Stop Critiquing and Start Creating

How to defy and destroy our barriers to change

  • Justin Zoradi
Stop Critiquing and Start Creating

A good friend told me there are three types of people in the world:

1. Consumers

2. Critics

3. Creators

There was a time in my life when I thrived in my role as a Critic. I had an opinion about everything and spent many sleepless nights brooding over ideological arguments and creating fake debate scenarios in my head. It was mania, an obsession, fueled by the high of feeling "right."

One day I realized that my very critical opinions were taking up a lot of time and making me a very angry person.

I also realized that I was against a lot more than I was actually for.

Take politics. No matter who is in the White House, it’s easy to critique the policies of a President without having to constructively engage in the political process. I find it fascinating how many people have very strong political opinions but can’t name their local representative in Congress.

But if you look at the people who’ve made the greatest change in the world, they’re the ones who spent the least amount of their time as critics and consumers.

I believe human beings were made by a God who loves to create, and in his benevolence, he made us a lot like him. Whether 7 days or 7 billion years, God is at his best when he’s creating. So are we.

I also believe that people and the positions they hold can change. Which means it’s our job to try and move from a life of consumption and criticism and into a life of creative action.

Maybe you’ve already begun. If so, it's your job to cultivate creativity in others.

This isn’t just for artists, activists, engineers, or entrepreneurs. I think everyone has the ability to create with great purpose. This is one of the reasons I’ve started this blog.

I believe ordinary people have the unique ability to impact the lives of others. And if you’re reading this with a few minutes to spare and high speed internet, you also have a moral responsibility to do so.

Work can be monotonous. Each day I try and put one thing on my to-do list that requires a fresh creative punch. Oftentimes this is as simple as a 10 minute phone call to bounce a new idea off a friend. I find this simple act of forcing myself to create actually invigorates all the other things I’ve been avoiding all day.

Some final thoughts:

  • Creativity is an exponential force. It produces better work that produces better work.

  • Creativity is also a repelling force. The more we create, the more it repels us away from the dangers of over consumption and over criticism.

Questions to ask yourself:

What moves you? What drives you? What infuriates you? And how can you creatively engage in a way that uses your innate gifts and abilities, instead of just responding as a critic or consumer?

Start today. The worst thing you can do is postpone your creative action until tomorrow.

- JZ

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Comments (30)

  • Paul | All Groan Up

    Paul | All Groan Up

    22 October 2011 at 18:58 |
    Justin - Couldn't be more right on with this article. Excited to see what you will create here at JZ.com.
  • Michelle


    23 October 2011 at 01:01 |
    This is so good to read - especially for a generation that can be excellent complainers and talkers but not always well equipped creators and doers. Thank you!
  • Cornelia Seigneur

    Cornelia Seigneur

    23 October 2011 at 16:19 |
    Great article- Donald Miller mentioned you in a tweet - great words here, encouraging creativity, even 10 minutes to talk to someone about an idea. We serve a creative God who loves creativity. -cornelia seigneur, west linn oregon
  • Kristin Ritzau

    Kristin Ritzau

    31 October 2011 at 19:02 |
    Love that you're getting this stuff out there - great job! As another hopeful creator, I am encouraged by your words.
  • Justin Zoradi

    Justin Zoradi

    06 January 2012 at 15:25 |
    Thanks Paul, Michelle, Kristin, and Cornelia. Appreciate your kind words
  • Jesse Mojica

    Jesse Mojica

    08 February 2012 at 19:20 |
    Well said friend. I have been thinking about similar things lately. Excited to see the future of this blog and your writings.
  • Justin Zoradi

    Justin Zoradi

    08 February 2012 at 19:37 |
    Thanks Jesse!
  • Curtis


    08 February 2012 at 20:00 |
  • Joel Rau

    Joel Rau

    09 February 2012 at 03:02 |
    i feel like what you've said, Justin, applies a lot to idealism. while necessary to keep our aspirations renewed, we find ourselves caught up in idealizing to the extent that we lose our ability to actually bring these ideals to fruition. constructive criticism is necessary to the same degree and requires as much self-control.
  • Justin Zoradi

    Justin Zoradi

    09 February 2012 at 03:07 |
    Thank you Joel. Really appreciate your insight here. Constructive Criticism is absolutely necessary. And the key word there is 'constructive'. I think Criticism for the sake, can very quickly lead us to cynicism. But anything constructive moves us forward, which is a good thing.
    • Katie Hunt Sturm

      Katie Hunt Sturm

      09 February 2012 at 05:15 |
      I actually find that criticism is such a negatively loaded word these days that I think it isn't really helpful anymore. Even constructive criticism can often come across poorly. I've become more and more a fan of aiming towards constructive "feedback" or critique, as these tend to offer more in the way of positive moves forward. Like you say above, it's a lot easier to point out the things we are against - or that need work - than it is to focus and hone in on those things that are really *making* something thrive and grow and calling out more of that.
      • Justin Zoradi

