Being the best, having a great ambition, and succeeding at whatever endeavours one chooses in life, is what most people are taught to achieve, right from childhood. Contrarily, that the final fruits of years of hard work should lead to a comfortable retirement package, tucked away in a peaceful retirement home, is the goal that people end up reaching out for.
The answer is that people have a fear of failure and rejection, and a lack of ambition, to continue on the path of achieving goals.
Be Obsessed Or Be Average (2016) by Grant Cardone, explains that a quiet retirement need not be the only ambition in life. It guides towards leading life to its fullest. It shows how passion and obsession are powerful enough to unlock the unlimited rewards of ambition.
When one feels that they are on the verge of burnout, and feel completely depleted of energy to continue work, one essentially has two choices –
- Taking a break, or
- Becoming obsessed
For an average person, taking a break is the most likely choice. However, giving up at that moment and taking a break doesn’t help to achieve the set goal, or even moving to the next step. In such a scenario, one needs a push towards achieving goals. That push comes from being obsessed.
What truly helps during burnout is to reaffirm the purpose of achieving that goal. For example, when Cardone reached the age of forty, he started feeling stressed out and tired. His travels required him to be crisscrossing the country to deliver talks, and when there was a holiday in the US, he would book talks in Canada. This often led to Cardone not knowing which country or state he was in when he woke up on his flights.
At this point, Cardone realised that delivering talks all over the country wasn’t his goal. His real obsession was with becoming the greatest salesman on earth, and being a public speaker had distracted him from that goal. He decided to write down and reassert his goals in life. He felt rejuvenated the moment he cleared his mind and focussed on his goal.
Cardone found that being obsessed is the key to achieving true balance and unlocking energy.
Balance isn’t about relaxing and taking time off. It’s about stabilizing while achieving career and professional goals, health and wealth goals and family and personal goals at the same time.
To do this, one needs to work hard, with the passion that accompanies obsession, each and every moment.
Keeping Obsessions Fresh and Consistent
Achieving set goals consistently needs passion and obsession. Consider a person has realised what he is passionate about. He is able to meet goals or inch closer to them faster than expected. In this scenario, it is easy for the person to think they have time to start on the next goal, or meet the goal, and to take some time off, before the last mile.
He has to push ahead, keep obsessing about the next big thing, or things. Only then can the person achieve consistent great success. One has to set future more audacious goals consistently, and consistently push towards achieving them.
Furthermore, goals should drive one towards a limitless future. Setting an end goal, like achieving a lavish retirement life won’t keep one obsessed. Such goals do not excite a person to work towards achieving goals each and every day!
Endless ambitions fuel a person’s motivation each day. This ultimately leads to an exceptional life. For example, if a person achieves the goal of becoming a millionaire, the next big goal should be to become a billionaire.
Thinking about how he can fund charitable organizations with the billions he is able to achieve, is the kind of forward-thinking he should have to get obsessed, to get motivated, and to be passionate in life, consistently
Being obsessed and passionate consistently helps in setting a goal. But even billionaires cannot predict the course of life and how they are actually going to achieve the goal. How do they achieve their goals then?
The trick is to make a promise to achieve a goal ten times higher than what they can actually achieve and then push themselves and their teams to reach it.
Setting a high aim helps in giving one that necessary push and rise to the challenge.
All the major decisions one makes in life need one to dive in and then figure how to swim along the way. For example, one can plan to have a child and have big plans of raising them right. However, there is no guarantee that things pan out exactly as planned. One has to learn parenting as one experiences it.
This principle applied to goals as well.
For example, almost every Apple product released in the market has had flaws. However, Apple places importance on the values of innovation, being bold and being the next big thing. Hence rather than wasting time on testing, and probably lose the opportunity to be the pioneers in the industry, they innovate and make corrections with new versions as they see how their products perform in the market, this is what has made Apple one of the greatest successes in the world.
Sometimes, being first is better than being perfect!
Belief and trust in one dream and the ability to achieve are important as well. The New England Patriots football team has won 5 Super Bowls after Robert Kraft took over as the owner of the Patriots in 1995. Despite the team struggling, Robert Kraft made a bold promise to win the Super Bowl. His bold vision, motivation and obsession with winning enabled the players to give more than their hundred per cent to each game of each season. Additionally, even fans place their belief in the team. The teams $3.2 billion worth is proof of that fact.
Hence, aiming high, and having confidence in one’s ability to get there is as important.
Aiming high can create a sense of fear too. However, fear is good. It needs to be embraced and understood, as it is an important prerequisite of success.
Fear is of two types –
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of failure
It is vital to be able to deal with both types of failure if one has to achieve success.
As J.K Rowling addressed the 2008 Harvard University graduating class, she said, “What makes you great in life is being brave enough to fail. So if you never fail, you will never live.”
Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected by no less than 12 publishers before it was accepted by one. It was her perseverance that led to around 12 million copies getting sold! If Rowling had let her fear stop her, Harry Potter would not have existed today!
