Going down the rabbit hole
The world frowns on obsessive traits of individuals. It treats this mindset akin to a disease, with the view that it negatively consumes any individual that it possesses. In reality, obsession is a subliminal undercurrent that propels us towards our goals. Like a fire, you have to keep adding wood to sustain the intensity, the glow. In essence, you have to obsess to maintain the flame, or ashes will descend. This maintenance is one of the powers that keep those ashes at bay.
To be obsessive, according to a clinical definition, is fixations with an object, person, or activity, and they are abnormal because they impair our capacity to love and work. While the non-clinical connotation of “obsessions,” on the other hand, refers to a disproportionate or unusual focus on something. The stigma around obsession is a construct of society that, in my opinion, is a way of putting others down. We are all obsessive respectively, whether it be true Obsessive-Compulsive-Disorder; wanting to watch that tv show every Sunday at 9 pm, or a religious ritual done once a day. But one thing is sure, nobody who has ever achieved anything impressive or made an outstanding contribution to anything has managed to do so without a certain level of obsessiveness.
“The movers and shakers have always been obsessive nuts.” — Theodore Sturgeon
Individuals look at the fruits of an obsessive individual’s labour, thinking that the road they travelled upon is one of ease. How easy did Einstein’s accomplishments in the field of science seem or even Michael Jordan’s six championships? In reality, when they see the bill of labour most shy away from the mammoth tasks, looking upon it as an unhealthy fixation, rather than dive headfirst into the journey of 10,000 hours to reach a level of mastery. Positive obsession is a trait that allows individuals to immerse themselves in the domain totally, but in doing so does come at a price. The downside when one is driving towards a goal is that the blinders go on and we stop seeing or listening to anything that stands in our way. This can lead to overlooking changes in our life that any reasonable person would assess as requiring a shift in direction. It’s the cost of the mono-focus that is necessary to truly immersive oneself into an obsession.
“If you don’t have the mental capacity to be that obsessed about what you’re trying to get. Then you ain’t never gonna have it.” — C.T. Fletcher
To obsess over something is not just to look at the finished product and gasp in awe, it’s about dissecting the parts, understanding how each aspect is crafted, going deep into the bowels of the rabbit hole and being content with being lost for a while as you figure things out. Obsession is not a half heart approach to doing something it’s about giving every last drop of blood sweat and tears to the respective task or domain. Obsession is to live and breath something, a sole unwavering focus. In short, it’s the overlooked, frightening key to your greatness.
“Obsession is beautiful. It’s what makes art.” — Joss Whedon