Why You Should Stop Being a Consumer and What You Should Do Instead – How to Be Happy Series (Part 9)

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stop being a consumer

Do you spend most of your free time watching TV or series on Netflix?

If so, I have just one question for you:

Do you think you’re going to lie on your deathbed thinking, “I wish I had spent more time watching TV”?

I doubt so.

There will likely be many things you wish you had done (and being glued to your TV screen won’t be one of them).

You probably wished you had spent more start creating things or designing the life that you want rather than being a mindless consumer.

Sadly, in today’s society, the main focus is on consuming things. It seems that we can never get enough. We buy a new sports car hoping it’s going to make us happy, only to get bored of it a few months later. Or we consume movies or information in excess. The problem is that it never brings us the fulfillment we’re seeking.

This never-ending desire to consume is due to a phenomenon called hedonic adaptation. In the beginning, we’re excited about getting new things. It makes us feel good for a week, a month, or even several months.

However, we eventually go back to our happiness baseline. Returning to our baseline leads us to buy the next new gadget in hopes of experiencing a new rush of excitement. This strategy is not a sustainable one.

The benefits of choosing creation over consumption

We can experience a more profound sense of fulfillment when we shift our focus from producing to consuming.

As human beings, we love to create. We enjoy using our minds to come up with new ideas, and we need a vehicle through which we can express ourselves.

We’re born creators. So it makes sense that we feel unfulfilled when we’re forced to spend most of the day at a tedious job with little room for creativity.

But we aren’t just creators of art or products; we’re also the creators of our own lives. We can create the career we want and design a life of meaning. We have the power to turn the things we imagine into reality.

Unfortunately, most people neglect their creative power. As a result, they feel powerless, stuck at an unfulfilling 9-to-5 job from which there seems to be no escape. They use little, if any, of their creative power at work and do little more than stare at a TV screen when they return home.

Becoming a creator of your life

Did you know that, according to a 2012 survey, Americans watch TV for an average of five hours per day?! Over the course of a lifetime, the average American will have spent the equivalent of sixteen years watching TV.

Now, how much do you think these sixteen years contribute to the average American’s happiness? What is it worth?

We can test this out right now. Count the number of hours you spent watching TV, Netflix, or YouTube videos in the past seven days. Then, ask yourself the following:

  • Could I have used this time to do something more productive?
  • In hindsight, how much happiness did I get from that?
  • How do I currently benefit from the time I spent watching TV? Am I better off now than I was seven days ago?

You may now realize that watching TV doesn’t bring you as much happiness as you thought.

Imagine what you could create if you were to spend even a fraction of the time you spend watching TV doing something more productive. You could spend time learning new skills. You could work on a side business you’re excited about, or you could create art, build furniture, or write a book. By allowing you to express your creativity, these activities will provide you with a more profound sense of fulfillment than just watching TV.

While you won’t be in this world anymore, what you’ve created might last for generations. How would you feel about having something to leave to your children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren?

So, if you want to design a fulfilling life, it’s crucial to see yourself as a creator rather than a powerless victim of society. Here are some examples of what a creator does:

  • A creator shoots videos on YouTube; a consumer watches them.
  • A creator writes books; a consumer reads them.
  • A creator makes and sells products; a consumer buys them.
  • A creator makes art; a consumer buys it.
  • A creator knows what they want and proactively sets specific goals to ensure that they get results. A consumer has no concrete goals and merely trudges through life hoping for the best.
  • A creator works on their side business before and/or after work, a consumer watches TV or marathons shows on Netflix.
  • A creator thinks, “How can I give more?”, a consumer thinks, “How can I buy more?”
  • A creator builds assets through their creative work; a consumer accumulates debt.
  • A creator continuously learns new skills in their spare time; a consumer wastes countless hours doing unproductive things.

The bottom line is that you’re the creator of your life, and unless you realize it, you’ll get stuck in an endless cycle of consumption that will leave you feeling dead inside. You weren’t born to be a consumer; you were born to be a creator! The world is waiting for you to express your creativity.

Remember, as you lie on your deathbed you won’t wish you spent more time watching TV or series on Netflix. So, reclaim your creative power and design the life you were meant to live.

Exercise – Work on a creative project 

This week, I invite you to start working on a creative project.

Is there a creative project you’ve been putting off? Do you have a book idea in the back of your mind that you’ve never dared to write? Or maybe you want to start working on a side business you’re passionate about.

Spend thirty minutes to sixty minutes a day working on a creative project for a week. For best results, work on it in the morning before going to work. That will enable you to start your day on a positive note. It will also allow you to avoid the temptation to procrastinate after a hard day’s work. Before I quit my job last June, I spent 45 minutes every morning writing books.

Feel free to check out my book Wake Up Call in which I explain how you can create a daily morning ritual that will support your goals and increase your level of fulfillment.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article! If it helped you in any way, feel free to share it with friends, family, or anyone you think will benefit from it. I’d love to know how your creative project goes, so please let me know in the comments section!

If you haven’t yet, check out the other articles in the How to Be Happy Series:

  1. Why Am I Not Happy With My Life? (Part 1)
  2. How to Combat Anxiety and Eliminate Problems (Part 2)
  3. What’s your personal definition of happiness and success? (Part 3)
  4. The Psychology Behind Happiness (Part 4)
  5. The Recipe for Happiness: Making It a Priority (Part 5)
  6. The Key to Happiness is Ditching “One Day I Will” (Part 6)
  7. Finding Happiness by Knowing Yourself (Part 7)
  8. The Benefits of Unconditional Giving (Part 8)

 

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