It’s OK To Obsess
In sports there are champions and non champions. In music there are hits and non hits. In sculpture there is “the david” and everything else. In startups there are winners and non winners.
It doesn’t mean that the non winners aren’t successful, nice, wonderful, endearing, deserving, hard working, empathetic, etc. They just aren’t champions.
When you walk into Camp Nou you can feel it. The old concrete, the steep rafters, and the bright lights. The anticipation of history, there are no empty seats when the game starts. There is no complacency in being late. There is no one lagging back from half time. Everyone understands the significance of the moment, the history that is about to unfold. And for the next two hours they celebrate it. They watch, applaud, awe, and even critique….but most important they appreciate it.
We have lost that spirit of appreciation towards company builders. The legend of Ben Franklin has been replaced with Jeff Bezos and his cruel culture. Ford and the marvel of making the Model T is now Elon and his exploding cars. The magic of Walt Disney has become Howard Shultz and his ‘racist’ coffee cups.
We are quick to judge and even faster to give up. We are afraid to try, try again, and keep trying until there is nothing left to give. We aren’t willing to put ourselves out there, to be utterly vulnerable to the world. Because in order to be successful you have to be willing to be judged, to be critiqued. And if you win…to be hated.
If pouring your soul into your work, isn’t your game that’s ok. If wanting to be the best isn’t your thing, it’s safer not to try. If being obsessed isn’t what fuels your existence, no one will judge you.
But to those of you that do, we should be giving you a standing ovation. We should be appreciating the detail and the commitment, the courage and the journey. We should first marvel, then critique.
If you know someone who has started a company don’t tell them to work less. Don’t confuse their desire to change the world with your own fears. It would be like telling Michelangelo to stop working on The David because he should have better balance.
Image Credit: By Korido (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons