“Your obsessions become your possessions.” – Ed Mylett
The word “obsessed” gets a bad rap.
And there’s indeed some merit to that.
But let’s try to define “to be obsessed” a little further. What it’s not defined by is “hours put in”. That may be correlation, but not causality. One is truly obsessed with something when their passion and fire for “that thing” is so great, that their willpower will see them through even the harshest of storms. Where every other person quits… they push on. To one who is obsessed, failure is simply not an option.
Be obsessed with reaching our dreams.
Be obsessed with becoming a better husband. A better wife.
A better son, a better daughter. A better friend, a better neighbor.
Be obsessed with what we care about the most. Our fiercest willpower, pointed in the right direction, is the most powerful thing in the world.
“I want to see it, before I believe it.”
We are visually oriented people.
We seem to trust our eyes more than our other senses.
It’s why we call our ultimate direction our “vision”. It’s why in the middle of the night, if we think we hear something, we want to take a look before we feel safe enough to fall back asleep. We can hear news through the grapevine, but we doubt it until we see it.
Recognizing this, we can leverage it to our advantage. Many of us will agree that there is power in writing down our goals, and this is why. We begin to believe it that much more. It feels that much more real.
Write down our vision. Write down our goals. Write down anything that is important, not because it’s a mundane task… but because we need to see it, before we believe it.
“There will never be a better you, than you.”
There is a lot to be said about authenticity.
The first definition inside Merriam-Webster reads, “worthy of acceptance or belief.”
If there’s one sure way to find failure in something, it’s through not being ourselves. It just doesn’t pan out in the long run. While we always remain a student, the harm lies when we blur the lines between emulating the traits of our mentors… with trying to actually be them.
Our mentors do not wish for us to follow in their footsteps.
Our mentors wish for us to go further. To blaze the path further than before.
We have incredible leaders to guide us. But it is now on us to push even further. And there’s no one suited better for that, than you.
“Vision is the bottleneck of effort.”
We talk a lot about effort.
It’s the gasoline that will drive us to our destination. And there is no substitute.
It’s often however not that effort is lacking when we aren’t reaching our goals… and instead, it’s a lack of direction.
There are many highly capable people in this world. They have the gasoline and the horsepower behind it. But where they direct that energy is the misstep. When they wanted to travel from the East Coast to the West Coast, they found themselves in the South. The largest pity is that all along, they had the right address in the GPS… but they failed to check back on it often enough to ensure they were on the correct route.
We pride ourselves in our horsepower. Your raw effort. We just need to get ourselves pointed in the right direction, and the rest will fall into place.
“You can easily judge the character of a person by how they treat those who can do nothing for them.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Cue, craving, response, reward.
In “Atomic Habits”, by James Clear, this is the loop process that determines many of our actions.
A large part of the above is the final piece – the reward. We can be reward oriented beings. It’s not a bad thing by itself, but we do find ourselves in trouble when it is the only thing.
The quote above gives us something to think about. Some time today, we’ll come across the individual who can offer us the least in return. As in, there won’t be a reward for whatever action we have the option of taking. We’ll know who it is when we see them.
How we act inside that moment is the reality of our character.
“Do not fear failure. But be terrified of regret.” – Ashley Soughtley Spaulding
The reality of life is that we will hear more “no’s” than “yes’s”.
And we will fail.
But despite the hundreds of doors closed on our phase, the hundreds of times we are told “no way”, they will never haunt us. What we will regret will be the instances where we gave up. Where we told *ourselves” no.
We don’t fear failure… we welcome it. It’s where the learning occurs. Where the real magic happens.
“Your mind is not your shoe size.” – Jim Kwik
Have you ever taken an “IQ Test”?
Chances are you have of some sort. A test that claimed to tell us our capacity in life. Where the resulting score is the equivalent of looking into a crystal ball on how successful we’ll be.
As ridiculous as that sounds, it’s a nightmare that comes to life for many. A self-fulfilling prophecy that can cut potential at the knees.
The truth of it all however, is that we know so very little about how the mind actually works. It’s still such a mystery to us. Yet, we can find ourselves building an imaginary ceiling over our heads.
In regards to one of life’s greatest mysteries, there’s one thing we can bank on… that our mind is not our shoe size.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I’ll remember. Involve me, and I’ll learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
The musician doesn’t learn by listening. The musician learns, by playing. It’s how the mind, in its ever plastic state, adapts. It responds to application.
In the “Cone of Learning” (Edgar Dale), we learn:
10% of what we read.
20% of what we hear.
30% of what we see.
50% of what we hear and see.
70% of what we say and write.
90% of what we actually participate in.
Information without application, is knowledge.
Information with application, is wisdom.
“Your actions speak so loudly that I can’t hear what you’re saying.”
It’s not about what we talk about, but what we tolerate.
When we think of our greatest role models, those we truly look up to in life, there’s a consistent commonality we’ll notice… their action under adversity. They achieved something great, under incredibly hard circumstances. They overcame a specific challenge in their darkest hour. And for that, we remember them.
Our identity isn’t shaped by the good times… but the challenging ones. In those moments, it’ll never be about what we say, but what we do.
“If people knew how hard I worked to achieve my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all.” – Michelangelo
Written by someone recognized as one of the greatest artists of time.
“Natural born talent” is a myth. Movies portray it, sports news glamorizes… the “uncontrollable factor” that leads to such heights of achievement. Yet here he is, Michelangelo himself, expressing his backbone to success.
It’s easy to believe that we can’t control tomorrow. To believe that it is by chance. It’s far harder to believe that it is within our capabilities. That there is another level of true grit and unrelenting effort we can choose to go. It’s realizing that the great Michaelangelo simply worked his ass off… and that we can too.
Greatness is never by chance. It is always by choice. The choice to do the work.