The Creative Imbalance We Need

It’s not news to any of us that the availability of information has been enhanced exponentially in our world, but what about the creation of new things? Forget about the unnecessary information that you may have thought of at first while reading that sentence. When it comes to journal articles for academic papers, I can probably count on one hand the number of times that I’ve searched the libraries for those. PSYCInfo, bless your soul.

However, none of us reads journal articles only on the daily, so getting back to the reality of our everyday lives, if you’re anything like me, you have three windows with a minimum of 34 tabs open on each on your laptop (yes, I counted). Your phone has 54 tabs open on Safari and and don’t get me started on the information available on all the social media platforms you actively use.

Photo by Domenico Loia

Let’s be honest, I will continue to have this many tabs open and I am genuinely grateful to be alive during the time of such incredible technological advancements. I mean, the “good ole’ days” are supposedly “golden” but 34 tabs beats five encyclopedias in my book. 

However, if you think about it, sometimes it feels like all of this consumption is draining your energy and your mind almost feels sluggish. It’s like after you’ve had a big meal and you can’t work any longer, except it’s your brain this time and the state is perpetual.

Photo by Nikko Macaspac

You probably get the idea but here’s an instance of this. For a long time, you can probably say that I was almost obsessed with productivity. I had consumed way too much information on the subject but did my habits ever change? For the most part, nope! 

Disappointment in myself is definitely an understatement of my feelings and yes, it felt like I was drowning in that information. I couldn't organize my thoughts to use the new knowledge I had obtained, so my productivity continued to be unsatisfactory. However, in a YouTube video posted on a channel called Pick Up Limes, I learnt about this simple concept which claims that there’s a ratio of consuming and creating, where consuming more than creating results in feeling drained. Everything suddenly made more sense to me.

Photo by Bart LaRue

The idea is that over-consumption of content often increases comparisons between us and others. This leads to feelings of insecurity of our abilities which contributes to the negative feelings we may experience due to over-consumption. According to the video, content is most effective just as inspiration, and only a little is needed for that. When it crosses that line, it’s too much and negative emotions then arise. While this may not be applicable for academic papers and studying course content, I’d like to think that the idea of “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is related.

Therefore, creating should outweigh consuming; the ratio should be unequal in favor of creating, and there should be an imbalance in favor of creating. This shift allows us to feel more motivated and by doing more, our confidence levels are bound to rise. More than this though, creating forms who we are. Here we are choosing where our attention should lie and what our intellect should produce. They say there is nothing new under the sun but whatever we create comes from us so this simple act done consistently allows us to question, improve and transform our character. The first step however, is being aware of your consumption and if you’re like me with hundreds of tabs where all aren’t journal articles, then maybe you’d want to start creating more.

Photo by Allie Smith

As you may have realized, one of the reasons I’ve started writing with this wonderful community is simply to create more; to release information, to shift the ratio, so that I am not drowning anymore. Your means can be through another art form: painting, singing, cooking or it can be unconventional to our ideas of creating like improving on a skill, learning a skill or creating a meaningful relationship, career or even community.

Photo by Jade Stephens

Whatever you choose to do, I hope that you consider this simple idea, which may definitely involve effort considering how comfortable it may be to over-consume. But this can only be rewarding for you, so let’s shift the balance to create our own world; our own being.