Why obsess indeed. In this post, I wrote about how I want to obsess about my writing goals this quarter. I noticed a few things this week that made it clear to me why obsession is important:
1. To stay on track no matter what else happens
Things will keep happening, changes will keep occurring. Life is not going to stand still. What happens when something happens (not necessarily negative, btw) that throws you off track? You get so distracted that you are unable to focus on your #1 goal, of course. But if you’ve been obsessing over your #1 goal, irrespective of what else happens in your life, you keep focusing on it and make meaningful progress.
That’s sort of what happened to me this week. Some beautiful yet intense changes have occurred in a matter of days and I’ve been pretty distracted. I think the only reason I’ve also been able to make some sort of progress on my writing goals is because I’ve constantly been reminding myself of what’s truly important to me.
2. To make progress at warp speed
When you have that one thing in front of you and go after it full-force, you make way more progress than you would have if you had ten other things you were going after. I believe that progress is in direct proportion to the focus you bring to something. By obsessing, you allow yourself to direct your focus on the thing you want the most in the world. Your progress will be proportionately fast too.
I remember the early days of my startup. I was monomaniacally focused on growing it from an idea into a company. My co-founder was similar. This allowed us to make progress in a year which wouldn’t have been possible in five if we didn’t have that obsession. Just thinking about that phase fills me with energy.
3. To step into the identity of the person you want to become
For me, it’s the identity of a fiction writer. While writing fiction is one way to do it, there’s more to this. It’s about embracing the mindset of a fiction author. By obsessing over this goal in a variety of ways, I’m getting into a zone that allows me to expose myself to all the things that a fiction author does. It’s like an athlete training for the Olympics. She eats, sleeps, and lives the Olympics. She has one goal – to win the gold medal at the games. This allows her to embrace the mindset of the person who wins at the highest levels of competition at a sport dear to her. I want that for myself. I want fiction writing to become such an integral part of my life that when someone asks me what I do, I can, without batting an eyelid, respond with, “I’m a fiction author”. I want to think and feel as a fiction author does.
What would you like to obsess about? What would you love to be identified with? Whatever it is, you have the power to make it happen.