my principles #2 – live extroverted

Watercolour portrait of a girl with blue hair

#1 – I am a designer
#2 – live extroverted

What if you created as much as you consumed?

Oh, that again… What is this all about?! You are an introvert and sick of someone telling you to “come out more”? Wait, before you leave, this principle is short but misleading without an explanation. I would describe myself as an introverted person, too, and would not feel comfortable if I change that. And I do not want to advise you to change. Nevertheless, I want to talk about experiments out of my comfort zone. Trying something new is very constructive and tells me more about myself than moving around inside my comfort zone. What experiments work best for you is for you to decide. They do not need to be radical. I would like to give you an idea for a very mild one.

“Live extroverted” is a reminder to challenge my comfort zone although the essence behind it is more like “more output than input”. I am an artist and therefore eager to learn from all these different arts out there. Films, music, recipes, photographs, images… I love to consume all of it but it is so easy to lose oneself in consumption. I reached a point where I feel so over inspired, so full of ideas that I can not take any more in. My thought: Do you watch 2 hours Netflix or movies daily (after work)? Well, you probably watched enough and are old enough to start making your own. What? It is a lot of work and you do not have the time anyway? Here is a surprise: If you stop binge-watching you have 2 hours a day and your smartphone has a camera. Start filming, create content. Do you love comics? Take your pen and paper, make your own. You have all you need.

In my first principle, I explained that what you do defines who you are. If you like binge-watching you are a binge-watcher. It is not anywhere near being productive. If it is only watching, like on its own, it is procrastinating. If you want to do something creative you have to “do”. I decided to use this binge-watching example to explain that being a binge-watcher is not something I wish to be because I do not see anything productive behind it or anything of value to others, but I had to change my mind. Watching alone is not productive, although binge-watching can be. We live in a crazy world. If you like to binge-watch 24/7 you should find a way to make a living out of it. I am thinking about Let’s play videos which are fairly popular and live streams of people playing games. I could have never imagined that this would become a thing to build a living on but it is real. To me, that is a successful experiment. The success, however, lies in the doing. In this case, publically playing and sharing your opinion.

Yes, yes, the example says sharing and putting yourself in public, again. For introverts, nevermind that part. More importantly, it also questions you, your productivity and your creative solution making. So let us move away from the example above and ask an essential question: What if you created as much as you consumed? I try to balance my consumption with my productivity and this question helps me. I want to be aware of what I am doing. I want to be aware of why I am doing what I am doing. Consumption is for gaining input, ideas, perspectives. Producing is for processing your input, challenging your mindset, developing yourself and communicating your message, first of all to yourself and then, if you like, to others.

Communicating is a key argument. If you have a conversation with someone and you do not get the time to breathe or say a word yourself because you get chattered down, how would that make you feel? I would feel frustrated and probably explode after a while. I guess, no one likes that. But when I look at social media and our fast-moving world, we decide to stand on the sideline and watch. A lot. Voluntarily. It is a new kind of comfort zone. How strange. How about the frustration? It is overlaid with fascination or easy rewards. You do not notice but it still comes with it. Different, but it is there. Do you compare yourself with other artists and feel low because from your point of view they are so good and you are not? You worked for hours on a piece and you thought it is not good enough? You do not know what to do because you feel overwhelmed by the unlimited number of possibilities? Do you feel wobbly and concerned about your mental health? You not only feel uncomfortable, you feel scared about sharing your work because you do not know if your work fits in or if you fit in? All that is frustration.

The brutal truth is if you stand on the sideline and keep watching you literally are not in it. You are on the sideline. You put yourself there. Also the truth, that is totally fine! You are in the perfect position to walk your own way. You do not need a fast car and drive at full speed on the highway like all the others. For you, your sideline is the real highway and all the others driving the wrong way. As long as you walk at your speed, as long as you move forward, everything is ok. You do not need to be or behave like other people. You do not even need to look at them, talk to them or follow them. You do not need them at all and you do not need more input from them.

Imagine yourself isolated in a desert with canvases and paint. No one has the imagination to colour the desert the way you imagine it to be. No one will come along to colour your life. That is your job. Yours alone. It is your job to add colour to your life. How would you like to colour your life? What will be your first painting? Those questions are for you to answer. Communicating with yourself leads to understanding yourself. For you to understand who you are… well, no one can do that for you. You have to communicate with yourself. You need to understand who you are and if you do, “do” it and put it on a canvas. Everything else, all your input, is nothing but a distraction.

From artist to artist: Collecting inspirations will not get anything done. With all the comparisons around us, producing helps not to lose your reality and strengthens your connection to yourself. Producing keeps you sane and the frustration away. Producing helps to switch off. It is a cycle. When you switch off the input, you produce more. The more you produce, the easier it will be to switch off, the less you consume. The other way around is a vicious cycle. Too much input is hurting. Producing is essential.

And finally, you do not even need to communicate with others. Communicating with yourself is much more important. But it would be a shame if what you create goes down in your grave along with you one far away day in the future. What you do, what you create is valuable. You are valuable. It is important to share yourself to the world because you are important to the world. If the world is too much, take a look around in your comfort zone and share yourself with your friends and family. As an experiment, share yourself with one person first. One day, maybe, a stranger. One stranger at a time. Take your route and walk with your speed. One day, maybe, we meet at a crossroads. I would like to know who you are and what you can do. If this blogpost or my second principle helps you drop me a line on Instagram.

I produce and my work is my comfort zone. It gets bigger day by day and I feel more and more comfortable sharing it. I live extroverted.