In 2012, my current partner Rakshith, whom I didn’t know then, joined Toastmasters. Toastmasters is a platform to improve your communication and leadership skills. Rakshith wanted to be a good communicator and leader too. He had dreams of being a trainer.
Rakshith threw himself into Toastmasters. For three months, he watched the speeches that members delivered. He attended educational sessions on public speaking by experts. He read about the preparation regimen that contestant of the World Championship of Public Speaking went through to compete at the highest level. He did everything except 2 things. He did not write a single speech. He did not deliver a single speech.
I call this Unconscious Consumption. I define unconscious consumption as content consumption with no intention, plan, or action towards creating content.
Why do we do this? Why does the brain sabotage us? Let’s address each concern.
I have no intention to create – I am only consuming this content for fun. It is a way to distract myself from everything else happening around me. That’s fair. We all need relaxation. We all have our guilty pleasures. Mine are trashy Hindi comedy films from the 90’s. But do check what percentage of your time goes into this activity every week. Let it not exceed 4%. Mental energy is scarce. Mindless content consumption shortens attention spans such that by the time you start to work on that epic piece of content you want to create, your brain wants to go to sleep!
I have no plan to create – I don’t know what to create! I have no ideas! I have a vague idea, but I need more material before I can actually create! Have you told yourself any of these things? In which case, let me assure you, you’re not alone. Every creator begins this way. And the easiest way to break this habit is to, before going to bed, share your opinion on the last piece of content you have consumed that day. Not the most interesting, or the best. The last. Reduce the hurdles your brain can throw up and make it easy for your brain to make decisions.
I can’t take action – I am too scared to put my content out. What if I am mocked? Fortunately, you are creating content at a time when everybody is creating content. Over 500 hours of video gets uploaded on YouTube every minute. Nobody has the time to judge you as harshly as you judge yourself.
My content is boring – What if what I am saying is not original? It can’t be original, it won’t be, and the best part is it doesn’t have to be. Thousands of years of human history have passed and there hasn’t been another you. So, rest assured what you say will not be original, but it will be unique.
I am no expert – Why should everyone listen to me? Expertise is relative. Everyone is someone’s expert on something. You have something valuable to say; valuable to you. Everyone will not listen to you. But someone who thinks like you will. And that’s enough.
So, recognise these hurdles that your brain throws up. And take action to deal with them.
Stopping trying to hit and hitting,