Early this morning, I:
- Read The Skimm, The Broadsheet, and The Bible
- Caught up on the tragic turn of events in Brussels
- Read an article on content scheduling for bloggers
- Watched a highlight video of my daughter’s play
- Investigated Marco Borges’ 22 Day Revolution
- Shopped for First Communion shoes for my son
And that was all before I wrote my first word.
Almost none of that activity was done on purpose. One thing just led to another and before I knew it I was six steps deep in the hyperlinked maze of the interwebs.
I’ll bet you’ve been there yourself a time or two, because it has never been easier to consume content. (Did you click any of those links above? See what I mean?)
By the time you’ve checked in with Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Linked In, email, Google, YouTube, HuffPo, Houzz, and your choice of more than one BILLION other websites (that’s a real number, by the way), a whole day could have come and gone. And while you may have been entertained, educated, and even moved, you will have prevented yourself from doing something even more important.
We’re hiding from ourselves and from everyone else, hiding from the responsibility of making our own mark in the world.
It’s awfully easy to stay online all day, convincing ourselves that we have to be, ducking in and out of one site after another, being alternately educated and entertained. But without some safeguards in place, we’ll never make that all-important shift from consuming to creating.
Now, before you roll your eyes and tell me you can’t write anyhow so this doesn’t apply to you, I’m not just talking about writers.
Writing is my work, but what’s yours?
What are you here to do?
What are your gifts?
And are you using them? Or are you letting your time online keep you from getting out there and doing what you’re really here to do…
I’m not suggesting that consuming content is all bad. (I do write a blog, after all.) But when it becomes something we do to avoid doing work, we’ve crossed a line.
The key is to balance consumption with creation. To know when it’s time to make the shift from appreciating other people’s work to doing our own.
I don’t have the data on this, but I wonder how many of the things we pin on Pinterest ever get made.
Or how many of the video cooking tutorials we watch actually move us to try the recipe ourselves?
Or how many of the articles about heroism and service we read go on to inspire our own acts of courage and kindness?
The world doesn’t need us to hide behind our screens.