Why You’ll Never Create Anything Worthwhile Unless You Become Completely Obsessed

What do you think of when you heard the word obsession? When we talk of someone being obsessed, what comes to mind?

Most of the time, obsessiveness has negative connotations, and we associate it with someone who is not balanced, or not “normal”, and look down upon it as an unattractive trait to have.

But the truth is, unless we get obsessed with what we create, even just a little bit, we’ll never create anything meaningful to us, or to anyone else.

The only route to making art that you’re devoted to and proud of, is to make the art you’re most passionate about, and to create with an obsessiveness so fierce and bright it puts everything else in the shade.

Another way to see this, if you want to avoid the word “obsessive”, is to think about making your creative work a priority.

Look at anyone who excels in their field (in creative fields, and others) and they are very dedicated in terms of the time and energy and effort they put in.

paint palette
image: CB Photography

These artists make their passion a priority over other stuff that only wastes time and distracts them. That’s the only way they can begin to reach the creative heights they’re capable of reaching.

The average human brain is only used to something ridiculous like 1% of its full capacity most of the time. When we get obsessed and focused in just one area, we can greatly increase this capacity.

It’s not like we can just add up the percentages over time. It doesn’t work like that. If you work at a mere 1% of your capacity for a hundred days, you’ll still only have work that represents a maximum of 1% of your capacity. It doesn’t add to the same as one day at 100% capacity. Nowhere close.

You just get a hundred day’s worth of average work, rather than one day of exceptional, incredible work.

Get obsessed though, and work at even say 10% of your capacity for a couple of days and you can achieve amazing things that you’ve never done before, maybe that no-one else has ever done before.

You’ll create art that changes the game and changes lives.

Think of the most incredible thing you’ve ever created in your life, then magnify ten times. What would that be like?

Then apply this same passion and dedication over 100 days and you have the power of using your abilities both more fully, AND more regularly.

What also happens, is once you’ve become used to working at a greater capacity of your abilities, this sets a new benchmark. You’ll never want to return to work that’s simply “ok” or “nice” or “quite good”. You’ll want to create the best you can create every time you create. And push yourself to new levels time and time again.

Because the feeling it gives you will be like nothing you’ve felt before.

If you’ve only created at say 10% of your full capacity up to now, imagine what double that, 20% is like. Or 50%. Or 90%. It’s probably beyond what you can even imagine.

There are times when I’ve got more done on my most “Important Work” in a few obsessively focused hours than in literally weeks of dabbling and being easily distracted.

For example two days ago I started writing my new ebook about getting focused and have over 5000 words written in only a handful of very focused hours. This is a book I’ve been thinking about on and off for a couple of years or more!

I’m coming to believe that although creating a little every day is essential (as I’ve always believed and proclaimed to others), to REALLY make progress we need to get obsessed in the devotion we give in those creative times.

It doesn’t mean creating for every last moment of every day (though sometimes that’s exactly what we DO need to do) but it does mean creating regularly and giving it all we have each time.

Yes balance is needed in life. I’m not saying you should abandon everything including your family and friends and live alone in a hut in the mountains for the next year to write your novel. (Though it has worked for some…)

Of course we have other needs for a healthy life, like food, sleep, rest, friends and social interaction, exercise and so on. But when you can, as often as you can, raise your passion to its highest notch, switch off all distraction and create what you’re truly capable of…

In other words, get obsessed about creating, and make it your sole focus. What you’re capable of will astound you.

If you don’t, you’ll never create the meaningful, life changing work you know deep down that you’re so capable of.

And we both know, that would be a needless waste and an absolute tragedy.

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4 thoughts on “Why You’ll Never Create Anything Worthwhile Unless You Become Completely Obsessed”

  1. When I started my creaative journey a year and 1/2 ago–I was obsessed–it was all I could think about–and in much of the rest of my life, I was pretty distracted. Fortunately, at this stage of my life, I can do this. I can take time off between projects, but as soon as I start something, I AM obsessed–and happy about it!!!

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  2. great article.
    but
    I would also like to read about ways of getting obsessed. I find myself painting in a half hearted way. I find myself going to bed at 10.30 and wishing there was an inner push to not sleep and create endlessly.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Maya.

      Recall a time when you were obsessively creative. What did it feel like? What did it look like? What were the core elements in place that made it happen for you? Really get into the fine details and be curious. Once you play detective in this way, you can find ways to be that obsessive about creating once more.

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  3. and how exactly does one get obsessed?
    I love what I do. (paint). but I feel sad about the fact that I’m not obsessed enough.
    I have a husband and child… but those shouldnt be excuses.
    I want to be obsessed. just like you write.

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