Blog #243 – If You’re Gonna Obsess about Something, Make it This…
Blog #243 – If You’re Gonna Obsess about Something, Make it This…
In a world where everything everyone does is known within moments, it is easy to get literally obsessed with certain things. After constant exposure to opulent wealth (real and manufactured), selfish behavior, and many other […]
In a world where everything everyone does is known within moments, it is easy to get literally obsessed with certain things. After constant exposure to opulent wealth (real and manufactured), selfish behavior, and many other human shortcomings, you may find yourself focused on things that don’t align with your real self. Worse yet, these things become engrained in your mind simply because of the repetitive exposure. Just in case you were not aware, that is Marketing 101: Get people to covet or purchase things they don’t really need.
You don’t need a new Tesla, you just want one because they are cool looking and everyone else wants one too. You THINK that by owning one, your social status will climb and people with think you are cool because you have a Tesla. Here’s the problem…we all have short memories. Before long, all of your friends will be used to the fact that you bought a Tesla, and the novelty will wear off. The feeling you spent $70K to achieve will have worn off within six months, but you’ll still have another 60 months (or more) of payments left.
You don’t need to party in Ibiza to have a good time, you just want to because you’ve seen other people do it who you think are cool. Do you even know where Ibiza is? If you can’t point it out on a map AND justify why you want to go there, stop kidding yourself. You are a victim of the classic scheme of all time… Like I said earlier, Marketing 101. To quote one of my all time favorite movies: “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate, to buy shit we don’t need.” Truer words may have never been spoken, and thanks to the movie Fight Club, many more people are at least aware of this, even if they don’t act on it.
If you could take the level of obsession you have with these material (and trivial) things, and turn it to something that would serve you much better, imagine the improvement your life would see. I am here to tell you what that is. I know this from my own life, and from observing the methods of many other successful people. There is a common thread amongst people who succeed, and I am going to let you into the club. Ready?
Here is it:
You need to be obsessed with your own incremental improvement
That is it…I know it may sound crazy and it may not be the bombshell revelation you were expecting. But it is the absolute truth. This statement encapsulates everything that you need to know to succeed. It implies that you must be patient, as incremental improvement happens in small pieces over time, not in big chunks. It also implies that your level of attention on this must be very, very high, hence the word Obsessed. And of course the word improvement can be extrapolated into anything you are pursuing.
If you are an athlete, you know that you must put in the work over a long period of time to master any skill. Whether it is a golf swing, throwing strikes repeatedly, or running track, you have to start with gross mechanics and refine them down to only the essence of what you need. This means that you are chopping away at the excess, not actually adding more and more to the skill itself. Bruce Lee made this previous sentence famous many years ago, and it is one hundred percent true. As a Pro Racquetball player, I did not continue to learn new and different skills that I had no idea existed as an amateur player.
To quite the contrary, I refined the basics of what the sport required:
–a couple of reliable serves
–good defensive skills
–reliable, repeatable offensive skills
That was how I went about it. In many ways I didn’t add, but rather I subtracted from all of the available options the sport presented. The fancy stuff and the high risk shots don’t hold up under pressure, and they are hard to replicate. Instead, I focused on things that worked against every opponent, and could be repeated reliably at any time. I did not try to get fancier and more elaborate in the ways I won, I refined, and I shortened the list. I got the point where I could defeat MOST players with one serve and one shot on each side (one forehand, one backhand). I traveled the country with these skills, playing on different courts, at different altitudes, in different time zones, in dry and in humid conditions, and against a wide variety of players. Obsession with refinement of the skills I was capable of was my operating system.
In my Sales career, I have followed a similar path. When I started out, I had a variety of “tools” I would present with, hoping to have an answer for every question that would come up. As I continued to improve and refine, I dropped more and more of these extraneous things, and focused on the one that got the results. I now use the exact same PowerPoint Presentation for EVERY SINGLE presentation I do. It is my new One serve and one shot. It is tried and true, I know it works, and I have complete confidence in it. I never waiver from it. I have used this in my pitch to some of the largest companies in the world that I have presented to, and it is the same for the small and medium companies, too. It works at every level of need, sophistication, and understanding. It rings true for CEOs and CFOs as well as it does for the owner of a small company who is also the HR person, Office Manager and on occasion the Risk Manager as well. Through my obsession with constant incremental improvement, I have reached the pinnacle of efficiency in my profession, just like I did on the court many years ago.
So, how do you apply this to your life? That is a wide and deep question, but I’ll try to paint a decent picture of this for you. First things first, you have to understand your goals and what it takes to reach them. If you want to be an entrepreneur just because it looks like its cool when other people do it, you are way off base. You need to be realistic about what you want, what you are really capable of, and what the means to that end will be. Self Awareness is absolutely critical to success in life, so start there. You need to get real honest with yourself, and understand what you want in life. Don’t give me the “I want to be super rich” answer, as that is nebulous crap. DEFINE what that means to you, and the lifestyle that you want to live. Do you want to be a jetsetter and travel the world, or is what you really want to have enough money to travel on occasion to your favorite beach or ski resort? These are two VERY DIFFERENT things.
Do you understand what goes along with being an entrepreneur, a famous athlete, singer, dancer, actor? It is grueling work, lots of failures and disappointment, some occasional successes, and non-stop responsibility. This is the part that social media never shows us…the behind-the-scenes look at the dark times that ALWAYS go along with those job titles. Don’t be obsessed with the trappings of success; this is not the right target to aim at.
Here is the real key to success in my opinion:
Focus on making yourself incrementally better day after day.
If you can improve your skill sets to include things like refining your current skills, adding new ones that bring value, reading and learning, etc., you will be a greatly enhanced version of your current self in a short period of time. THIS is how you get the things you want in life; pare down the bad traits you have, focus on getting better at the things that yield good results, and stay the course with a lot of patience. You can’t get anywhere as fast as you want to, and it is better that way. You need the JOURNEY, you need the incremental improvements, so that they stick. You need the time to absorb the new way(s) you do things in order to really have these tools at your disposal.
As always, I wish you luck in your endeavors. If I can help, reach out to me through my website, I’d love to see if I can assist.
There was a famous study done a long time ago called the Stanford Marshmallow Test, and basically what is was supposed to help determine was a child’s ability to delay gratification and how this outlook […]