I spent a long time trying to find my magnificent obsession.
There were times when I thought I was destined to lead the next great act in the history of the pop-punk music scene. At other times I dabbled with filmmaking, making awesome chili sauce and even producing hip-hop music.
Needless to say, none of those things worked out for me.
These were all fun acts, and I even learnt a skill or two in the process – but they were nothing more than fleeting hobbies in the book of my life.
They say that it takes ten thousand hours of practice to be the best in the world at whatever you are out to conquer, to become the creme de la creme in your industry. If that’s true, then it probably means that you’ll be spending a lot of time working on your thing (approximately four hours a day, every single day for seven years). And the fact is that no one in their right mind would spend so much time on something that they aren’t completely head-over-heels and absolutely obsessed with…which is why:
A- You can only be the best in the world if it’s something you love.
B – The sooner you figure it out, the faster you can make it happen…
When it comes to being the best in the world at anything – everyone seems to have a different opinion or response as to what it really takes.
Many people like to argue that insanely talented and skilled individuals were just ‘born with it’, while others like to preach that it’s all about the work you put it. So if the latter is true, does that mean that I can literally be anything I want to be? What if they’re just full of it – am I then destined for lesser?
To be honest, I think that people like to complicate things more than they should. The way I see – we need to look beyond our inner circle and the things that we are aware of, and to make sense of the situation by exploring unique cultures that expose a clearly defined set of expectations on the basis of complete and absolute discipline. Let me explain.
If you look into the history of Shaolin Monk culture… a simple Google search would show you that these guys are known for their insane Kung Fu skills.
Not only are they able to train their bodies to withstand immense pain and discomfort – but these guys can easily sleep standing upwards (wft?), twist their bodies into unimaginable shapes, and move around at lightning speed.
Anyone in modern society would believe that what they do is simply inhumane and impossible to achieve… but that is simply not true.
None of the Shaolin Monks are born with the Kung Fu talent or skills, rather – they are raised in an environment where it is seen as the norm and end up being almost forced to put in the hours and discipline to achieve such an intense level of being. What’s more – there is no ‘process’ for choosing the right subjects to train… it’s not like certain students are selectively chosen over others.
These guys understand that it’s all about the discipline you put into a thing – and that anyone can become a Shaolin Monk if they put in the hours.
Discipline is the only answer.
And if you were to ask me – I am certainly in the camp that anyone can become and do anything that they want to… as long as they know what it takes and the right path necessary to achieve whatever it is they are out to achieve.
Which is why I believe that it is extremely important to figure out what your magnificent obsession is as soon as you possibly can as well as to find the right path that will help get you to where you want to be.
Sometimes this can be the biggest problem.
I’ve met hundreds of wonderful people who all had big dreams and a clear sense of what they want to dedicate their lives to – but the majority had no clue where to start. What this means is that even though they are aware of their magnificent obsession, chances are – they will never act upon their calling.
Which is unfortunate, because let’s face it – the world needs more creators.
And by being unaware of what path to take, they end up settling for anything that comes their way – often finding significance and praise in the least significant and most un-praise worthy places and situations.
Although, and let me be honest here – you can still be rich, wealthy, and successful even without being one of the best in the world at what you do… and yes, you can still find happiness and meaning in your life if your work sucks. If anyone has ever told you otherwise, don’t believe them.
But that is not the point here.
I am simply talking about being the best in the world at whatever it is you want to be the best in the world in – regardless of financial and monetary pursuits.
The art of business savvy and finding meaning in your life regardless of your work is an entirely different thing for an entirely different day.
But in any case…
If you’ve had any trouble with any of this – then here’s what you need to do in order to find your magnificent obsession...
... and figure out the right plan of action to take.
FINDING YOUR MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION
A – Take Oprah’s Advice
I’m not sure when or where, but I remember Oprah saying something along the lines of – if it’s a thing that you’d be happy to do for free...
... then that’s probably your calling.
