If we were to produce everything we consumed, would we live a more successful and fulfilling life? What if rather than eating fast food and watching Netflix we created healthy meals and created youTube videos? Is it the secret to living a more meaningful life?
We are turning into hyper consumers, and it’s costing us our health and happiness. Obesity rates are skyrocketing due to fast food consumption, our attention spans are fragmented due to social media and rapid content consumption, our productivity levels are dropping because we just can’t pull ourselves away from that Netflix series. We sacrifice sleep for screen time and consume alcohol and drugs out of boredom. As a consumer we can order something on Amazon and receive it that very day.
Are the long term effects of hyper consumption in all forms destroying our mental, physical and financial health?
But, we are not to blame, we are the product of clever psychological conditioning from birth. The very things we consume are designed to make us want more. We are appealing more and more to comfort and consumption over challenge and production.
As an experiment what if for a set period of time, we had to produce the very things that we consume?
We’ve all been there, staying up far too late because the latest Netflix series is ‘just too good’. So good in fact, that we sacrifice sleep and therefore productivity for. We waste hours and hours watching Netflix and other streaming services with no benefit to our future selves.
What if, rather then spending hours on Netflix binges we put that time into creating our very own youTube series with little more than an iPhone. Create the first Netflix series to that’s been shot entirely on an iPhone. We can use our favourite Netflix series as research material, but never as consumption for consumptions sake. I’d imagine completing such a feat would be much more rewarding than the latest series that’s ‘just that good’.
Another compulsive consumption we just can’t get enough of is Social Media. Pages and pages of exciting content just a screen swipe away. But does consuming social media actually make us happy? Is it actually an enjoyable activity to pursue? If someone asked us what we do for fun, would we say ‘I really enjoy scrolling through Social Media? I doubt it. Yet, we spend hours and hours doing it (that includes you, Reddit). We do it because it’s the most low impact, low resistance activity to do when we don’t know what to do.
It prevents us from having to think, because thinking is hard.
What if we took some advice from Gary Vaynerchuk and instead became Social Media producers rather than consumers? We could share the interesting things we are producing, share the process of that new skill we are learning rather than wasting time on Social Media. We can build a personal brand sharing the things we are passionate about and become interesting people, instead of feeding the attention economy.
Finally, we all know being successful is great but without our health we don’t have much. And as they say, health starts in the kitchen. The low fat movement in the 90s hasn’t helped things but its pretty clear that fast and processed convenience foods are making us sick. Filled with industrial seed oils, refined carbs and sugars these engineered foodstuffs are wrecking havoc on our bodies.
I get it, we must consume food to survive, but in the same vain as stated above, what if we changed the way we consumed food, what if we did our best to produce the food we want to consume?
Want a burger? Get the best ingredients and start making it ourselves. If we produced more of the foods we desire at home with raw natural ingredients we’d all be better off. Home cooking is far more satisfying and better tasting than waiting for food to travel 10km to you door on the back of a moped. Cold.
Going one step further, we could only eat the vegetables we grew on our porch or back garden. Producing our own vegetables would be healthier, fresher and cheaper.
I think really think we need to start thinking ‘production over consumption’ as a society. Instead of playing computer games we build them, instead of buying furniture we built it, instead of listening to music we made it, instead of brewing beer, we brewed the beer we drank. I think if we started producing more and consuming less, we all live much happier and healthier lives.
This is a topic I wish to meditate on this year, trying to make a effort to consume less and produce more.
What do you currently spend far too much time consuming? Could you produce it instead? Let’s discuss!