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It’s easy to define yourself by what you consume – what band you like, what non-profit you support, what coffee you prefer. It’s easy for three reasons.
First, because other people like it, too. Whether it’s Starbucks or the local cafe, there’s a group of people who agree with you.
Second, you didn’t have to make it. Someone else did a lot of hard work to write and record a beautiful album and for $10 (or these days likely for free) you get to claim it as your own, because you “love” it.
Third, when people disagree with you, you can distance yourself from it. It’s not like you created it, after all.
It’s much scarier to define yourself by the things you create. Because you can’t distance yourself from those. And you put a lot of hard work into them. And there’s no fan base waiting for you. They are yours alone, true reflections of something about you.
And this is the one crucial reason why it’s better to define yourself by what you create. Because when you say you like U2 or Starbucks or TOMS or the local coffee shop, you’re really only telling me about them, about how great they are. But show me something you’ve made and I get to see how great you are.