Do You Realize How Much You’re Being Entertained?

Until you do, you are probably wasting a lot of your time

Robert M. Vunabandi
9 min readMar 24, 2023

When Patrick Bet-David, main host of the Valuetainment Youtube channel (4.06M subscriber), decided a while back to spin off a podcast off of the channel, I was ecstatic. Ever since then—and I kid you not, I’ve listened to practically every single episodes of the podcasts. That is, every single episodes up until episode 239 which aired on February 23rd, 2023. I haven’t listened to any other episode since then.

Episode 239 was unlike every other episodes because they had a Live audience, and as it turns out, I was part of that live audience. The Live show aired in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but that’s not the only thing that was special about it. In addition to being Live, the audience was extremely exclusive: in order to gain access to the tickets for this show, you had to have listened to one of the earlier episodes (somewhere in the 180–210 range), had to have signed up to receive a text when tickets were available, and only those who signed up had access to the ticketing link up until when the tickets were sold out (which they announced at and during a later episode that I was listening to). So, you had to also be an avid listener of the podcast in order to get a chance to even come to this Live show, so I was also excited to meet “my people”.

Consequently, I took 3 days off work, flew out from New York City to Miami, rented a car, drove all the way up to Fort Lauderdale (a 1 hour ride given the traffic), booked a hotel for those 3 days (effectively 2 nights), and showed up to the event on February 23rd. At the start of the events, they served refreshments and through that, we could mingle amongst each other. As I was doing that, I noticed something strange: it wasn’t easy to connect with anyone I met. That was strange because you’re supposed to easily connect with people you share the same interests. Moving on, I noticed another thing that felt strange, which was that I was at the same time so close yet so far from the hosts (Patrick was there, but 3 other hosts who appear in many of the other podcasts were there too). It’s like, I was extremely close to them in proximity (literally in the same room a few feet away), and yet I was clearly not friends or buddy with them—I couldn’t walk up to them and talk to them. Finally, the last thing I realized—the strangest of all—was that this experience felt like I was watching the PBD Podcast on Youtube but in Fort Lauderdale in Florida.

Those realization together taught me one of the most important lesson I’ve learned this year.

This Third Strange Realization Hit Me Hard

Would you ever fly out to another state just to watch Youtube? That is practically what I did.

The hosts were, similar to when I am watching something like this at home, so far away from me that I could neither speak to them directly nor touch them. In addition, the hosts were a bit scripted: they were doing what they always do in every podcast—talk about the news, make some jokes, and give interesting takes. Finally, there wasn’t much interaction with and within the live audience, so I was really there alone (though I connected on Instagram with some of the people I met, that’s really about it).

What happened was that I was totally and utterly being entertained and nothing else. I spend thousands of dollars to go to Florida just to be entertained with something that I could easily watch at home, and that amount of money I spent on this event doesn’t even compare to the hours I’ve wasted listening to 200+ episodes of this podcast (each episode is about 2 hours, go figure).

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not bashing the podcast. Patrick has some of the most interesting takes that will really make you think, and to some extent, the other hosts too. In addition, there’s value in how in this podcast, they bring in famous guests and pick their brains. I’m also not bashing the audience: there were some really cool folks in there. Despite our shared interests, I just didn’t connect with most of them.

What really bothered me is the fact that in my head, I thought I was getting VALUE out of this podcast when I was actually being ENTERTAINED.


To me, there’s a great difference between what is ENTERTAINMENT and what is VALUE, and it’s a subtle one.

The same exact thing that is ENTERTAINMENT can moments later become VALUE, and something else that is VALUE can become ENTERTAINMENT. What differentiates what is ENTERTAINMENT vs. VALUE is the reason you are spending time on this particular thing.

Pretty much for all of the 200+ episodes of the PBD podcast that I listened to, I listened to them just because I wanted to listen to them. There was no greater purpose behind me listening to them: I just enjoyed it. Therefore, I was truly just entertained, and I wanted to pass the time with something that was “fun”. And there was nothing wrong with that except for the fact that in my head, I thought I was getting VALUE out of it.

VALUE is different in that when you do something that is valuable, you are doing it in order to achieve a greater purpose or mission that you care about. Simple example: Eating is VALUE if (and when) you’re eating to feed yourself so that you don’t go hungry and die, and at the same time eating is ENTERTAINMENT when you enjoy the taste of what you’re eating and when you choose to eat something that tastes better to you.

At the core of the issue here is thinking that I’m doing one thing when I’m actually doing something else: thinking that I’m getting VALUE when I’m actually getting ENTERTAINMENT.

Youtube Creators and Entertainment

Viewed through this lens, a lot of things are entertainment, and one thing that I particularly wanted to bring up are Youtubers. Again, I’m not here to bash Youtubers, but at the same time they have a big role to play.

