Forbes: Why Obsession Trumps Passion When It Comes To Success
By: Dan Schawbel
I spoke to Grant Cardone, author of Be Obsessed or Be Average, about the importance of obsession in ones career success, how he remains motivated after being so successful, how he hires and trains his staff, how to get passed internal and external obstacles and how to find your passion.
Cardone is a successful entrepreneur, real estate investor, sales trainer, consultant, and public speaker. He also owns the Grant Cardone TV Network, a digital home for business owners and other success-minded people, where he hosts, directs, and produces programs that help people do whatever it takes to succeed. His other bestselling books include The 10X Rule and If You’re Not First, You’re Last. Grant is extremely active in philanthropic ventures and has raised over $100 million for charity. In 2016, Cardone was listed by UK-based company Richtopia at number 7 in the global list of 500 Most Influential CEOs in the world.
Dan Schawbel: What does it mean to be obsessed or be average? If it’s a choice you make, what do you do if you choose to be obsessed?
Grant Cardone: The obsessed hold illusions of greatness that the average used to have and gave up on. The obsessed are those who go balls to the wall—completely all in all of the time —and are obsessed with creating a life the average deem impossible. My entire life I was obsessed with fantasies of greatness, fame, the perfect girl, prosperity, amazing children and the time to enjoy it all. Since the age of eight I dreamed of a life where I had full and total control, but most of my life average people tried to talk me out of these desires suggesting they were simply unrealistic fantasies. I don’t think people need to make a choice to be obsessed, I think we all are and simply talked out of it. For instance, I was labeled ADD, ADHD, OCD and simply denied the labels and instead embraced this energy as my gift rather than my deficiency. I don’t apologize for this—I took it as a compliment.
Schawbel: How do you remain as hungry as you did when you were younger? What does all the self-motivation come from?
Cardone: Obsession is the fuel that gives you a can’t-quit, won’t-quit, accelerator-to-the-floor monster ambition inside of you and it grows as you grow regardless of your age. In fact, the older I get and the more success I experience the more obsessed I become with the reality I can create. As you embrace your obsessions and deny average your potential will continue to be revealed to you. This is what keeps people motivated and creating. It is not money or awards but possibilities. Becoming satisfied with what you have done only means someone in your life has convinced you to settle for average. The average are threatened by the obsessed thus they spend their time trying to stop the obsessed from being obsessed, as they try to make sense of when they traded their obsessions in for average.
Schawbel: Take us behind the scenes of your business empire. How do you go about hiring and training your teams?
Cardone: Today I own five companies that produce about 100m in gross revenue. I am heavily involved in each of them. When I hire people I am looking for other obsessed people who know how to direct their obsessive personalities. I am looking for people who are highly motivated, dreamers that can replace me and take over. That takes energy, commitment, responsibility, dedication and they better have their spouse on the same page.
Schawbel: It’s easy to doubt yourself when you get fired or have self-doubt. How do we get passed these internal and external obstacles?
Cardone: There are two entire chapters in the book dedicated to Feed the Beast and Starve the Doubt. Feed the beast means you get energized so much from your crazy insane obsessions, there exists almost no oxygen for the fear. I know that seems impossible when you are experiencing fear because from the age of 15 to 42 this was my killer. Then I started to embrace my obsessions rather than explain or apologize for them, and I started using the fear to direct me. Doubt is a dream killer but fear can be an indicator of what you should do. Most people are so filled with doubt they are unable to believe in themselves and this is ALWAYS instilled by others. Doubt is not native to the individual it is educated into you.
Schawbel: Where do obsession come from and how do people find their passion?
Cardone: I think everyone is obsessed in their life and simply are talked out of it by those scared of their own obsessions. Most people never figure out what they are really obsessed with, because they’ve been taught to deny their obsessions thinking they are all dark little dirty neurosis. Find something, anything, that you are obsessed with and quit denying it. Own it and feed it because it has massive amounts of energy and creativity. Make a list of all the greats that have walked this planet and you will see they simply embraced their obsessions. They didn’t apologize or try to make others comfortable, they embraced their obsessions and poured everything into them. Were they neurotic? Maybe? Were they unstable? Could be? Did they contribute? Most certainly. Is there a way to be Obsessed without being neurotic? I am.