Reading vs. Inculcating

How Getting Obsessed Can Benefit Your Business

The word “obsessed” has a lot of negative connotations. But is an obsession always a bad thing? We’d argue that it isn’t — and Entrepreneur magazine agrees. In fact, in 2018 they published an article called “8 Reasons Why Obsessive People Are More Likely to Be Successful.”

How does obsession work?

Merriam-Webster defines obsession as “a persistent disturbing preoccupation,” but in a business sense, you can think of it as the deepest level of fascination with a topic. There are multiple levels: You can read a book, study it, memorize it, or inculcate it. The first level is the most basic. It doesn’t require understanding. The final level is obsession. You find the book interesting, then fascinating. It becomes embedded in your DNA. Not only do you dog-ear the pages, but you also try to implement its concepts in real life.

Why do obsessives succeed?

An obsession harnesses your focus and energy. That’s why I often call ADD my “superpower.” When you’re obsessed with a business idea or a strategy, you can zero in on it and ignore distractions. This gives you clarity of thought you can’t get any other way and helps you succeed more quickly. Think of Mark Zuckerberg obsessively coding in his dorm room — could he have created Facebook as quickly any other way?

According to Entrepreneur, having an obsession also gives you courage. It makes you a master of time and scheduling and encourages thought and innovation. It also makes it easier to say “no,” helps you make conscious decisions, pushes you to find mentors, and encourages hard work. When you have an obsession, you don’t need talent.

Can you ‘make’ yourself get obsessed?

Most of the time obsession crash-lands in your lap. But you can encourage an obsession with your goals by rooting them in emotion, constantly reminding yourself of them, and pushing yourself to learn more. As international sales expert Grant Cardone once wrote:

“Think of obsession like a fire. You want to build it so big that people feel compelled to sit around it in admiration. With a fire, you have to keep adding wood to sustain the intensity and the glow — you must obsess over keeping the fire going or it will burn out and turn to ashes. Your dreams are that fire.”

-Randy Sklar


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