetical to the way we have evolved over the history of mankind, overwhelming to our nervous systems, and neglectful of our physical needs? Yes.
In order to steer the ship of your life—whether that includes interacting with others, solving problems, collaborating, expressing an idea, or simply going from task to task—you must put energy into every action that you take.
If you truly want to live your life with confidence, you need to strike a balance between that tempting pull toward convenience and the human impulse to create.
When you give into constant consumption, you might get a short-lived sense of relief or relaxation—who doesn’t love a little Netflix & chill? Without an uplifting, inspiring, soul-feeding endeavor to balance that passive consumption, however, that quick hit of energy will wear off just in time for you to realize that you’ve settled into a more downward spiral of passivity and energy loss.
Just consider the positions we tend to assume when we’re consuming. Sure, sometimes we’re running, walking, or otherwise working out—but the majority of the time, we’re sitting or lying down . . . and a body at rest tends to stay at rest.
So, how do we shift our love for consumption toward a more equitable balance with action and creativity?
Well, for starters, make a list of all of the things you do to create. Do you like to make music, paint, write, or play a sport?
Some people express their creativity through the way they do their hair or the clothes they wear or the way they move their bodies. What is that outlet for you?
“Creativity” does not have to be all about making something that you would display in an art museum—it’s all about recognizing the energy that’s moving through you and letting that energy out in a constructive way.
Once you have a list of the things you do to express your unique creativity, use those mediums to interpret and interact with everything you’ve been consuming.
What do I mean by that? Let your consumption fuel your creativity.
Simply use your creativity to channel a positive and productive use of your consumption.
- Do you love to converse with people?
- Maybe that creative endeavor can be used to start a podcast or conduct a set of interviews on a certain topic you’ve been following.
- Are you a natural organizer?
- Maybe that creative impulse can be used to fuel a trivia night on recent events for your coworkers or a brainstorming event to help a cause you recently read about.
Whatever it is that fuels your inner fire, you must commit to engaging in it during this age of consumption. It is the only way to let that creativity out and balance the non-stop barrage of white noise that bombards us on a daily basis.
“But what if I’m not a creative person?!”
This is not a time when you can easily hide behind one of the false narratives to which you’ve subscribed in your own mind.
We all have the potential for creativity—discovering yours is just a matter of accepting that no two creative impulses look alike.
Maybe you have a friend who’s a successful novelist; maybe you know someone who writes concertos; maybe went to high school with someone who’s famous in Hollywood. That’s awesome—good for them. Their creativity, however, has nothing to do with you, so don’t compare yourself to them or confine yourself to a limited definition of creativity that excludes your gifts.
When you go out and tend to your garden or play with your children or flirt with your spouse—yes, I’m serious—you’re actually being incredibly creative (while also adding a great deal of beauty to the lives of those closest to you).
Don’t diminish that!
Even when you solve a problem in the workplace, you’re being creative. The reason you’ve stopped recognizing your own creativity from day to day is that you’ve been spending too much time in consumption.
When you do nothing but take things in, there is no room for silence.
The silences—those little pauses that allow for thought and analysis—are the birthplaces of creative ideas.
Once you make room for those creative ideas and they start to flow, you have to take advantage immediately and put them into practice.
Too often, we allow our creative impulses to masquerade as frivolous daydreams.
When you see an opportunity for creativity, you need to jump on it. You may not be the next Mozart or Meryl Streep or Steve Jobs . . . but you can still vastly improve the quality of your life, stop the endless cycle of mindless consumption, and significantly boost your sense of accomplishment and confidence by giving that creative impulse an outlet.
Let’s shift the mindset that diminishes our potential for creativity; let’s prioritize action over consumption; let’s support our creative pursuits and see where they take us!
As always, I ask that you share your thoughts and questions in the comments below. What activities fuel you on a deep level? How has consumption squelched your creative voice? What is something you can do today to rekindle that fire of creativity? If you’d like to take a deeper dive into your confidence work—or if you lack the confidence to put your creative pursuits out into the world—please check out my website, DrAziz.com. There, you can also access my free eBook, 5 Steps to Unleash Your Inner Confidence, which is dedicated to helping you access your most confident self, starting today.
Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.