Obsession As The Key To Success
Ever wonder what makes the really successful people in a society different from everybody else? Are they some sort of special breed? Did they get taught different? Is their DNA tuned for success? Are they smarter, stronger, more disciplined?
Most likely the answer is: None of the above. The secret to understanding what drives successful people to their seemingly loftier goals is to realize that what’s driving them is exactly the same as what’s driving us. The same mechanism is driving us all to be what and who we are.
A few years ago I wrote an article titled understanding motive. I’d like to add to that in this article that might aptly be called understanding obsession. If we understand these principles we can better observe human behavior.
I’m using the word obsession since I think it fits. As with all aspects of human personality the difference from one person to another is only in degree. On the obsession spectrum lets start with something we’d call normal. Ever tried not to think about something? I’m sure we all have and I guess we all know it’s damn near impossible.
We don’t want to think about it. We don’t need to think about it. In fact we would be better off not thinking about it. But, we can’t stop. Eventually the obsession with whatever we couldn’t stop thinking about runs it’s course and we lose whatever attachment we had to it and it fades. Until the next thing comes up that we can’t stop thinking about and we’re stuck again.
Not being able to stop thinking about something is obsessive thinking. We are temporarily, Obsessed. This would be our run of the mill obsession.
At the upper end of the obsession scale we have the obsessive compulsive. One who can’t stop thinking about the light switch until they flip it on and off 6 times. While we can’t seem to stop thinking about some thing for six hours or six days the obsessive compulsive can’t stop for sixteen years. Same “Brain Thing” different degree.
The most common obsession of every day people results in families. Most girls – hearing and seeing what they hear and see combined with hormones ends in an obsession with Babies. The one thing most girls can’t stop thinking about is Babies.
Most boys – hearing and seeing what they hear and see combined with hormones ends in an obsession with Girls. The one thing most boys can’t stop thinking about is Girls.
So mostly we have a bunch of families. Most people have houses and jobs so they can have families. The most common obsession results in what gets labeled “The Norm”.
So here we looked at some examples of obsession in “I can’t stop thinking about it”. As in “As A Man Thinketh” we bear the fruit of our obsessions. We don’t necessarily bear the fruit of our desires. You could probably ask anyone if they’d like to have more money or a different house in a different location and get a lot of yeses. They may desire it, but that doesn’t mean they’ll get it. But you can bet if they’re obsessed with it something will take shape toward that end.
And this is basically the problem with people in positions of power. They are where they are because they can’t help it. Not because they’re the best people but because they can’t not think about it.
People that only want to help others. People who are obsessed with helping others and making changes in the world that would help others don’t normally wind up in positions of power. They wind up in positions as helpers. Any thinking person understands that the most a government can do to help people is not do anything to hurt people. Very few truly useful people wind up in powerful government positions.
Of course there are exceptions to every rule. There may be people with multiple obsessions. A person might be obsessed with becoming powerful and ultra ethical. How many of those are there? You see while there may be cases of multiple obsessions they would be pretty rare due to the fact that obsessions don’t make room for others easily. More likely the obsessions would work to cancel each other out. Being the ultra ethical person could get in the way of the obsession for power and vice verse.
Understanding people in positions of power means understanding their obsession with power. From some point forward in their formation as personalities they have thought about nothing else. In fact they couldn’t stop thinking about it if they wanted to. They were obsessed with it like most women are obsessed with babies. And like most women end up with babies these power obsessives end up in positions of power.
But there’s a big difference between getting the baby and getting the position. Part of getting the baby is caring for the baby. Most mothers are the best mothers they can be. There are a bunch of good mothers. Getting the power position is the goal of the obsession with power. That’s all the obsession had. That’s why there are so many crappy people in positions of power. That’s why governments are so full of the ridiculous and inept.
Once in power the powerful person’s obsession becomes an obsession with staying in power or climbing higher up the power ladder.
I think again a key point to consider here is that all obsessions “normal” or not or formed in part by everything the formative personality sees and hears. If we want a world filled with better people we can say things and act in ways to precipitate that. We can cultivate a more helpful personality within our sphere of influence.
This may also effect the way we think about people propensity to change. When we see obsession we understand a little more about people and we can deal with them more realistically. If you accept what I say about obsession does it make any sense to ask your congressman to do something for “the betterment of mankind”. That could be a huge conflict of interest for them.
I’ll admit I’m obsessed with figuring things out, getting answers to my questions and writing things down so I don’t forget. It was fairly easy for me to write this. It would be hard for me not to. What do you think about? Is there something you just can’t stop thinking about?