Create More, Consume Less

July 8, 2020

Hey :) I want to talk about one of my favourite principles - Create more, consume less.

What is the best way of learning?

David Perell says, people overestimate the benefits of learning by consuming things.

I think this is very true. Many people, including myself, often fall in this trap where they think they can learn faster if they just consume more information like reading more books and articles, listening to more podcasts, or taking more online courses.

But I think that is not really the best way of learning.

As David Perell continues and says, people underestimate the benefits of learning by making things.

David Perell@david_perellPeople over-estimate the benefits of learning by consuming things. People under-estimate the benefits of learning by making things.

What does it mean to make things?

It can be many things. It might be writing a blog post, making a video, or making a podcast.

When you're making things, what you're really doing is explaining an idea using your own words.

But trying to explain an idea clearly is difficult. You really need a deep understanding of the subject to be able to explain it to someone.    

That means if you're struggling to explain something in your own words, you haven't completely understood the idea

Honestly, this struggle doesn't feel great - it makes you feel stupid. I always feel like an idiot whenever I can't clearly explain an idea that I thought I understood well.

But, as Sönke Ahrens, the author of how to take smart notes, says:

The attempt to rephrase an argument in our own words confronts us without mercy with all the gaps in our understanding. It certainly feels less good, but this struggle is the only chance we have to improve our understanding, to learn and move forward.

This is precisely why we should create more, rather than consume more, because the struggle you have when you're creating things is the only chance we have to improve our understanding.

So, whenever you read a book or an article you liked, or listened to a podcast you found interesting, make sure to take notes in your own words.

There is this illustration I love by Anne-Laure, which captures this point. Consuming things without taking notes is almost a waste of your time.

Then, someone asked, what do I do with the notes I took?

She said, create your own content.

Often, people do nothing after taking notes, which is fine, but if you want to learn even more, you should use your notes to create your own content. Write a blog post, make a video, start a newsletter. You can do so much with your notes!

In fact, that is precisely what I did to make this video. I wrote this script with the notes I took.

My video planning page

It's always kind of challenging to create your own content, but it helps me so much to improve my understanding and learn more.    

Additionally, as a bonus, you get to build an audience online and attract new opportunities and people as well if you create your own content.

But, I already talked about that in my previous video about learning in public. So, if you're interested, please check it out!

Anyways, create more, consume less is one of the best pieces of advice I got.

If you read lots of books and articles, don't forget to take notes in your own words. Then use the notes to create. Write an essay, make a video or start a newsletter!

If you need any advice, feel free to send me a DM on Twitter!

Shu Omi

Hi! I'm a writer/videographer. I make videos on Youtube and write articles about productivity, lifestyle, Stoicism, passive income, data science and education.

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