Yank. Rip. Stick.
I was engaged in a fierce scotch-tape ripping session, at the tween age of 10, attaching glossy posters of my favorite artists on my wall. I snipped out glamorous photoshoot sessions of 90s stars from popular magazines, such as Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and Teen Vogue.
While humming “I Want It That Way,” I taped my Backstreet Boys poster to the wall, and shamelessly erected a glorious, giant picture of their boy-band rival, NSYNC, right next to it. My female classmates demanded that I either be team Backstreet Boys or NSYNC, but I couldn’t choose. “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” made me sway just as much as “Bye, Bye, Bye” made me dance around my room.
By the time I was finished, my room was a stunning collage of singers and bands I respected as a late 90s celebrity-obsessed preteen: 98 Degrees, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Aaliyah, Michael Jackson, Hanson, Mariah Carey, and more.
“Dad! Dad! Dad!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. “Come and see this! I’ve finished my wall collage!”
My dad sauntered into my room, and I spotted him side-eyeing my Britney Spears poster. He was always vociferous about his disdain for Spears’ nasally vocals, but he couldn’t deny that her songs were catchy. I once caught him red-handed humming “Oops … I Did It Again.” But in his defense, if I had a 10-year-old daughter blasting that same track all day, I’m sure it’d get stuck in my head, too.
“The collage looks nice and all, Kim, but I have one question,” my father said while admiring my wall. “Why do you have to put other people’s faces on your wall? Don’t you think it would be better if it were your face that others were putting on their wall?”
“Huh? But … why would they do that? I’m no one special. I don’t have an album. I’m not a dancer or a singer. I’m just me,” I replied.
“But one day you can! I’m going to give you this one advice, and I hope you take it to heart, Kim: be the producer, not the consumer.”
Be the producer, not the consumer.
That quote, almost 20 years later, stuck with me. Thanks to my father’s wisdom, I am now running a successful e-commerce store in the new–age spirituality niche. I’ve also written an Amazon best-selling book, launched a profitable online service, and I run a fruitful freelance writing business.
You see, at 10 years old, it never occurred to me that I could be on “the other side.” It never even crossed my mind that I didn’t have to be a fan – I could be the star! I could actually create money-making content that people could admire me for. It was an invaluable lesson my father taught me. Without it, I would never be where I am today.
Now, I wish to pass on my father’s wise gem to you. Don’t be the consumer; be the producer. What is it that you love? What is it that you’re passionate about? What profitable product can you materialize into reality from that creative mind of yours?
Should this advice work wonders for you, don’t forget to pass down my father’s wisdom to the next generation. In such a celebrity, social-media obsessed world, kids need to hear that they don’t need to be mindless content consumers – they can be the talented and brilliant content producers they fawn over.