There is more fascinating, educational and useful content produced online every day than any one person could practically consume in a dozen lifetimes. With that said, you do run across people who seem to want to try and master everything being produced by other people.
And as a result of this focus on consumption, these people never get around to producing anything of their own.
There are a couple different reasons for this.
In some instances, people just get into the habit of taking courses, reading eBooks, watching webinars and watching videos. It becomes like a hobby and they actually enjoy finding something new and consuming it.
As a content producer, I love these people. They make exceptional customers because they don’t run the things they are contemplating buying through any kind of “ROI filter”. I find these customers just buy whatever I’m selling and more often than not, they don’t even consume the content.
If you’re going to buy something, you should know how you’re going to apply it to get a return on your investment.
But what about free content?
This is way worse because free content is so prevalent that you could spend a month of Sundays going through it all. Because people aren’t paying for it, they hoard it and waste an inordinate amount of time on consuming it.
Aside from the habitual consumers, there are people who lack confidence and look for things to fill in the gaps in their knowledge. This normally starts out innocently enough where someone wants to learn a new skill to compliments something they are doing, then six months later they are still “learning” and have applied next to nothing.
These people get paralysed by self-doubt that’s often caused by consuming so many differing perspectives that they don’t know what to do. Then in an effort to resolve this conflict, they start looking for more information to guide them. On and on it goes, endlessly looking for some consistent guidance to help give them the “right answer”.
The last group are the time wasters. They just aren’t interested in doing anything and realistically, they buy and consume a bunch of information because it’s easier than actually doing something. These people often talk about doing stuff, but really it’s never going to happen because “taking action” just isn’t part of their DNA.
When I come across people that are struggling to focus and take some action, I tell them to go on a “consumption diet” and start producing their own stuff. If you take every minute that you spend consuming other people’s content and focus on creating and marketing your own, you’ll be so much better off it’s ridiculous.
I’ve been guilty of this myself over the years more times than I can count. Whenever I want to learn something new, I develop a ferocious appetite for the best content available to teach myself whatever I’m looking to learn. Then I go down the rabbit hole and before too long, I’ve gone well beyond what I wanted to learn and am trying to master that thing.
But there’s an inherent problem with that approach. You can’t master something without practising it. You actually have to roll your sleeves up and do it.
I’m absolutely sure there are some of you out there reading this feeling a bit sheepish knowing that this describes you. And seriously, that’s ok. Just get past it. Put yourself on a “consumption diet” right now, stop learning and consuming other people’s work and get that time back.
Like any diet, the trick is moderation. I’m a big proponent of being a “student of the game” so I’m not suggesting you go into a cave somewhere and just do your own thing. You see people, especially in the internet marketing space telling people to unsubscribe from every email list except theirs and stop listening to everyone else’s podcasts. I think that’s self-serving nonsense.
You probably know who are the top two or three sources of information for whatever it is you’re trying to learn. Stick to those people and their content for the time being. Evaluate it every so often, make sure they’re adding value to you still and if not, ditch them – make those people earn your attention.
And all that time you get back, invest it in yourself! Start applying what you’ve learned and move your business forward rather than being a spectator of someone else’s.