Consuming vs. Producing

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about this idea that we tend to consume way more than we produce. Every day I am devouring YouTube videos, Medium Articles, my Twitter and FB feed, books, magazine articles, email newsletters, etc. All of those things are undoubtedly great and they get a lot of value from them (in one way or another). However, the idea that I am just consuming and not putting anything out there into the world is definitely something that bothers me.

The Insight

If you’re reading this you probably also do your fair share of consumption. We all do. So what’s the big deal? There’s nothing really mind-blowing about this phenomenon. Well that’s also what I thought until I realized that by producing something I could derive a lot of value. Perhaps even more than what I do consuming something and in this case I do not refer to value as a financial return (although that is also certainly possible). No, I am referring to the same sort of intrinsic value that we get when we learn something new or how we feel entertained by a piece of content.

I would actually argue that you can derive more value from producing something than consuming it on a per unit basis. That is, you will derive a lot more value from one hour of producing something than from one hour consuming it. This is obviously just an observation and it will vary wildly depending on what you’re producing or consuming. Some things can also really only be produced vs. consumed (e.g. code) but in general I’ve found that I am deriving a lot of value from producing stuff instead of just consuming all day. Here’s how I’ve been trying to do that:

How to Add Value

This are the ways in which I’ve found that I can produce something that adds value to me and other:

  1. Write → Articles like the one that you’re reading
  2. Build → Program stuff, build a newsletter, a community, whatever!
  3. Share → Share stories, curate things you might find interesting, etc.

This is only the beginning of this journey but so far it’s working great for me and maybe it will for you too. Hence, why I am writing this post. If you feel that this might be useful to someone you know or to your network in general please be sure to share.