Successful people talk about being "obsessed" by their goals. Their obsession drives their focus and this can produce dramatically successful results.
Obsession can also blind us, crush us, alienate us and break us. Navigating obsession is essential if we are to build a successful outcome.
So, what constitutes a healthy obsession versus an unhealthy one?
Let us, for the sake of this article, automatically assume you are a decent person and want to use your "obsession" to make the world a better place. In this manner, we can cut to the chase of obsession instead of getting mired in its politics.
A healthy obsession is built on virtuous principle, not vice. Greed is not good. Greed is a vice, not an honorable principle. Greed, no matter how eloquently it is romanticized, can never fill itself, and therefore, always ultimately destroys itself.
A healthy obsession clarifies the reason for your existence and clears your path of all irrelevant obstacles.
A healthy obsession crystallizes your desires and creates focused objectives.
A healthy obsession designs and organizes your life around a singular purpose and makes you a better person for those fellow believers and supporters you share your mission or inner circle/heart with.
A healthy obsession does not eliminate doubt or frustration, rather it gives you the strength, work ethic and foresight to face your struggles with agility, persistence and confidence.
A healthy obsession strengthens your spirit and fills you with gratitude.
A healthy obsession creates free followers, not conscripts or slaves or tyranny.
An unhealthy obsession, then, is basically the opposite, although it can often feel the same.
Unhealthy obsession drains you of your inner strength, alienates you from others closest to you/who follow you, and causes you to feel negative emotions such as hate, anger, paranoia and shame.
An unhealthy obsession will forget itself, much like vice, and manipulate (eloquently and insidiously) any means necessary to fulfill itself, often with illegal and indifferent measures.
This can often happen without you noticing.
So how can you tell if your obsession is healthy or unhealthy?
Is the life you hope to create for yourself on a trajectory to be better or worse? How about the lives of the people you love?
Are your actions sustainable? Are you acting illegally and/or without compassion?
Are you proud of the person staring back at you in the mirror?
Ask these questions of yourself often. A healthy obsession is sustainable. An unhealthy one will eventually implode.
If you are not on a beneficial trajectory, apologize if necessary and change. Today.