C is for Consuming And Creating

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There are many ways that people choose to live life. One approach is to see people as living systems who must balance consuming and creating.

This is not just about food. If a person consumes too many ideas without creating something, for example, they may begin to feel stodgy.

If they consume masses of bad news about the environment, they may need to create something that improves the world, otherwise they will feel weighed down.

In order to live healthy lives, living systems must balance getting things in with getting things out. Let’s explore how to make this happen.

Clarifying the things
you want to consume

Start by considering what you want to take in. One person said:

“I began by listing the physical and psychological things I want to consume.

“On the physical side, I want to eat good food, use renewable energy, spend time in the fresh air, etc.

“On the psychological side, I want to get stimulating ideas, watch exciting sport, read uplifting articles, work on energising projects and spend time with encouraging people.

“The hard part was figuring out how to do this in my daily life. Some things were easy to cut out, such as watching trash on the television, but others took more thought.”

So what do you want to take into your mind, body and soul? If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe the things you want to consume in your daily life and work.

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Clarifying the things
you want to create

What do you want to create and give to people? You may want to encourage other people, cook tasty food, build good relationships, write inspiring articles or whatever.

Creativity takes many forms – such as solving problems, producing something new or giving pleasure to other people. Sometimes you may simply get satisfaction from nurturing your garden, playing music or encouraging other people.

Todd Henry is somebody who believes it is vital for people to give their best in life. This led to him writing Die Empty. Here is the official introduction to the book.

Die Empty is a tool for people who aren’t willing to put off their most important work for another day.

Todd Henry explains the forces that keep us in stagnation, and introduces a process for instilling consistent practices into your life that will keep you on a true and steady course.

Each day that we postpone difficult tasks and succumb to the clutter that chokes creativity, discipline, and innovation results in a net deficit to the world, our organizations, and ourselves.

It’s not about slaving over a project or living on a whim – it’s about embracing the idea that time is finite and making the unique contribution to the world that only you can make.

Henry shows how to cultivate the mindset and the methods you need to sustain your enthusiasm, push through mental barriers, and unleash your best work each day.


If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe the things you want to create – or give to others – in your life and work. Try completing the following sentence.

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Getting the right balance
between consuming and creating

People often know intuitively whether they have got the right balance in their lives between consuming and creating. If you wish, try answering the following questions.

To what extent do you think you have got the right balance?

What are the specific areas where you may need to improve the balance?

What are the specific steps you can take to make this happen?

Here are some of the answers different people gave to some of these questions.

I can get the right balance between
consuming and creating by:

Listening to positive music in the morning … Buying enough food to live on, but no more … Switching our electricity account to green energy, which takes only ten minutes to do on the web … Sorting out the garage and giving away everything we don’t need … Spending time with encouraging people

Setting aside several long weekends a year to go painting … Joining a choir … Doing satisfying work that also helps people … Starting a trust fund for our children … Encouraging my parents to do the things they like as they get older … Recording my own songs and putting them on a website … Making sure I encourage at least three people a day.

You will, of course, have your own approach to getting the right balance. If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific things you can do to get the right balance between consuming and creating.

Describe the specific benefits of doing these things.

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