I speculate that one of the primary reasons Youtubers do it is because they can and do make money from it. If you run a successful Youtube channel, you can pretty much live off of that—and comfortably I might add. So, if you keep making money from this thing, then why stop? And that’s where the Youtubers kind of fail us (the listeners): Youtubers aren’t out to provide value to you. They are out to make money, and how they do it is by getting a hold of your attention and entertaining you as much as possible while they have it. That is the incentives they have. And this goes for any Youtuber. The guy that listens to Veritasium (a 13.5M subscribers channel about science topics) is not too far off from the guy that listens to PewDiePie (a 111M subscribers channel—I don’t watch this but I know it’s a lot of nothing): both people are being entertained if they have no true purpose for tuning into those channel.

At the same time, one can find value in literally any channel. For instance, back to the PBD Podcast, I find that listening and observing how Patrick Bet-David handles criticism and conflict can help teach me how to handle it in my own life if and when it happens. So, if I tuned in one day with the sole goal of understanding how to handle conflict (and I paid particular attention to how Patrick handled conflicts in the show), that would be valuable to me.

What is not value, however, is tuning in just to tune in. That’s simply entertainment.

Value Creators vs. Entertainment Creators

At the end of the day, consumers and creators come together because the creator has something to offer than the consumer wants. Yet, I believe that there are forms of creations that you can categorize more as value-providing than others. The following is the personal list I was able to come up with (in order of most value to least value):

  • Mentors: these offer the most value. Usually, the mentee goes to the mentor asking for specific help—which is purpose driven and therefore offers the most value.
  • Classes: Any sort of class can provide value. These could be online classes, in person classes, cooking classes, etc.
  • Books (and therefore book authors): On one end, authors spend years distilling the information they’ve gained into a valuable and concise piece that summarizes what they want to convey, and on the other end, people don’t buy books that they don’t want to read. Maybe we can put movies in this section as well.
  • Articles / Blogs / Video Creators: At this level, I believe we’ve gotten to the point where the content is more entertainment than value. I am in this category with the blogs I write, too. Though a blog or video may have a specific topic, a creator that consistently outputs content of this type is most likely entertaining his audience.
  • Social Media Creators: I believe this is the lowest level where it’s mostly entertainment. Think: TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, etc. It’s hard to argue how the content created here is not solely for entertainment purposes. This also includes the Youtube comments section (that’s half a joke).

If you go through my list, top to bottom, you quickly realize that it goes from very expensive to completely free. Doing this exercise made me realize that the more you have to actually spend money on something, the more likely it is value because you think twice about what you spend your money on.

Equally noteworthy to realize is the fact that in every elements of that list, we have creators: people that go out of their way to create or output content of you to consume. Therefore, it most definitely can’t be the creator’s fault. While what I said in the previous paragraph may have sounded like I was against these creators, the truth is I absolutely am not because I don’t think creators are the problem.

Instead, the real problem is actually in you. Not you, but in you.

Photo by GR Stocks on Unsplash

The Problem With Mindless Entertainment

Is there something wrong with entertainment?

One of my friend asked me, “sometimes I like learning just for the sake of learning. Would that be considered entertainment?” and my answer, if you really apply this way of thought, is YES. Learning for learning’s sake is entertainment. However, it is not necessarily wrong.

Instead, it is wrong when you think you’re getting value when in reality you are getting entertained. It is wrong when you lie to yourself about what you are doing.

The real problem is in you

Ask yourself, why do you keep entertaining yourself so much?

When I asked myself this question, the answer I found was an ugly one that I didn’t want to acknowledge. There are plenty of reasons why I keep mindlessly entertaining myself:

  • I’m lazy
  • I haven’t figured out what I want to do with my life
  • I’m complacent by thinking that “I’ve made it” and now don’t need to work hard
  • I’m not disciplined enough, and therefore I can’t help it but spend hours watching videos on Facebook or Instagram
  • etc…

In particular, it is that I haven’t figured out what I want to do with my life. I haven’t found my calling. Still, that’s not an excuse to allow myself to be mindlessly entertained.

All in all, here’s what I think:

  1. Entertainment is OK as long as I consciously and fully acknowledge that that is what is happening.
  2. If I find myself mindlessly entertaining myself, however, I need to shift gear and either make it mindful and change to doing something that actually brings value to me.
  3. The more I have to pay for something, the more likely it is providing real value to my life.

In other words, to each their own as to how much time they want to spend getting VALUE vs. getting ENTERTAINED; however, try not to be mindless about it because your life will literally pass before your eyes if you keep being mindlessly entertained at all times.

To Conclude

I’m actually glad I went to the live PBD Podcast. I’ve spend god knows how many hours (if not days in aggregate) listening to this podcast and being mindlessly entertained, and maybe I had to pay a big cost to realize that that was what was happening.

Also, it wasn’t just realizing that I shouldn’t listen to this podcast anymore (as it actually does not align with my goals though it could with someone else) but that I should probably evaluate every other pieces of content that I consume through this lens of VALUE vs. ENTERTAINMENT. At least now, when I go on Youtube, I acknowledge in my head that I’m there to be entertained, and the fact that entertainment inherently has no goals, I find myself spending less time being entertained and more time being mindful about what I do in order to get the most VALUE out of life.



Robert M. Vunabandi

Learning through life experiences and books, I share my ever-evolving understanding of the world and the niche-sphere of life that I live in.