Consumption vs Creation
I did a tweet about this and I think this deserves a full article. I am a big fan of looking at the world as a series of games, hundreds of them, running simultaneously. Success in life is mostly a process of discovering what games we are in, and what are the fundamental rules governing each game. You see, in order to be better at a particular game, we need to know that we are in it, otherwise, we will not optimize our behavior for the game, but to what is easier for us, which is a bad way to play any game. Why am I mentioning this? Well, I think the attention game is something that is being played at large across the whole globe and almost no one is aware of it. It’s called the attention economy and it’s a new resource that we started to exploit on a global scale, which in turn made some people billions of monetary value.
The fundamental idea of the attention game is simple, you give me your screen time I’ll give you an addictive app you can engage in, which in 99% of cases offers nothing but drama and pointless content. Hardly anyone knows that by using any popular social media app, you are basically playing this game. We are in a constant state of consumption, for almost 90% of our free time. We have barely any time to in the creating phrase which wreaks havoc on our lives.
I believe creation is at the core of our being, we can’t feel happy and ok if we are not in the creation phase. And if you don’t believe me, try to introduce a split in your daily routine of a 50/50 ratio of consumption vs creation, and let me know how you feel at the end of the day. For example, the first 8 hours after waking up you don’t engage in any activity that requires you to consume content, you can only do things that require some kind of input from yourself, ex: writing, coding, walking, thinking, painting, talking with other people. It’s not about being productive and working on your work, it’s about giving your brain some time to relax and organize and sort out all the input you had from the days before.
If you feel like watching a youtube video, to relax and take a break, don’t, try and take a walk instead, and think about random things, I guarantee that you will feel much better afterward. Consumption sucks our energy and spikes our dopamine system with no real benefit afterward.
This is the main culprit in the modern world, the relentless and endless phase of consumption. It’s only recently that humans started to be in a constant consumption phase. It used to be quite rare to witness something interesting, and when you did, it was wonderful. We used to spend 90% of our lives in a state of creation, thinking, experimenting, and doing things, and there was barely anything to watch or listen to. We had to talk to someone in order to get some input from the outside.
The 50/50 split
Now for the million-dollar idea, if we can’t beat the consumption phase, we can balance it out with at least the same amount of the creation phase. It’s not that difficult and will have a massive impact on your life in the next couple of years. Wanna be crazy productive like Elon Musk or George Hots? Well, turn it up all the way to 90/10 in favor of the creation phase. It’s okay to have at least some percentage of the input to fuel our creativity but I think we underestimate how little input we need to be productive and creative.
Onwards and keep up at least the 50/50 split!