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4 Tactics For Becoming an Unconventional Tourist

The following is a guest post. My love of unconventional travel started when I was 12 years old. My dad had decided that, of all the ways to spend Christmas, we should go on a cycling tour around Cuba. And so we did it. We figured out how to...

I Hate Hair: Reasons Why Shaving Your Head Skyrockets Confidence

Welcome to #DifferentLifeStories, where Without Boxes is sharing how people are living differently right now in the real world. Enter Aron James: Hair loss is something that happens to our grandfathers. It is the sign of the wisdom that comes with old age; a rite of...

How to Be a Solo-Female Hiker: Put One Foot in Front of the Other

Welcome to #DifferentLifeStories, where Without Boxes shares how people are living differently right now in the real world. Enter Hayley Turner (a.k.a. Little Foot): I can still remember everything about that day, from waking up and walking 12 miles by noon, the dogs...

Do You Really “Find Yourself” When You Travel?

"I know this sounds cliché, but I have to ask—do you really 'find yourself' when you travel?" the girl asked me. Her young friend crouched next to my table, gently stroking the cats as they slept. Café Neko is a small coffee shop in Vienna that allows cats to wander...

When Not Everything Goes as Planned, It Still Goes: A Story About Finding Your Passion

Welcome to #DifferentLifeStories, where Without Boxes is sharing how people are living differently right now in the real world. Enter Jen: As a kid, I was told that I was lucky that I already knew what I wanted to do with my life. From age four, I knew I wanted to be...

The Digital Nomad’s Roadmap – A Complete Guide: Successfully Live, Work, and Travel Anywhere

So you wanna be a digital nomad. I’m not surprised: the future is bright for freelancers and location independent workers. Statistics show 40% of Americans will be contingent workers by 2020. That’s a lot of potential for digital nomads! Yet there’s no hands-on guide...

Limitations: Why the 9–5 Job Doesn’t Need To Stop You

Over the years I’ve had a number of conversations with people who talk about cool things they want to do, see, or make. A lot of these conversations end with “Well, I’d love to do it, but unfortunately I have XYZ,” and many times those XYZs are very valid limitations...

Stealing Second Base: From Side Gig to Self Employed Full Time

Welcome to #DifferentLifeStories, where Without Boxes is sharing how people are living differently right now in the real world. Enter Katherine Stimson: “You can’t steal second base with one foot still on first.” In the spring of 2010, a Facebook ad posted by a total...

Dreams Are Like Pirate Treasure: Hard to Find, But Worth the Risk

All dreams start somewhere and typically, no matter the size of the overall dream, most dreams start small. Let’s say yours is to feel better at work every day. You focus on sitting up straight in week one. Week two finds you taking a 10-minute walk at lunchtime. Week...

A Landlubber’s Initiation to the Power of Obsession

It’s no secret that pirates are obsessed with gold.

Did you ever realize that we know about this obsession because pirates love gold so much that they can’t be stopped from obtaining it?

Obsession is usually looked down on. It’s not considered to be part of a healthy lifestyle.

I think this is unfair and untrue. Think about the last time you really let yourself indulge in something, all-out. The last time you had any kind of positive obsession was in your childhood. Remember how much fun it was, when you went on those information binges? I think I learned more about dog breeds and riding horses than anyone without access to actual training ever would have known at my age.

Obsession for change is powerful. Obsession for knowledge creates an unquenchable thirst. Obsession is one of the core elements you must master before you can live without boxes.

It’s time you were initiated to the power of learning obsessively.

Disclaimer: Before we move on with the article, I want to allow that there is a point at which obsession becomes unhealthy, but I’m here to talk about using obsession as a tool and being purposeful with it.

Obsession makes your goals abundantly clear.

You already know that Bartholomew Roberts, one of the most nefarious pirates ever to sail the ocean blue, was very good at setting goals. He absorbed himself in the lifestyle and let it become his obsession, even though becoming a pirate wasn’t his natural inclination.

That’s right: Roberts didn’t even want to be a pirate in the first place.

If he could become the most successful pirate in the Golden Age of Piracy by throwing himself obsessively into his work, imagine what you will be able to accomplish if you throw your caution to the wind and allow yourself to become obsessed with your passions.

