Consumer or producer? At any given time we are likely one or the other.
As consumers we read what somebody else wrote, purchase what someone else made, ponder ideas someone else created, observe problems we hope someone else will fix.
Going to a movie, listening to music, attending a sports event, relentlessly checking Facebook or keeping abreast of the latest scores on ESPN are all about taking in content generated by someone else.
Being a consumer is passive and typically enjoyable. Little is required of us. And it’s virtually always safe. I might feel a bit guilty about spending my Sunday afternoon watching golf on TV but hey, no harm, no foul.
As producers we are doing the work, writing the blog post, making that new product, bringing our art to the world, challenging the status quo, embodying the change we wish to see in the world, putting ourselves out there. But as Seth reminds us, this might not work.
By its very nature, producing takes more energy, more focus, more grit and is riskier than mere consumption. Producing something with the potential to be truly meaningful and remarkable is more challenging and riskier still. It demands vulnerability.
Of course we are all consumers and producers. There is no such thing as a pure consumer or a 100% producer. On any given day, we will spend our waking hours engaged doing some of both. Life, as we know, is ebb and flow, yin and yang, give and take.
So it’s not about being one or the other. And it’s not about labeling consumption as inherently bad and production as fundamentally virtuous.
But I do think it’s worth thinking about whether we’ve got the right mix.
And then working intentionally to produce a better outcome.
A version of this post originally appeared at http://www.stevenpdennis.com