Are you a Consumer, Dreamer, Destroyer or Creator?

Are you a Consumer, Dreamer, Destroyer or Creator?

Let’s take a short quiz.

What’s your most valuable asset?

A. Cash

B. Stocks

C. Property

What was your answer? If you answered A, B, or C you’re wrong. It’s actually a trick question. Alright, alright, I know that was a bit cruel.

The answer is time.

This is the point where if your mind is anything like mine, your eyes glaze over, you lean back in your chair, and you cross your arms and read this post with a new sense of skepticism. But just bear with me, I promise this philosophical post will have some practical application.

How do you spend your time?

If you’re like a lot of people, you never really seem to have enough of it. We’re all busy. Much of the day is taken up with working, studying, looking after family and friends, firefighting work and emotional issues, catching up with news and knowledge, being bombarded with emails and social media feeds, advising, loving, helping, arguing, falling asleep only to wake up and do it all again.

Let me ask a more difficult question. How much of your time is spent doing things you like? Probably not all of it, after all there’s always work to do. But do you spend at least some of your time creating and living the life you want?

For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to briefly introduce four generalised ways we spend our time: as consumers, dreamers, destroyers and creators. Obviously, reality is more nuanced than this. This serves as an illustration, or a thought experiment.

Consumers

As consumers, we consume time (well, duh). What I mean by that is that we spend time doing what is expected by other people than ourselves: by society, our parents, friends, even random strangers. Some of these expectations are necessary, like working to pay our bills. Other expectations are not necessary, like the expectations others have for what we should do at particular stages in our lives (e.g. partner up, have children, buy a property, retire). In consumer mode, life is busy, a series of never-ending tasks that need to be completed. We don’t ask ‘what if?’, we focus on ‘what is’ and what needs to be done.

Dreamers

As dreamers, we have grand ambitions. We dream of idealised worlds, the beautiful family, the perfect career, the vast exploration of possibilities, ideas and places unknown. Weaving wonderful tales – yet only tales they remain. We dream of what could be, but we don’t take the steps to create it. Sometimes as dreamers we are happy just dreaming: reality is too brutal and might turn our dreams into nightmares. So we don’t bother to try.

Destroyers

As destroyers, we spend time damaging other people’s creations. Bitter about life and the cards we’ve been dealt, we find fault or question the dreams and activities of others. As destroyers, we see the world in a dark, angry red lens. We often miss recognising the impact of our choices and reactions on our life outcomes, even when circumstances were in our control. We destroy in many ways – from trolling and bullying to sowing grains of doubt about what can be achieved.

Creators

As creators, we spend at least some time creating meaning in and improving our lives. We are dreamers with action plans. Consumers with meaningful tasks to complete. We ask ‘what if?’ and then try to find the answer. Dreaming of ideal worlds and states of being, we then take actionable steps to achieve our dreams. We try, succeed and fail. We try again. Plans change, evolve and are recreated. We may get questioned and bullied by bitter destroyers. It affects us, but we continue on. Maybe we only achieve part of what we thought possible, or we might go beyond what we dreamed. We find power in our choices, tasks and activities. We create meaning.

So I ask again: how do you spend your time?

Think for yourself!

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