It’s entrepreneurial fuel.
5 min read
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Take a moment to think about your role models. Whether they’re business leaders, athletes or musicians, I guarantee they became successful because they were obsessive people.
When you hear the word “obsessive,” you may think that’s a bad thing. That’s only true when you’re obsessing over something that’s not healthy — and that’s not the case with the ultra successful. Instead, they obsess over what not only made them successful, but also what will maintain that success going forward. Don’t believe me? Check out these eight reasons why obsessive people are more likely to be successful.
1. Obsession gives you courage.
Something interesting happens when you’re obsessed: You ditch the cowardly lion act and become courageous. When you’re obsessed, you have the courage to get started. You have the courage to pick yourself up after falling down, and you have the guts to stare fear directly in its face.
It took courage for Michael Jordan to keep playing basketball after getting cut by his high school team. Paul English left his gig at venture capital firm Greylock to start a little-known website called Kayak.
Writer Ambrose Redmoon put it perfectly: “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”
2. Obsession makes you a master of time and scheduling.
I’m personally obsessed with my daily schedule. As a successful business owner, you have to be — without keeping close watch, completing daily priorities or achieving goals is unlikely to happen.
Most importantly, it ensures I only spend my time on productive activities. If there’s no purpose behind a meeting, I won’t give it space on my calendar. Also, if I know there’s a chunk of downtime, I’ll block out time for things like reading or exercising.
3. Obsession encourages thought and innovation.
When you’re obsessed, you’re hungry 24/7. It’s insatiable, and it’s the only thing on your mind.
That may turn some people off, but not successful people. Because of their obsession, they’re constantly thinking about new opportunities and innovative ways to enhance a product or service. In fact, that’s why successful people are known for allotting time for reflection and using techniques like feedback loops.
People like Elon Musk have said that feedback loops empower them to constantly remain aware of what they could do better and question their ways of thinking.
4. Obsession harnesses your focus and energy.
Let’s say you wake up on a Saturday morning with a craving for a bagel and coffee. It’s the only thing you’re currently concerned about. As a result, you grab your keys and wallet and head to your local bagel shop to satisfy your craving.
Successful people have this feeling on a daily basis. When they want something, they devote their entire focus and energy to making it a reality. Until they achieve their goal, they’re not focused on anything else.
5. Obsessive people love to say “no.”
As a parent, I can vouch for the fact that most kids’ favorite word is “no.” It turns out it’s also a favorite among the successful.
Warren Buffett once noted that very successful people had one advantage over the merely successful: They said “no” to almost everything. Why do successful people obsess over such a negative word? If they always say “yes,” they not only get distracted, but it also prevents them from accomplishing their dreams and ambitions.
6. Obsessive people make conscious decisions.
Instead of pointing fingers, successful people take personal responsibility. For example, if their business fails, they don’t blame the government or customers. It was their choice to start the business and not adapt to the changing marketplace.
What’s more, they look at their failure as a learning experience, ensuring their next business venture will thrive.
7. Obsessive people seek mentors.
Burrowing your nose into a book can only take you so far. Entrepreneurs need a Yoda in their life to help put book-learned knowledge and skills to work. Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill; why not take advantage of others’ learning to speed up their own success?
Successful people actively look for mentors. It could be the author of a book, a college professor or a local business owner. They want someone to show them the ropes so they can be the best version of themselves possible.
8. Obsession beats talent.
I’m not a Tom Brady fan, but you can’t deny that he’ll go down as one of the best quarterbacks of all time. He was talented enough to play the position and make it into the NFL, but the guy works his tail off in order to be the best.
That’s how Conor McGregor says he conquered the UFC. McGregor said in a short documentary, “This is an obsession. Talent does not exist; we are all equals as human beings. You could be anyone if you put in the time… I am not talented; I am obsessed.”
Obsession may seem like a sinister thing in Hollywood movies, but it’s entrepreneurial fuel when it’s directed toward the right things. Those who obsess over their businesses are likely to stick with their ventures well beyond the time the non-obsessed have given up.