Consumption is killing your success

Spending hours each week watching the news, scrolling social media and reading opinion pieces is stopping you from creating masterpieces of your own.

The internet has us glued and yearning for new information and fast entertainment. And we are never satiated.

What would happen if for every hundred tweets you read, you wrote one? For every five articles you read you published one of your own? Every hour spent watching YouTube was spent creating tutorials and webinars? Or for every few books you finished reading, you finished writing another of yours?

What if you spent that last hour creating a great article rather than consuming the news or social media? What if rather than being influenced by the things you saw, you were influencing others? Crafting compelling content and making an impact on people is a skill and an art. It has to be practiced and you will get better at it.

What you consume ends up consuming you. What started off as some light entertainment or a guilty pleasure has led to something more. Now you’re bought into the storyline and the characters of that new Netflix series. You’re sharing your opinions with others who watch it. You’re in too deep. Now they know you as someone who watches that show, it’s the first thing they ask about when they see you. It replaces other conversations. It’s part of your identity and has started to define you. All you wanted was a bit of harmless TV.

The only way you can Netflix your way to success is if you own Netflix.

Consumption is more than just box sets. It’s stopping you fulfilling your potential. Silicon Valley professionals with Harvard MBAs are working continuously on creating apps and websites that deliberately get us hooked. You’re scrolling social media feeds, consuming everything everyone is posting. Now you know everything about their lives, to what end? You feel worse about your own because you’re comparing yourself. You want that trip, that life, that body. Your thoughts and conversations become about what others are doing and experiencing. You’re less focused on your own game because you’re watching others play theirs.

It’s in your power to control what you consume and what you ignore. No one is forcing you to scroll, you could make other plans. You could produce. Produce good vibes, produce positivity, produce books, articles, videos, anything that gives to the world and others. As Neil Gaiman said, “Make good art”. Keep making it. Keep producing your art and putting it out there and have others consume it for the good of their lives and yours. Draw up the plans and make them happen.

Writer Brianna Wiest, who has published thousands of articles, asserts, “Everybody has ideas for books and songs and companies and businesses. They remain ideas unless they are married to purpose and productivity.” Author and entrepreneur Daniel Priestley said, “The book that changes your life isn’t one you read, it’s the one you write.” Find your purpose and get producing.

What you consume can consume you. What you produce can feed you forever.

Years later, someone could be inspired by something you put out there in the world. Your art can transcend language, time and distance barriers. It will exist long after you are gone. Years later you won’t even remember who won that reality TV show.

Look at your producing versus consuming balance and tip the scales in favour of creating, producing and publishing over scrolling, checking and clicking. Produce more than you consume.