Creating Value & Wealth: The 70/30 Rule

Creating Value & Wealth: The 70/30 Rule

Hey, John Sonmez from
I got a question from Gabriel here about producing things versus learning. I think this is a
good question because a lot of people fall on one end of this or they don’t know where
to go with this. Gabriel says, “Howdy John. Just listened to your latest podcast about
setting a focus and I found it very useful. Recently I’ve also been struggling with
deciding what to focus on and the podcast reminded me that it’s important to focus
on just one or 2 big tasks everyday which will have the biggest impact and then smash
those tasks out. Thanks for the timely reminder. I have a small further question relating to
the balance between consuming and learning information vs. creating. I feel that both
are necessary but I’m finding it difficult to determine a balance. It seems easy to learn/consume
information. I listen to podcast while walking to and from work and while working out. I
watch PluralSight videos and reprogramming/career development books while on the train and in
evening at home all learning/consuming. The only time I really create anything is while
I’m at work and this is only because I have to. Learning is just so much more fun and
easier but I do recognize the need to create things, to demonstrate knowledge and provide
value. Any thoughts on a good ratio of learning vs. creating, also, do you have any suggestions
on ways to fit more creation time into your day? Obviously creating requires more focus
than learning so how do you carve out time for that? As always, thanks for the thoughtful
responses. Cheers, Gabriel.” So Gabriel, there’s definitely a balance
between creating and consuming and learning. The balance really, surprisingly, should be
on the creation side for most people and I’ll tell you why. One of the things—I’ve talked
about this quite a few times especially in my Soft Skills book is that when you’re
teaching something to someone that’s really how you solidify things in your mind. That’s
really where the learning sets in. That’s where you go from knowing something to understanding
something. If you don’t do the teaching which is kind
of the creating, producing, right, then you’re not going to achieve that. Also, we learn
mostly like there’s myths about the learning styles but most of us really learn by doing
things, right? The most effective way to learn is to do, is to take action. Really, the best
way that you can improve your skills and learn is actually by producing. Not only that, but
producing also has a side effect of it helps other people and it can produce income or
something for you, right? The more blog posts I write or YouTube videos I do the better
that Simple Programmer becomes and the bigger of an opportunity it becomes for me so I want
to produce a lot of stuff. The same thing when I was doing PluralSight courses, right?
But that doesn’t mean—so then you might be asking, well, how can I just produce stuff
if I’m not learning things? The answer is that again it comes down to this. I’ve talked
about this a few times but when you’re trying to learn something you should be learning
for a purpose which is should be something that you’re trying to do, right? They’re
kind of connected, right? You shouldn’t just read books or listening
to audio books or whatever for no purpose at all. I mean you could do that occasionally
to absorb information but a lot of your dedicated time that you’re studying, that you’re
consuming information should be to learn something for a specific purpose so that you can use
it. If your purpose is to produce some content then you’re double ending it, right? You’re
getting the benefit of learning, but you’re also teaching at the same time and producing
something and that’s going to have a greater impact and result.
I would honestly say that you should be spending probably 70% of your time producing and then
30% of your time learning. You’re going to go through phases. Like I said they’re
really a connected process. In order to be able to produce stuff you need to learn so
you need to learn enough to be able to do what you’re trying to create or produce.
That’s why you should be doing things like writing blog posts, if you’re doing videos
or Screencast or something like that, writing software, the more that you do that the better
that you’re going to get at it. A good example is I could—let’s say that
I wanted to get good at golf. I can read a bunch of books about golf and learn everything
that I want to learn about golf but I’m really going to get good by practicing. Then
once I’m actually doing stuff, I’m actually practicing, then reading supplemental information
is going to help me because it’s going to answer questions I have, I’m actually going
to be able to apply it to what I’m doing as opposed to if I just started reading books
about golf, I wouldn’t get any better at golf. The same thing works in a lot of ways.
I would definitely say try to be a producer. Too many of us are consumers, right? Too many
of us consume stuff and we don’t produce anything. Majority of the world is full of
consumers and how is that working out for them? Not so well. The people that you see
that are doing exceptionally well in life, that are making a lot of money, they’re
typically producers, they’re creating something, they’re creating some value. The well can’t
be dry. I totally agree there, but spend more of your time producing than consuming and
you’re going to have much more success. You’re going to understand and learn things
better and you’re going to know what you need to learn instead of just hearing information.
A lot of people listen to a lot of information, they read a lot of books but they don’t
absorb it because they have no purpose for it. They have no reason to get this information
because they’re not actually doing anything with it. If you’re doing something with
it you’re going to get a lot more value out of what you are consuming and you’ll
find that you need to consume a lot less. A small amount of content that you consume
you can produce a lot from it. That’s how fields and areas expand. It forces you to
think, to use your own brain and come up with solutions and come up with things and actually
contribute. Anyway, I hope that helps you Gabriel. I hope
that you’ve got a blog. If you don’t you should definitely create one. Anyone out there,
if you’re listening watching these videos you should definitely create a blog. Again,
you can sign up for my free blogging course. Go and do it now. If you have a question for
me, email me at [email protected] and don’t forget to subscribe to the channel
if you haven’t already. Take care.


  1. pavXX says:

    My sensei uses the "learning to swim" analogy. Ie: you can't learn to swim by reading about swimming; you need to jump in the water and just do it.

  2. Andre Almar says:

    wow great advice!!

  3. Humayun Shabbir says:

    This is very good and genuine advice. It is worth sharing.

  4. ThinkBig500 says:

    This will turn into one of the biggest self-help channels on YouTube.

  5. Radioactive FistFoot says:

    It's really hard to balance both because it's easier to just start reading something rather than just doing it, but it just make so much sense that you must practice to actually be good at it. Thanks for the video!

  6. FrenkyB says:

    The best thing from this video is comparison with learn how to play golf – you really can't learn how to play golf without actually playing it. Books or other theory stuff are definitely good, but at the end playing golf should take most of the time.

  7. Samiullah Khan says:

    Well said, I should spend 70% of my time producing not 70% Learning. I think this is/was major problem with me, I would learn and learn and learn not from one source but using bunch of resources. In the end when I really didn't see any success because I wasn't spending much time on creating, I would fed up, fatigued. Now I understood why I should reduce the learning percentage and even bring it down to 25%.

  8. mellaoui mohamed says:

    thank you very much sir

  9. Brandon Adams says:

    does curls before programming video, legit.

  10. No Longer In Use says:

    Great video! thanks. Lots of good tips.

    One thing to try is to pick a project for yourself, that you find really interesting, but don't really know how to do. So you are going to have to spend 70% of the time doing something, and 30% studying whatever is needed for the project, and in the end you've created something you can use or enjoy for yourself. At the same time you've learned a new skill. Even if this isn't anything you think you might use soon (or maybe ever), you will find you are learning how to tackle new skills. And you might end up making something valuable.

  11. Mark Monster says:

    Thanks John, you're motivating me to get back to the creation side. Write blogposts again and start creating YouTube video's as well.

  12. th3kingx says:

    Don’t do steroids kids or you’ll break out in face & body acne, not to mention an unproportional physique. For example, having biceps unusually larger than your head and not proportioned with the rest of your arm muscles such as forearms and shoulders.

  13. Zio Records says:

    probably the greatest advice for my productivity concerns, came here from your newer videos, i will update you when i make my first $100,000+ year in my business because i’m sure this is the advice i needed to hear to push me

  14. mike shin says:

    I have the same problem as others. I spend 80% of time learning, I think this is my major problem . I will reduce learning time to 20% and write more blogs and record videos! Thanks for great advise.

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