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Why the Value of Creativity Is Decreasing

Why the Value of Creativity Is Decreasing

The modern world provides seemingly endless opportunities for entertainment, distraction and the automation of some of the more mindless tasks that our forebears would have spent their time on. In theory, 21st-century life should be packed with output from people whose minds have been freed to think, imagine and create, but is that what we are seeing? Well, no, it’s not.

We often see attempts of minimising risks in creative industries these days.

What we are seeing is endless re-hashing of the same ideas: sequels, prequels, remakes and re-imaginings abound, and the mainstream arts have narrowed to the point where film studios and record labels seem to be putting out very slightly altered versions of the same films and songs over and over again. Books that are particularly popular are made into films, and Hollywood casts tried-and-tested A-listers into leading roles whether or not they fit the part, simply in an attempt to guarantee a good turnout at the box office.

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The film industry will only invest in scripts which follow an established format; record labels want bands to have a proven audience before offering them a record deal, and publishers want authors with a track-record of making the best-seller lists. Creative talent is secondary to the ability to market oneself and artistic ability is dwarfed by the overwhelming desire of big business to minimise their risks and stick with the familiar.[1]

The most important thing to individuals has been changed.

Where big corporations fear to tread, however, the individual apparently rushes in. With more than 60% of workers stating[2] that they value happiness over financial gain when it comes to their jobs, it appears that a pleasant working environment has a value that a pay-packet simply can’t match. All over the country, people are placing good friendships ahead of their incomes and are more motivated by the idea of going out for drinks and spending time with colleagues that they get along with than they are by earning more.

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Ironically, we are often tied to our phones and not freeing our minds to think and ponder.

However, those same individuals are struggling to free themselves from the tyranny of the hand-held devices which are packed with distractions and diversions which pull their attention away from connecting with the people whose company they crave. With the ability to do almost anything on a piece of technology which you have in your pocket all day, comes the inability to enjoy genuine experiences, to allow our minds to wander, to experience the moments that inevitably pass you by when you are glued to the latest game on your phone.

The Big Brother’s impact is also limiting our creativity.

Alongside risk aversion on the part of the major players in the creative industries, the increasing availability of apps providing constant distraction from reality, and the internal conflicts inherent in human interactions, we also have to contend with attempts by the government to limit our freedom. With many believing that common sense is being eroded and replaced by increasingly restrictive legislation, the impact on the individual’s ability to act autonomously is potentially devastating.

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But the ponderously slow speed at which the legislature moves has, time and time again, proved that legal solutions to social problems are an inefficient way of dealing with the issues that modern life throws in our path. Take the example of vaping – many believe that e-cigarettes should be classified in the same way as tobacco, and therefore should be banned wherever smoking is. However, those who have chosen e-cigarettes as a healthier alternative to traditional smoking believe[3] that promoting a smoking alternative which doesn’t have a damaging effect on their health should be a priority. Waiting for government to collect the data, take advice and make a decision on whether to introduce laws which classify vaping could take so long that by the time they are introduced, a balance has been found that the majority are happy with.

Although society is killing creativity, there are still opportunities to retain it.

Modern society is made up of individuals who rarely have a quiet moment to examine their own thoughts and feelings, but who prioritise friendship over money, operating in an environment in which billion-pound organisations attempt to manipulate them into conforming. Creativity may struggle to penetrate the cynical profiteering that we have all become accustomed to, but as long as individuals can appreciate the value of originality and authenticity, there is hope that those qualities will retain their value.

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Featured photo credit: Femsplain via femsplain.com

Reference

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James Timpson

Marketeer

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

How to Stop Information Overload

How to Stop Information Overload

Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

How Serious Is Information Overload?

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

1. Set Your Goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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  • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
  • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
  • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

(You’ll forget about it anyway.)

And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this:

Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

Summing It Up

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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