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Create, don’t consume.

28 May

Reading and writing are the primary methods we’ve been taught to evaluate and create information.  Both allow us to explore how to solve problems in business and life. However, there is one major difference… writing forces you to produce while reading only asks you to consume.

When reading, we kick the problem bucket down the road. We hope we’ll be better able to solve the problem in the future, once we become well-read in the current thinking on subject. With HUGE problems, that doesn’t work. HUGE problems are HUGE because they don’t have existing solutions. They demand we produce new solutions.

So, we must practice to stop consuming and start producing. But how?

Well, in addition to writing, you can practice drawing. Through drawing, you leverage a combination of experience and naivete to start solving huge problems! If you’ve begun exploring a problem through drawing, you’ll have collected your experience in a nest of ideas. If you’re still new to a problem, you’re naive look on things will allow you to profit from mistakes and find alternate solutions which an expert may glance over.

Here are some more practical ways to stop producing and start consuming:

  1. Start reading 20% of what you traditionally do.
    1. Focus on applying and absorbing what you read by producing related materials.
  2. Get a piece of paper and a pen, and start drawing ideas out…
    1. Try to draw the ‘landscape’ of a problem.
      1. What are the key obstacles?
      2. How would you lay them out in a landscape painting?
    2. Try to draw the characters interacting in the problem.
      1. Who or what, does what and why?
      2. Where would they/it sit in the landscape?
    3. Try to draw a picture of today, and tomorrow.
      1. What would it take to get you to the tomorrow you want or need?
  3. Carry that pen and paper everywhere you go.

Don’t overthink it. When you get stumped, drawing doesn’t do its purpose anymore. So, go find some inspiration, get out in the world. Or, go read a book.

More on how to stop producing, and start consuming: Practicing to be concise, 750Words.com, Inside Higher Ed

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