Today I'm writing about an idea that first gripped me when I was 13: the balance (or contest) between consumption and creation.

We've all grown up in a world where consumption of content has been very easy. It's definitely gone a bit overboard with TikTok, Instagram, etc. promoting super short-form video, but to be honest consumption has always been quite easy in our lifetimes.

10 years ago, you could watch videos from all over the world on YouTube. 20 years ago, you could get anything on CD/DVD. 30-40 years ago, it was VHS. Before that, you did still have TV even if the content was limited!

In short – we grew up with a hunger for and abundance of (often unhealthy) content.

The balance

This question of consumption vs. creation is probably one that everyone has when they first start creating and publicly publishing some original work – and immediately feel a sense of reward for having put something out in the world of their own. How much time should I spend on creating?

If you're starting out from being fully on the consumption end, I think it is reasonable (and totally worth it) to set yourself a goal of 50-50%, i.e. spend the same amount of time creating as you do consuming.

What you create is of course up to you. Maybe it's your writing, videos, photography, music. In my case, oddly enough it started with some 3D artwork (which you are better off not looking up...).

So, should everyone be a "content creator"?

I do think content creation is a much better use of time than consumption. In most cases, it can be intellectually stimulating, and can encourage learning and support your growth.

However, since this article is not an advertisement for going down the so-called influencer route, I think it's important to "create" for the right reasons.

  • Are you working towards a goal?
  • Are you building a skill?
  • Are you bringing yourself into a community you like (e.g. writers, photographers, musicians)?

Should we be consuming at all?

While I'd say I'm a proponent of increasing the time spent on creating, I do wonder what the right amount of consumption is. I don't think it's zero. That said, I think there are a few ways to be mindful about what you consume.

When you next find yourself watching YouTube videos or TV shows or movies, do ask yourself:

  • Is this content inspiring to me?
  • Am I consuming to unwind or feel relaxed? (and if so, how much of it do I need?)
  • Am I consuming only to fill time? Could I instead do something more interesting?

Is this a question you have asked yourself in the past? Tell me what you think by replying / emailing me!