I find it much easier, sometimes, to reduce subjects to two possibilities. When thinking about being a builder, what comes to mind is its opposite of being a consumer.
We know a lot about being a consumer. Shopping on the web. Filling a car with gas. Going to the mall to find a new pair of shoes. Its reach goes much further. The movie we watch or the book we read. Participating in a conversation on social media. Going to the ball park to watch a game. Texting our friends throughout the day.
What are examples of being a builder? Building a career or a life. Working hard to that your small company has more sales. Assembling an active community where people care about an issue that you are passionate about. Any effort needed where you have a goal that can’t be reached in a day requires a builder. Typically, builders need a network of many people to help them achieve their dreams. Nor do they always succeed in all of their efforts.
There are few obstacles when you are a consumer. Yes, maybe not enough money to buy something today. But for the most part, when you need gas you go get gas and its done. When you need new gym shoes, you go buy them and its done. If you can’t see one movie, you simply choose another. When in consumer mode, you typically need only yourself or (at most) a few others to consume.
For the builder though, a lot of things appear that a person who always consumes never sees. Challenges and obstacles for one. Recognizing the need for new learning, skills or relationships that will help them find a different path around obstacles towards their goal. The value of discipline and patience when understanding that just like new homes, they never get built in a day. Forging meaningful relationships with many outside of their immediate circle for builders understand they can never do it by themselves.
The builder is much more active in shaping the interface between their own lives, the world and their dreams. The consumer just chooses from what the world offers them. Consumers get misled in believing that their daily frustrations are the same as builders but they are not. Consumers frustrations always lead them back to the same place they started.
The builder and the consumer both will say they are active. The difference is the builder’s actions are intentional and directed towards something that they want to acquire or achieve that is not present in their lives today. A consumer’s actions are much more passive and immediate in their scope and gratification.
Builders’ frustrations act like a chisel on clay, changing them forever by forcing them to adapt to what they now see. A sculptor’s clay never looks the same the next day. Always having the vision energized in the back of their minds while the shape of their lives and their dreams unfolds through their work, one day at a time.
Do you build more than you consume?