Obsession is clarity.

Obsession: The domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.
Source

By definition, obsession is something that burns in your mind persistently.

That image, that desire and idea… it’s going to sit there, ever present in your mind while you go about your day and your work. It will give you the urge to seek out more and more information. It will give you the courage to reach out to others who have gone before you. It will spark inspiration where you thought you could not be inspired.

When you learn to obsess in your passion, you will be suddenly get a clear vision for what it is you want.

By actively participating in your passion, you’ll begin seeing it even more clearly. You’ll learn what you want to learn, you’ll see avenues and opportunities where you would never have seen them, and begin creating a network of options for yourself.

Clarity begets action. Action begets opportunity.

Obsession allows for super-human learning.

It’s funny how often we don’t have time for things, yet somehow manage to stay up to date with our favorite TV shows.

It’s funny how often we can’t afford to eat healthy, but splurging on expensive drinks at the bar is worthy of more credit card debt.

It’s funny how your current obsessions show themselves in your habits because you’re too embarrassed to let yourself obsess over your more worthy passions. Someone may make fun of you for thinking you can learn to dance when you’re already an adult. Someone may think you’re crazy for thinking you can become an actor when you have no prior experience. Someone may say that your writing sucks and you should not pursue it as a career.

Let’s say for a moment that you ignore all of that. You want to be happy.

Obsession breaks down barriers.

It turns out that when you’re obsessed with something, all potential for negativity is shut out of your mind.

Road blocks that would have stopped you dead in your tracks suddenly are just obstacles that have to be cleared. There’s no more “Well, I guess this wasn’t meant to be.” There isn’t any heavy sighing, followed by “I just wasn’t cut out for this.”

When you’re obsessed, none of that bothers you. When you’re obsessed, your mind is so hell-bent on making sh*t happen that it doesn’t matter what gets in your way: You’re going to make it work. That is the power of obsession.

So how does that make for super-human learning?

Think about the legendary stories of pirates: Their obsession allowed them to overcome incredible obstacles in order to get what they wanted.

That same achieve-anything effect is going to be applied to your learning abilities. When all of that negativity is gone and there are no more mind games, your brain becomes a sponge for new information and knowledge. You will be able to immerse yourself into the world of your passion.

What normally might have taken you months or years to learn will be reduced to phenomenally short learning times.

It’s possible because when you have an obsession, it is always burning into your mind.

When you’re obsessed with something, all potential for negativity is shut out of your mind. [Tweet this.]

Obsession provides intense motivation.

While accountability is one of the best tools for staying on track with your goals, obsession is a great way to find the motivation you need to get started in the first place.

Pirates live high action, thrill packed lives on the high seas. Their obsession for treasure keeps them going, even on the hard days. The thing is, they probably don’t even think about motivation being something they need because they are so focused on what’s ahead of them. (Hint: Gold is ahead of them.)

This is one of the true untapped powers of obsession.

Obsession makes motivation unnecessary.

Imagine being so motivated to do something that you don’t even think of it as being motivation anymore. You want something so hard that you’re going to figure out how to get it with or without motivation. Motivation is a luxury item when you become obsessed. You look around and wonder why people think they need it to get anything done.

If you can focus your obsession on something positive and life changing, imagine what power that brings to your daily life.

Once you find your gold — that item (or ideal, or skill, or knowledge) that you just can’t stop yourself from chasing, it’s all in letting the momentum of obsession take over. There’s no more second guessing or wondering what to do with your life.

You will find your purpose, your drive and your passion in your obsession.

Motivation is a luxury item when you become obsessed. [Tweet this.]

Obsession will make you an expert.

If you ever wondered how some people are able to go from knowing nothing about a topic to becoming the resident expert, you can bet that their secret is weaponized obsession.

Pirates don’t always start off as pirates. You aren’t born knowing how to hoist anchor, raise the Jolly Roger, or fight with a broad sword. Sometimes they would live out most of their lives as a normal citizen before joining the pirate world through one circumstance or another.