Being afraid isn’t bad. It only means that one is moving ahead and pushing oneself. One starts getting too comfortable in their position if they do not feel fear now and then. It means that one is stagnating and does not have any more room to grow. Then, perhaps it is time to move to a bigger pond, and not simply be a big fish in a small pond.
Fear is also useful when it comes to beating out the competition. When one embraces fear, one creates the right mindset, which could lead to a psychological advantage.
Following the economic collapse of 2008, Cardone found his biggest breakthrough. While everybody was facing the fear of the unstable future, Cardone decided to use it as an incentive to be more aggressive in getting sales and making more public appearances, expanding to other markets. This move paid off very well.
Use Money To Grow
Growth is always a yardstick by which one measures growth. The smart thing to do, therefore, is to put one money and energy into expansion. This strategy helps in cornering the market. This strategy also implies that spending should have more importance than saving because the money that is spent on growth is more money than simply sitting in the savings account.
Additionally, this strategy also amounts to good tax sense. While profits get taxed, any money reinvested in one’s own company does not get taxed, which means that the money that is spent in expansion is more valuable.
It thus makes more sense to be on the lookout for growth and expansion opportunities, as well as explore new markets and new avenues. The author’s recommendation is to reinvest about 30-40% of one’s profits in expansion opportunities.
Sometimes, finding expansion opportunities can get difficult. In such cases, one should spend those profits on publicity. As the saying goes, ‘any publicity is good,’ and any amount invested in advertising and marketing never goes to waste. The right publicity increases visibility, and one becomes a household name. Then, the earlier, ‘hard to find expansion opportunities come knocking at the door!
However, one has to be careful to not become a ‘one-man-show. One has to work with and guide the whole team to success. According to Cardone, about 75% of the companies in the US today are one-man shows, with an average annual profit of a meagre $44,000. On the other hand companies such as Apple and Microsoft with 200,00 and 100,000 strong staff tell another story of success.
Cardone too learned the limits of being a one-man-show the hard way. He realised that real success comes when there is a strong team to help earn the money and that work has to be delegated. That’s when he started hiring more employees and the company truly began to grow.
Haters Can Be used To Fuel One’s Obsession
Anyone who is successful has a fair share of ‘nay-sayers’. Moreover, these critics and competitors can be studied and anticipated, which helps in preparing oneself against them.
Social media, today, provides these critics with many platforms to criticize. The manner to deal with them is to use the attention and be thankful for it, rather than trying to shut it down.
As mentioned earlier, there is nothing such as bad publicity. Critics can thus be counted as free publicity. Essentially, the more haters one has, the more successful one is! No one is interested in picking at an unknown or insignificant business. Trolling and vehement criticisms are targeted only to those who are seen as worthy in the market.
Additionally, haters and critics make one more resilient. They help one build a thicker skin and make one more passionate to prove them wrong. Used well, the opinions of haters can actually help one to make improvements in their own product or business. It’s as simple as the fact that the bully who picked on you in high school, made you the better person you are today!
It is also important to remember that ‘nay-sayers’ can also exist with one’s own team and hold one back from being obsessed and following passions. The answer to dealing with them is to instil a company-wide culture of obsession.
Instilling A Company-wide Obsessive Culture
Leaders have to focus and be obsessed with efficiency and keeping everyone in the team on track, more than just generating profits. That entails making unpopular decisions too, and if it is needed, literally controlling the conversations as well.
As a leader, one has to ensure that everyone in the team is on the same page about the goals of the company, and are as passionate and obsessed. At any point, if a leader feels that a team member isn’t up to standards, or a client isn’t properly advised, it is alright for the leader to step in and close the gap.
There are many other ways of instilling obsession among team members. Leaders should make team members aware that they are personally interested and aware of every aspect of the business.
Cardone regularly recognises the work of every individual. He sends personal messages by recording videos on his phone and sending it to his team. Such personal touches ensure commitment from team members, which over time becomes an obsession to perform and bring inefficiency.
However, a leader’s control over the team begins with being ruthless when it comes to hiring the right people and firing the wrong ones.
When an individual is hired for a role, a formal agreement is made between the company and the individual to be paid according to a standard of work expected and to be treated fairly. Thus, if an employee does not keep up their end of the deal, one should not feel bad to let them go and hiring someone who will honour that deal.
Building an obsessive team is a leaders job, and thus the leader has to strike a balance between being ruthless and clearly stating out what is expected from team members, clearing out any dead-weight such as non-performers so that the rest of the team is aligned with respect to efficiency, and using recognition with personal touches to instil pride, passion and obsession among team members.
Achieving great success requires obsession. One has to be consistently passionate and keep oneself motivated to push ahead to achieve. This can be done by raising the bar high and embracing one’s fears and using those fears to an advantage.
Furthermore, one has to understand that in order to succeed, one has to think of haters as fuel that feeds the obsession, and finally, one has to create a passion for obsession and efficiency among team members.