fighting the lack of good ideas

creating vs consuming

One of the biggest issues facing Western societies is that they are all consumption-oriented.

Not enough time is spent creating – all [most] people want to do is consume: entertainment, food, money, fun…

We all want shortcuts. We all want to be at the level where we don’t have to think to accomplish work. We all want to have fun instead of working. Some of us have fun while working, but most people just want the day off.

One of the biggest drawbacks to a consumption-based economy (like most western economies – and certainly how the United States’ economy is currently structured), is that consumers feel compelled to consume ever more. We have to have the next best thing out there. Keeping up with the Joneses.

I think far too few people create in our society, because it is so much easier to consume.

I know I don’t create nearly as much as I consume – I wish I did, but I don’t … yet. One of my personal goals is to move that balance in my life more towards the creating end from the consuming one – little things along the way certainly help: mentoring, teaching, volunteering, growing a garden, etc.

What ways do you see that folks can create more and consume either less in gestalt, or at least less from others because they’re contributing themselves?

mastery by robert greene

In Mastery, Robert Greene continues in the style of his excellent work, The 48 Laws of Power (which I previously reviewed and have been posting excerpts from).

Sadly, it is not quite to the level of The 48 Laws – though it still a good book. Unbeknownst to me, I’ve already been practicing most of what he preaches, starting with finding your niche. Oh, and following an apprenticeship path. And staying creative; and widening your horizons.

This is also, more or less, the path modeled by one of my previous employers, the Shodor Education Foundation through their Apprentice, Intern, and “Post-Bac” Staff programs (they have higher than “Post-Bac” staff, too – but that’s more in the “Master” level than getting to it).

I was hoping for something … well, maybe not “new” – but insightful-and-not-common-elsewhere. Perhaps I’m merely well-read already, but Mr Greene comes to roughly the same conclusion as Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers – 10,000 hours of concerted effort in learning, practicing, and presenting a given topic/field will tend to push you into the “Master” realm (review).

Through a series of case studies and repeated biographical highlights through the last ~300 years, the point is shown that while there are a few workable paths to Mastery – they’re all traversable by anyone who cares to take the time and effort to do so.

Timothy Ferriss’ series of “4 Hour” books (4-Hour Body, 4-Hour Workweek, & 4-Hour Chef) all showcase these exact traits, as well. While presented as “shortcuts for the rest of us”, if read without skimming, instead show that it is only through intense focus and hard work that you can arrive at the “4-Hour” destination.

Is Mastery a worthwhile read? Probably for most people.

Is it worth owning? Doubtful.

Grab a copy from your library (like I did) and read it. Reread it. Blog about it. Tweet it. Skim it. Then return it.