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Monday, April 4, 2011

Always Consuming, Rarely Producing

As a marketing major, the words consumer and consumerism were everyday language to my classmates and I. From creating needs to developing attractive advertising campaigns, we were intent on succeeding in one thing: getting the customer to make a purchase. But consumers are not completely defined as those who choose between an Old Navy sweater and Reebok EasyTones. They are also consumers of information.

Think about it for just a few minutes. You wake up in the morning to turn on the news and are immediately inundated with national, state, and local stories. You log in to your email and see five different newsletters pop up from online agencies and websites. You check your twitter, your facebook, turn on the radio, listen to music, and flip through the current month's Women's Health. And when you are finally ready to turn into bed, you pull out the latest novel to help you relax and fall asleep. Can you think of the last time you were surrounded by only silence? 

All men's miseries derive from not being able 
to sit in a quiet room alone. 
- Blaise Pascal

I don't necessarily think all our miseries are a result of constant noise, but Pascal's quote is worth mulling over. I'm in introvert, so I enjoy sitting alone and contemplating about life in general, formulating blog posts in my mind, or simply being quiet, listening to the birds announce the arrival of Spring or the rain pattering outside my window. Yet I still have a  tendency to go overboard............the opposite way.
It comes in the form of reading every blog post that I find interesting or surfing the web to find blog/writing tips. I enjoy processing Gospel Coalition articles or perusing the Relevant website. I love information and I love learning. Not only do I have to be careful of becoming a repeater, I also have to be careful about becoming a consumer, rather than a producer.

Solely consuming will generate a lack of creativity and cognitive thinking. In the age of Google, you can find an answer to just about anything, right at the edge of your fingertips. Nothing about that teaches you how to think - it teaches you how to be lazy. There are times when it is essential to find an answer elsewhere;  that is not what I am referring to. I am simply wanting to bring awareness to a total reliance on other sources of information.
Dig deep inside yourself and come up with your own ideas. Think of personal stories, or mistakes from which you have learned. I guarantee someone will benefit from what you have to say. That is partly why I started my blog - I wanted to communicate some of the things I had rolling around in my brain. It takes time, and it sure takes a lot of effort, but you can feel good about yourself for being an original. And who knows, you may even become an "authority" on a topic or two!

Don't be afraid to get creative either. My mom is always saying how creative she's not. But I don't believe it. She loves to quilt, and has even come up with her own patterns to try. Given enough alone time and thought, anybody can come up with something completely new and innovative.


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