        Justin Zoradi

        09 February 2012 at 05:25 |
        Thanks Katie!
      • Joel Rau

        Joel Rau

        10 February 2012 at 23:27 |
        i feel that it is still very important to learn how to handle criticism appropriately. it's easy to associate criticism with disapproval but it is not always meant that way.

        it goes both ways: we need to learn how to be constructive with our criticism (in a way that inspires more creation) and we need to learn how to be progressively more understanding when we are criticized.
  • Taylor Smith

    Taylor Smith

    09 February 2012 at 03:13 |
    Great post, Justin. My Dad used to tell me that we are "limitless possibility," that we have the power to create and do whatever it is that our minds can conceive. I truly believe that God inspires us to create possibilities in places where we may have never imagined. Thanks for reminding me of the need to approach each day with creativity in mind.
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      09 February 2012 at 04:00 |
      Thanks Taylor. Your Dad is totally right. Limitless Possibility.
  • Kris Porter

    Kris Porter

    09 February 2012 at 03:19 |
    You're right, Justin, about being created in the image of a Creative God! God spoke things into being, and yet we don't realize the power of our words too ... especially those that are just in our own mind (like "who am I to be creative?"). Thanks for doing the work of putting your creative thoughts into a blog to share with us!
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      09 February 2012 at 04:01 |
      Thanks Kris. A creative God means Creative people. Thank you.
  • Elizabeth


    09 February 2012 at 04:23 |
    Hello! Steve Mayer sent me your way. As someone who loves to create, hopes to make a difference, and is totally over all the arguing, I loved everything you had to say here. Constant criticism sets us up to be a removed, self-righteous Other while creativity calls us to enjoy and engage openly with what's around us. I look forward to reading more. All the best on your new venture in blogging!
  • Justin Zoradi

    Justin Zoradi

    09 February 2012 at 05:05 |
    Thanks Elizabeth! Appreciate it so much. Yes, most definitely, Creativity calls us to openly engage with others. Thanks
  • Annie


    09 February 2012 at 05:23 |
    Are you, dare I say it, critiquing the act of critiquing?
    I'm kidding.
    Justin, you are great. I'm so honored to be your friend. I love how you inspire with a kindness and passion that is just so evident, in your life and in these words. I'm excited to be inspired even more in the future from this blog! And now I'm gonna go create something! Well, actually, it's 11. So I'm going to go to bed. But I'm gonna create the CRAP out of tomorrow.
  • Justin Zoradi

    Justin Zoradi

    09 February 2012 at 05:32 |
    hahaha. thanks Annie. Yes, I am critiquing the act of critiquing!

    You are the original creator. You inspire me!
  • Tyler Braun

    Tyler Braun

    09 February 2012 at 05:36 |
    Be sure to check out the book Culture Making by Andy Crouch. A lot of the discussion throughout the book is around exactly what you're talking about here. Well done Justin.
  • Justin Zoradi

    Justin Zoradi

    09 February 2012 at 05:40 |
    Thanks Tyler. Yes, I've heard this about Andy Crouch. A number of recommendations to his work tonight. Appreciate it man. Thank you!
  • Trent


    09 February 2012 at 05:49 |
    "People and their positions can change." Glad I'm not the only one who still remembers this foundational life truth from our professor, Giuliano. Great stuff, Justin.
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      09 February 2012 at 06:14 |
      You got it Trent. And so far you're the first one to pick that up. Thank you man.
  • Trent Tyni

    Trent Tyni

    09 February 2012 at 06:56 |
    "People and their positions can change" bringing me back to dr. giuliano and reconciliation. Great stuff, Justin
  • Jered Martin

    Jered Martin

    09 February 2012 at 07:37 |
    I am moved by saltiness. People who are the salt of the world.
    They make me thirsty. They have come in real contact with Christ, and make me thirst for it.

    I am driven to expand the kingdom, or die trying.
    I infuriate myself. My laziness, daily lack of drive and common excuses.

    Surrounding myself with other creators. Engaging with things like this, instead of hiding or idly reading posts and responses.
  • Cris Nole

    Cris Nole

    09 February 2012 at 15:31 |
    I love your blog, your questions and the way I am stirred to think.

    What moves me? I am moved by others finding their potential inside them to govern and lead themselves, when others know their voice, understand their story and embrace their dream.

    What drives you? Empowering personal leadership in order to create a culteure of confident people.

    What infuriates you? People doing for others what they should be doing for themselves.

    And how can you creatively engage in a way that uses your innate gifts and abilities, instead of just responding as a critic or consumer?

    Listening well, asking good quesitions and pausing on purpose in order for the one sharing to hear the still queit voice inside them for the answer they are looking for.

    Cris Nole
  • David Bell

    David Bell

    09 February 2012 at 16:18 |
    The greatest gift creators give to this world is not their own creation, but the inspiration and motivation that moves non-creators to create their own masterpieces. Thank you Justin for being that inspiration and motivation for others.
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      27 March 2012 at 07:43 |
      Thanks David. Appreciate your kind words.

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