This is really good advice, simply because most of us can’t even imagine having to spend hours of our lives working for someone else doing work that we are getting paid for… not to mention not getting paid at all!
So if you’re able to find something you’d be happy to do for free…
Then that is probably your magnificent obsession.
B – Get Excited About A thing For More Than A Week
You can’t imagine the amount of times I’ve gotten excited about a project or business idea, only to forget about it after a week or so.
This is completely normal.
Humans loves to be allured and seduced by the new shiny thing, but if it’s not your true calling in life – then the excitement will probably fade away as quickly as it came. There are only one or two things that have been able to keep me up late into the night and constantly excited – and those things are the things that I find myself being able to do on a consistent and regular basis with a ton of love and authenticity. This blog is one of them.
So if a thing gets you excited for less than a week or two, forget about it.
If the thought of it gets you excited no matter how much time seems to have passed, then it probably means that this thing is your magnificent obsession.
C – What Will You Say When Your On Your Deathbed?
Ask anyone on their deathbed what their biggest regrets are, and a majority will mention that at least one of their regrets is that they wish they had spent more time doing work they enjoy – and less time doing what was expected of them.
But what does the work they enjoy entail?
What would you wish you had spent more time on if you were on your deathbed? Sure, it’s not an easy thing to do – but if you can get yourself to imagine what it would be like to be on your deathbed, I really believe that you’d be at least one step closer to knowing what it is that you’d enjoy doing above everything else.
D – You Don’t Mind Being Patient
Most of us don’t mind waiting for things that we know we will enjoy.
A great example is what everyone who has ever been to an amusement park has experienced. There is no way you’d wait more than ten minutes to get on a ride you have no interest in – but if there is a certain ride that you came specifically for… then you wouldn’t mind waiting hours if you had to.
It’s the same with your magnificent obsession.
It’s the type of thing that you wouldn’t mind waiting for…
That even though you’ll suck at first, often failing at it – you’d be happy to do whatever it takes and more importantly… be patient enough to see it through.
E – It’s All You Can Think About
If it’s the only thing that you can think about, then there’s a good chance this particular thing is your magnificent obsession – and perhaps the only thing holding you back is your unavoidable fear of failure.
Let me explain.
I firmly believe that we all know what our magnificent obsession is.
But the thing that stops us from ever pursuing it is because we are just too afraid of not having what it takes to achieve whatever it is we are out to achieve.
I’ve known hundreds of people who knew they wanted to be amazing things such as soccer players, photographers, film-makers, interior designers, etc… and the only thing that halts their pursuit is the limiting belief that there’s no way they would ever get
to become that thing that they just can’t stop thinking about.
So they end up blaming their government, their country, the society, their families, and anything / anyone else that they can point a finger at.
If you can’t stop thinking about it, then it’s at least worth a try.
Put in the hours, give it everything you’ve got… and if you fail – at least you’ll know that you failed with the pride of knowing that you gave yourself a chance.
For anyone who finds their magnificent obsession, it’ll probably take five, six, maybe even ten years before they see any sort of real return on their investment.
That’s just how life works.
Only the patient will last.
But that’s ok.
Because if it really is your magnificent obsession, then you won’t mind waiting. Just make sure to take advice from those who have already been on the path that you want to take… the naysayers are irrelevant – and if a person hasn’t achieved what you are out to achieve, then they shouldn’t have an opinion on the matter.
Talk to the winners in your industry and model their approach.
Try again and make it better.
Learn from the best of the best, and keep out the distractions that will halt your progress. Keep on fighting the good fight until you come out on top.
The only thing that separates you are your Kung Fu skills with that of the Shaolin Monks is the hours of discipline they put into their chosen art.
And the only thing that will separate you from the winners in your chosen industry or field is the hours of discipline you decide to put into your magnificent obsession.
I look forward to the day you can look at your naysayers, the ones who tried to bring you down and and question your firm efforts – and say to them:
See, I told you so.
Man, that’ll feel good.