Obsession– Requisite for Business Success, Core of Entrepreneurial Spirit… Or, Dangerous Fixation…

Obsession is a persistent preoccupation with an– idea, feeling, desire… it’s a compelling motivation to achieve a goal, e.g.; leader’s obsess with business profits, entrepreneur obsess with business ventures… According to experts; if you want to ‘excel’ at anything, you must be obsessive, i.e.; constantly think about it, without concern for anything else

That is why some business people are said to be obsessed with their business– all they think about is their business… Same is true with many of the great– writers, artists, architects, scientists… obsession is their mojo… But then, when does ‘passion’ become ‘obsession’? Passions and obsessions are powerful motivators to take risks, to make sacrifices, step outside of conventional norms to achieve a goal…

Passionate people are driven to create, as a way to grow and achieve potential, they are constantly seeking out others who share their passion in a quest for collaboration, inspiration… In contrast, obsessive people hide behind their objects of obsession… The ‘object’ is most important, nothing else matters not even family or themselves. The key difference between ‘passion’ and ‘obsession’ is fundamentally social: passion builds relationships and obsession inhibits them… Passion creates options, while obsession closes them…

According to Amy S. Choi; obsession is the core of the entrepreneurial spirit… it’s a single-mindedness, even on the verge of madness at times, that drives business success… entrepreneurs who dive into their business ventures wholeheartedly sacrifice everything for– ideas, visions… consider; entrepreneurship = obsession; business success = obsession… 

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According to some experts; anyone who is trying to achieve anything huge in business, or even non-business, must be obsessed about it; obsession is truly a prerequisite for any great achievement… According to Aziz Ali; just think about the times, in business, when you achieved something great, something significant that you really wanted. Chances are that you were obsessed about how you could find a way to achieve it… Whether its finding– a new job, starting a business, closing a big deal, penetrating new markets… it all requires– clarity of purpose, commitment, driving obsession (some might say ‘passion’) to achieve it…

In the article Obsession: Key To Success by Madison Moore writes: How do people achieve ‘outstanding’ success? Do they work harder and more efficiently than others? Are they innately more talented and gifted than everybody else? Yes, it’s probably a combination  of all these things, but the key factor is their ‘obsession’ with success. Successful people ‘excel’ because they find their passion and become obsessed with it, for example; artists like– Renoir, Matisse, Duchamp… once said that artists usually have only one great idea, and their lives become obsessed with that idea, and they pursue it over and over… This is something like the obsession equals success formulaWhatever your idea is: Go for it. Learn every thing about it. Live it. Breathe it. Know it inside out. Sure, success depends on many variables, and some people are admittedly born with certain advantages. But that’s why success when achieved with one’s own obsession, passion is always more  rewarding, because you have truly earned it…

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In the Unusual Obsessions For Extreme Achievement by Robin Sharma writes: One of the biggest ways you limit your potential and deny your genius is following– ‘The Herd’ and ‘Modeling the Crowd’… If you want to win you must break free of– ‘Cult of Mediocrity’. You must stop listening to the chattering voices of the cynics around you. You must trust yourself, your instincts… And, your devotion eventually becomes your ‘obsession’… You practice it daily, constantly, consistently… This is how ‘genius’ unfolds: No magic, just trust your passion, and put in the work… A few unusual obsessions:

  • Mastery Obsession: You get the life you settle for. You get the brains you earn. Start looking for those things in your work (and life) that you excel at, and your life shifts once you do…
  • Progress Obsession: Make every day better than yesterday. Make this year 1000X better than last year… People are built for growth (not stagnation). For expansion (not contraction). Good enough just isn’t very good… The whole nature of the game is to see how far you can go…
  • Excellence Obsession: Leave everything you touch better than you find it. Surround yourself with excellent people. Use excellent words. Think excellent thoughts. You deserve no less…
  • Happiness Obsession: Sometimes people say; ‘you don’t live in the real world’. But, who wants to live in a world with negativity, wars, greed, chaos… create a world of your own making– while living in this very real world… do work that matters, pursue the highest ideals… be happy and block out the noise…
  • Creativity Obsession: You are designed to create… You are meant to– innovate + ideas– use your brains to birth your best ideas into the world… be obsessed with creativity…
  • Contribution Obsession: This is one’s oxygen. The real purpose of life is to serve. To be of use. To uplift those around you. To be helpful– Yes, run a business. Yes win… But, above all else, make it your obsession to serve…

In the article Goal Obsession: Flaws Creates More Flaws by Marshall Goldsmith: writes: It’s hard to criticize people who become obsessed to do things 100% the right way (especially when you consider the sloppy alternative). But taken too far, it can become blatant cause of failure… In its broadest form, obsession is the force at play when you get so wrapped up in achieving a goal that you do it at expense of a larger mission…

It’s a misunderstanding what needed in business. It also comes from a misunderstanding of what others expect from you… Obsession can warp your sense of what is right or wrong… As a result, in your dogged pursuit of goals you forget your ethical behavior, e.g.; you are nice to people when they help you achieve your goal, and you push them aside when they are not useful to you. Hence, you can become a self-absorbed schemers for your obsession… Obsession is not a flaw; it’s a creator of flaws… it’s the force that distorts otherwise exemplary talents and good intentions, and turns them into something that is no longer admired…

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Obsession is usually looked upon as an unhealthy fixation, however, obsession need not be unhealthy. In fact, finding a healthy obsession is what most people will characterize as a purpose for living… You are all either searching for purpose and passion in life or you are already living it. That is exactly what a healthy obsession provides, and it’s key to become very successful in any field… According to Paul Hudson; being obsessed is the only way to become truly successful…

Obsession sets the leaders and trend-setters from followers… As long as you remember to feed the healthy obsession, and manage to avoid distraction (the most common culprit of failure), you will succeed… According to Marshall Goldsmith; obsession can become one of the greatest problems with successful people… obsession occurs when we become so focused on achieving a goal (or task) that you forget the larger mission…

For example, in the classic movie ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’, Colonel Nicholson (played by Alec Guiness) becomes so obsessed with his goals– build a great bridge and improve troop morale– that he completely forgets his mission– winning the war. At the end of the movie, he realizes that he built a fantastic bridge, but it supports the wrong army (the enemy), and exclaims; What have I done? Hence, I would just suggest that you ask yourself two challenging questions: 1.) What are your most important values in your business? Are your values reflected in the way you spend your time? 2.) What is your mission, as a team member, in the business? Are you becoming so focused on achieving goals, that you forget the mission? In the end, like Colonel Nicholson, you don’t want to look back and ask; What have I done?

According to Scott H. Young; in chemistry, there is the idea of an activation cost. This is the threshold of energy you need to surpass– to start a chemical reaction. Dynamite, for example, contains a lot of energy, but unless a spark or lit fuse pays the activation cost it won’t explode… If a pursuit is extraordinary, it tends to have a high activation cost. That activation cost is obsession, and it’s only possible if you put everything else in aside… Telling yourself to focus on one thing (i.e., obsession), putting aside all other desires is very difficult… and that’s probably why most people never do it…

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According to Ali; obsession is a convenient excuse for work to be the focus of your life and for everyone else around you… But ultimately, obsession leads to burn out– working too hard, for too long isn’t good– even if you love the work… Sometimes you must just– let it go, reconnect with the rest of your life… Of course, work matters, but so does health, relationships, happiness…

However, if your mind keeps on coming back to the same innovative ideas, if you keep on getting sparks of creative energy, if you cannot stop thinking about that new widget… then pay attention, since it might be– your obsession waiting to happen… and more important, it just might be your purpose in life…