Whenever I hear the term “consuming content,” I picture people pouring colorless sludge down feeding pipes that come out of their heads.
The entertainment industry, in particular, seems to have embraced the term content consumption. Streaming services churn out shows nonstop, and every new movie either sets up a franchise or is part of an extended universe. No wonder most of today’s entertainment is derivative and cheap when the starting point is that of something to be consumed.
It’s like most processed food that comes out of a package. It might be tasty in the moment but provides no nourishment.
I propose we change how we describe the act of feeding our minds. Let’s stop consuming content. Let’s savor and study instead.
Thinking in terms of savoring and studying might seem like a word game, but I consider it a mental model that raises the quality bar of your inputs. For something to be savored, it needs to be good. Shallow material offers little to study.
If you’re tempted to scroll through your phone while watching TV, whatever is playing mustn’t be good enough to savor. Find something better, something so engaging that your mind won’t ask for distractions.
The same goes when seeking something to learn from. Scrolling through tweets, skimming blog paragraphs, or speed-reading books can be done only when there’s little substance. If you can gloss over it, it’s not stimulating enough. Look for media that requires your full attention.
We live in a world of content abundance. There’s too much stuff out there for anyone to go through in their lifetime. And the floodgates of AI-generated media are about to be opened. Someone consuming content will be overwhelmed and dissatisfied because no matter how much they pour down the pipe, there’ll always be more ready to come in.
To savor and study require complete engagement and high quality.
There’s not much content that passes that filter.
Change the verb to change behavior. Actually, why don’t we change noun, too? Let’s ditch the generic content and use proper names.
Don’t consume content. Study an essay. Learn from a course. Enjoy a book. Savor a movie.