As a youth motivational speaker, students often ask for my secrets to success. In my new book, Victimproof, I have a bonus chapter on this very topic. But recently I added another secret to my list: BE A CREATOR. Most people live their lives as CREATORS, CONSUMERS, or CRITICS. The reality is: we’re surrounded by consumers, and we’ve had our full of critics, so what we need is more creators, and here’s why.
CREATORS make art that inspires, helps, or entertains other people. Your art can come from any medium (visual, aural, high-tech, low-tech), as long as you A) make it yourself. And B) let it come from the heart. It’s your best chance to do something constructive with your life. So this is risky business because anytime you create, you open yourself up to criticism. And if you’re not careful, you’ll place too much value in how others interpret your art.
CONSUMERS passively watch the art of other people. It’s the default mode. We watch social media, listen to music, see movies, stream TV shows, and generally, we enjoy it. We want to relax and be entertained, so we sit there and consume both the good and the garbage until our minds go numb. Of course, we are all consumers to some degree, but some of us make a career out of it, and that’s what robs us of potential greatness.
CRITICS use their opinion to judge the work of others. By nature, most critics are destructive –telling people why something is bad (versus constructive criticism – describing how to make something better). The critic has the luxury of sitting on the sidelines and simply reacting to the art after it has been made. And too many critics use their energy to find fault, pick apart, and destroy the art they review. Critics tend to shout loud because they believe their insights are more valid than everyone else.
The truth is: we need more CREATORS because they inspire us to greatness – to be the best versions of ourselves. The world rewards creators with their time, attention, and money. We go to the concert, buy the t-shirt, purchase the song, and become fans of the art.
There may be great risk in creating your art, but there is also the potential for great reward. It’s the chance that in this gigantic world of ours, someone will not only appreciate your art but also reward you with their time, their attention, and even their money.
So take some time to think about your life. What can you do today to stop being a CONSUMER or CRITIC and start becoming a CREATOR?