Both creators and consumers have been trained to live in a world that glorifies fluff. This is partly because fluff is easier to create than real value, and partly because human beings suck at telling the difference between real value and imaginary value. (I’ll let you guess which category the fast food value meal fits into).
We are all creating and consuming from the moment we wake up in the morning. Our relationships, our work, the way we spend our free time – it is an endless balance of give (create) and take (consume) in something of a constant value continuum that would lend itself nicely to a fancy chart if I cared to make one.
If we all learned how to sort out the fluff from our creation and our consumption, I would argue we could all be happier, healthier and more productive. So how do you tell if something is offering real value? Simple. It is likely true value if, a year from now, those who consume it are still benefiting from its positive impact in their lives.
Imagine two blog posts…
One is full of “juicy” content on how to practice mindfulness – the kind with long lists, lots of headings, some pictures, and at least 3,500 words of content. It packs a powerful punch and makes you go “wow.”
The other simply says: Smile, breathe, and go slowly.
If you forgot everything in the first post but remembered the latter for the rest of your life, which one do you think has more value to you?
Of course, not everything will be equally valuable to everyone. And don’t get the impression that there is a pattern to real value (there never is). It isn’t about length, or depth, or wow-factor, or price, or the opinions of your neighbor. It’s all about creating lasting impact for real people.
The point is this…
Consumers: Ask yourself if giving your time, attention, or money to X will make you happier, smarter, or more content a year from now. If not, give it to something or someone else. Continue that sifting process for a while and you’ll notice a dramatic difference in the quality of your life.
Creators: Ignore the seduction of creating fluff in a pretty package. Fluff might give you a quick boost in popularity, but you’ll only attract people who aren’t smart enough to see it for what it really is. Don’t follow any patterns. Just find your best way to ship real value day after day. Then, your audience (your friends, your readers, your boss) will pave the way to wherever you want to go. It might not happen overnight, but it will happen.
Image Credit: cookieevans5