Then the situation changes. Life doesn’t have to be about slaving away at minimum wages anymore. Life can be about adventures and chasing treasure — whatever treasure is to you. But in order to chase your treasure, you’ve got some learning to do. When you obsess over those skills, you’ll find that you can get close to mastering them rather quickly.

Maybe pirates took you captive against your will. (You were laid off or lost your job.) Maybe choosing adventure on the high seas was a choice of your own. (You quit your job, or you’re thinking about it.) Maybe you just want to be a privateer and pirate the seas on your own schedule. (You work, but want to chase your dreams on the side.)

Whatever your story is, obsession for treasure is going to be the key to opening up your new world.

Obsession-fueled knowledge lasts.

We don’t always have time to allow obsessions to last forever. Whether we have new obsessions to focus on or responsibilities we need to remember now and again, the obsession will always come to a close at one point or another.

The great part is that once your obsession is over, everything you learned during your passion-crazed search for knowledge is going to stick. Things that, only a short time ago, made you scratch your head are now old news. Terms and lingo you’d never heard before now feel second nature.

You’ve become something of an expert.

Imagine the possibilities if you allowed yourself obsession binges on a semi-regular basis. The amount of information you could amass over just several months is pretty impressive.

The implications of that may not be obvious.

Having that knowledge base will make you feel more confident. Those connections you made and the seeds you planted will grow even while you’re not paying attention. You’ll start waking up to pleasant surprises and interesting new things every day. Your mind will have grown and the next time an obsession comes along, you’ll be that much more ready for it.

What’s more, the more you expand your mind, the better you’ll be able to learn next time (whether the information is related or not).

When you use it right, obsession allows you to break free of your rut and see life through new eyes. [Tweet this.]

What is your treasure?

Most people get caught up in trying to find the perfect treasure to obsess over.

Your treasure is going to change over the days, months and years. Your priorities will change. One obsession will lead to another. Your life is an unpredictable adventure, and the best you can do is guess.

Pirates are always tweaking their obsession, because the specific treasure they’re after changes. One day, they’re headed to Tortuga, another time it’s over near Port Royal. They set their sights on the treasure at hand, they don’t worry about the treasure they’ll be chasing 5 years from now. Unfortunately, 5 years from now isn’t a guarantee. You can only put yourself fully into today.

Me? I’m chasing a life of financial freedom. That includes things like taking on part-time jobs while I work on producing and marketing great content and products to offer the world. Whether it’s learning to write a blog post like this or creating the best responsive WordPress theme, I allow myself to obsess over the things that I want to get really good at.

You can only put yourself fully into today. [Tweet this.]

Choose an obsession for this week.

Let go of your inhibitions and realize that allowing yourself an obsession will make it so that you’re no longer stressing over a priorities list. Motivation will come without all of the effort. Your eyes will be opened to a new world of understanding.

What will you obsess over?

– Anne
Captain of the Pirate Ninjas

##

Photos Treasure Chest | Spilled Gold

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4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Obsession is almost like having tunnel vision on a specific goal. Thats what side blinders are for. Being extremely focused to the reach the goal despite any obstacle.

    Reply
    • Anne Dorko

      Tunnel vision is a perfect way to put it. The side blinders are a good analogy too. Obsession can be very powerful (and positive) when you use it right!

      Reply
  2. Avatar

    This is my 3rd time reading this article, it is deep but easy to understand. I tried this about 6 months ago and it worked! I was able to actually step past fear and work on one of my goals that I couldn’t get myself to actually start. I am ready to do this obsession thing again to get something else accomplished.

    Reply
  3. Avatar

    Wow!! What an insightful post. I am serious, this post has changed my perception. While reading this a couple of nights ago, I realized that my own personally greatest asset is my ability to become completely obsessed with things. Was always like that, even as a kid. I now realize that for me, obsession is a more powerful tool than all else combined. Passion, focus, discipline, intelligence, creativity- while all very important, still crumble in comparison to the power of obsession. In a way, obsession encompasses all of these things- for me anyway.

    Really, this was an exceptional post written by an exceptionally observant person. Thanks for helping me come to one of the biggest realizations of my life! I really really would like to see you write more content on the topic of obsession and its power, as you seem to know its essence more than any other I’ve come across on the internet. Cheers!

    Reply

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