Saying that the human mind is powerful is a huge understatement. What it is, is our very reality. The existence that we are experiencing, all that our senses perceive and all the thoughts that we have, exist in our minds and in our minds alone. This may not seem amazing to most of us — although it should — but what is awe-worthy is how our minds can experience the same thing and somehow experience it differently. Different colors, sounds, events, human interactions, memories will affect each of us differently because each of us will interpret each occurrence in a different manner.
More amazingly still is the fact that the way that we perceive the world around us will never be exactly the same as others perceive it — there will always be some difference. From the moment we are born — arguably earlier — the experiences we live and their associated interpretations will build a bubble that is the world that we believe we live in. I say believe because in reality we all live in slightly to extremely different worlds from our neighbors.
Luckily for us, because our minds are as powerful as they are, it is possible to fabricate ourselves an ideal world. It is possible to literally ignore all the evil in the world and imagine that it is peaceful and loving all around. This is what we would call a delusional person. However, we can use the power of the mind to create a world for ourselves that exists between the cracks of the truths that we know; we can create a world for ourselves that coexists with the true, objectively embraced events of the world.
We do so every day of our lives from the moment of realized consciousness until the day we die or lose our self-awareness due to illness or injury. There is much to be said on how we can design the reality that we perceive every day, more than enough to write a book on. In particular, I would like to share with you my thoughts on what I believe separates those who live passionate lives of success and the rest of us.
Obsession is usually looked upon as an unhealthy fixation, however, obsession needn’t be unhealthy. In fact, finding a healthy obsession is what most people will characterize as a purpose for living. We are all either searching for our purpose and passion in life or we are already living it. That is exactly what a healthy obsession provides and — if history has taught us anything — it is the key to become greatly successful in any field.
It is believed that it takes roughly 10,000 hours worth of practice to master any particular skill or craft — it takes 10,000 hours to fully understand and have a grasp of the subject matter to the point of mastery. Another fact, repeatedly shown throughout the ages, is the power and importance of persistence. An unwavering interest and focus on the subject, any subject, is exactly what an obsession is.
The trick is to find a healthy obsession — one that we are passionate about and that not only benefits us, but also others. Some will argue that it is enough to find a passion that is entirely selfish, but people with such beliefs usually end up criminals. Find an obsession that will make you happy and that will somehow improve the lives of others and you will never feel guilty about having it. Being obsessed is the only way to become truly successful, to come out ahead of the game and to lead in innovation. Obsession sets the leaders and trendsetters from the followers.
Because our mind is so complex and holds complete power over itself — if you think about it, the mind runs itself — we can administer control over it. With enough repetition and forced focus, we can begin to curate what our mind perceives and interprets. We can, to a certain extent, even adjust how our mind interprets certain things and experiences. We can force the perception of the world we want to live in by forcing ourselves into obsession. Of course, this will do nothing to change the world that functions outside of you, but changing the way you see the world is better; it’s the first step to being able to influence and change the physical world for the better.
In order to be able to force ourselves into obsession, we have to find something that we fall in love with — literally fall in love with. Finding our purpose in life takes time, patience and an open, curious mind. This is not something that can be forced; finding your passion sort of just comes. However, finding that passion is only the first step.
Many of us find something that we are passionate about, but for whatever reason choose not to feed that fire. Just like any love, if the passion isn’t kept ablaze, it will be lost. This is the most misconceived belief: that once you find what you are passionate about the rest of your life unfolds for you. Nothing just happens. You have to make it happen. Without any effort you will never find change.
By finding something that we are passionate about and then setting our priorities straight, we will arrive at the point of clear understanding. We come to understand that the only rational thing to do is to spend time on what we are passionate about, what we love, and not on those things that mean less to us. Then it’s only a matter of forcing yourself to put in the work hours.
This is the most important step because without doing the work there will be no result whatsoever. Do the research, make a plan and then carry it out. Force yourself to focus on your passion whenever you can, whenever you have a moment when your mind does not need to be focused on an unrelated task.
Think about what you are trying to accomplish as often as you can for as long as you can. Make it the first thing that you think of before you go to bed and it will quickly become the first thing that you think of when you wake up. Simplify your life by cutting down on the distractions and gradually delve deeper into your undertaking. If you truly are passionate about the journey you are taking, then you will enjoy almost every second of it (there will always be less enjoyable moments no matter what path we take).
The more you enjoy what you are forcing yourself to do, the more you will love it and the easier it will be to force yourself. Eventually you will no longer need to push; you’ll have become obsessed. As long as you remember to feed the healthy obsession — which isn’t difficult at all — and you manage to avoid distraction (the most common culprit of failure), you’ll find progress inevitable.