Obsessions are Necessary

800px-Ultralight_Trike_01

Photo source: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ultralight_Trike_01.JPG

I have recently started an obsession with flying ultralight weight-shift aircraft (also called trikes).  I am early in my obsession so I have started with internet searches and reading materials.  I have never piloted an aircraft before so this is all new to me, and fascinating.

Obsession is usually thought of as a negative thing.  Merriam-Webster defines the word as

a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling.

The words “disturbing” and “often unreasonable” make this sound like a horrible thing.  Webster even goes on to use stalking as an example of obsession.  While this may be the way we generally think of the word, obsession is what has created greatness as well.

Let’s remove the negative connotation from the definition and our new definition becomes

A persistent preoccupation with an idea or feeling.

Now that’s better.  My obsession with trikes is not hurting anyone, if anything it is providing me with motivation to work towards a goal.  Unfortunately, this hobby is expensive to get into and costs money to enjoy.  Additionally, it requires knowledge and training that I don’t currently possess.  Therefore, I need to have a strategy on how to get into it.  This strategy gives me purpose and planning.

Innovators and leaders in history have been obsessed people.  Obsessed with the ideas of success or accomplishment for the betterment of mankind or science.  Wouldn’t you say that Martin Luther King, Jr. was obsessed with equal rights?  Could you agree that the Wright brothers were obsessed with flight or that Henry Ford was obsessed with producing an affordable automobile?

Our heroes are often obsessed people.  But they are obsessed with things that we consider noble.  We must learn to channel our obsessions into productivity.  Taking obsession to fruition is a process that must be planned, paced and produced.  As leaders, we must get other people to buy-in to our obsessions.  We must demonstrate our passions to inspire others to be passionate with us.  This doesn’t take anything magical, it simply takes commitment and the right touch.

I hope that I can be as passionate about how I can help others as I am about my future hobby.  Right now my wife doesn’t think my obsession is a good idea, but I have a strategy for that, too.  I know that if I can inspire her to support my obsession then I can do anything.

What are you obsessed about?

How can you channel your obsession into a positive outcome?

What are some techniques you use to get others to believe in your obsession?

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