And I am a consumer girl?
We live in a world where it's becoming more and more effortless to become an extreme consumer. We can watch, read, and listen to whatever we want with just a few clicks. And while there's nothing wrong with being a consumer, there's something very special about becoming a creator.
Taking part in activities to create will always make something unique and new. When you create something, even when greatly inspired by others, you will inevitably put your own spin on it and make it your own. (Often unintentionally, if you're doing it right!) That's what makes creation so special. It is an opportunity to put your own unique stamp on the world.
And what if I told you that a big step towards becoming a creator, rather than a consumer, was to simply begin adjusting your output vs. input ratio? Well, if you can tolerate that cliché question, then you are in luck! 'Cause that's what this blog post is all about!
What Is Output?
In general, output will involve speaking, writing, or doing. When you output, you're putting your thoughts or desires on display for the world to see. And while it can be scary to put yourself out there, it is also exhilarating. Because when you output, in essence, you're taking back a little control of your life and your destiny. You are being more active and less re-active to the world around you.
Input, on the other hand, is simply consuming information without the requirement of actively engaging with it. When we're just watching or reading something, we do not have to output anything. It is all internal. And internally, we might not even be thinking about whether what we are inputting could actually be applied to real life. It often becomes a practice in listening, seeing, or learning things about someone else's creation or creative process, as opposed to understanding your own.
The Importance of Output Over Input
In The Power of Output by Shion Kabasawa, an author and psychiatrist, he discusses the 70/30 rule, stating that 70% output and 30% input is the sweet spot in life. Unfortunately, most of us do the exact opposite ratio at home, and even go down to 0% output on our busiest of days.
But in order to learn and grow, we need to output more than we input. This is because when we're actively creating something, we're forced to engage with the material on a deeper level. We have to think about what we're doing and why we're doing it. And those necessary steps for outputting is a big part of what helps us remember information better and gain a deeper understanding of it.
School Days, School Days, Dear Old Golden Rule Days
This understanding of output vs. input has helped me come to terms with why I got amazing grades in school, but if you asked me now to calculate the circumference or diameter of a circle… or who the first 30 presidents of the USA are, in order… I'd stare at you blankly until you left me alone. We are all taught to input the crap out of everything. To consume, not create. But we were only asked to output it once or twice: on quizzes or tests.
It also now makes complete sense why there are 1.9 GPA millionaires online talking about how bad they were at school, and stories of Bill Gates or other extremely successful people never finishing college. They were too busy doing things and outputting, when school nowadays generally wants you to input. (This is all the exact opposite of what Socrates envisioned for universities when he invented them, by the way.)
Finding Ways To Explore Outputs
There are many ways to practice outputting in anything you are involved in. I currently live in Japan, so I'll use studying a foreign language as my first example.
While input techniques will certainly help you learn the language, they won't be nearly as effective in helping you use the language. Instead of just watching videos, listening to music/podcasts, reading, and studying, also look for ways to have a conversation with someone and seek out a penpal to write to. If that sounds too difficult to find, you can practice speaking out loud to imaginary friends in your room, or drafting letters and text messages to your favorite tv show characters or entertainers. While it may seem silly, these practices can really help equalize how much you output vs. input in your target language.
Another example I've been recently tinkering with is for cooking. Instead of watching cooking shows or searching for new recipes to try, also practice making your own recipes or making slight changes to recipes you've tried before.
And as for working on your writing skills, just always be sure to spend at least as much time writing your own stories/journal/essays/blogs, as you do reading books or articles.
The more time and effort you put into outputting, the quicker you will learn and improve at any craft.
Taking Your First Steps Towards Creativity
Once you can quickly identify which of your activities are input and which are output, then begin carving out a couple hours a day dedicated to outputting. After you've taken those first steps towards spending time as an active creator, then here are a couple things you might want to keep in mind during that process:
1. Nowadays more than ever, it is important to spend some time not consuming anything - so when you create, make sure to turn off your phone, close your laptop, and give yourself some creative time on your own. And don't worry whenever you feel like you're not productive or not very good at first. Mastery is often only achieved through a lot of time and practice and incremental improvements.
2. Find ways to share your creations with others. Not only will this help you get feedback on ways to improve your skills, but it will also provide you with some extra purpose and meaning to whatever you have chosen to create. It may also inspire others to pursue their own creative endeavors. If you are into that sort of thing.
3. Do your best to not let your ego, pride, or self-judge get in the way of your journey towards self-improvement. Most improvements come from how you react and adjust to failures. So, whenever you begin practicing output, expect a lot of negative energy from others, and also some from within yourself.
4. Take breaks when necessary. You may feel the need to take a break whenever the negativity is too much from yourself or others. I would highly recommend listening to your body and soul whenever those warnings become too much to handle. Just try to not let your break go on for too long, and get back on the horse as soon as you feel up to the challenge again. Always remember, you are far more capable than you might think. And if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.
Flip The Script
So, I wonder what could happen if we practiced outputting more than we input?
The 70/30 rule suggests that in order to truly become fluent in anything, we need to output around 70% while inputting only 30%. And if those figures are close to accurate, then most of us have barely just begun to tap into our unique potential and creative possibilities.
I truly believe that by setting aside some time each day for creative endeavors, sharing our creations with others, and celebrating our incremental improvements after inevitable failures, we all can evolve from being passive consumers of information into self-sufficient creators!
What are some of the things you want to try outputting more than inputting?
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I hope these thoughts are helpful. Thank you so much for reading. I Agape-Love you all.
Until next time, God bless.
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