Obsession Is Your Enemy, Keep Him Close

A dose of obsession

I’ve talked about an entrepreneur’s best friend, so today I’ll talk about your enemy number one: obsession. Obsession, according to Dictionary.com, “is the domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc”. Successful entrepreneurs obsess over their idea (and over every detail of their startup), unsuccessful entrepreneurs obsess over their idea as well (and every other detail of their startup, too). So what’s the difference??

Obsession isn’t all bad; Google offers the following synonyms for obsession: compulsion, infatuation and even passion. It’s also a strong desire, belief or love for something. It’s the kind of desire, belief, or love that gets you going, motivates you, encourages you, and drives you. In part, it takes a bit of obsession to get into entrepreneurship; an entrepreneur has to be a little bit crazy, right?

On the hand, obsession can be bad, it can be a disease, and perfection is often a symptom. Unfortunately, perfection is an inhibitor and it may lead to analysis paralysis, a state in which over-thinking actually stunts a startup’s growth by impairing your decision-making abilities. How can you sell your product if you’re spending too much time preparing a demo? How can you ship your product if you’re analyzing its design too deeply? How can you ship your product if you’re afraid of people’s reactions?

The good side of obsession is persistence, the bad side is blindness so beware tunnel vision. Find the balance that is right for you and steer your startup in the right direction. Use your obsession to push yourself forward, but don’t let it hold you back. Obsession is wanting to make dreams to come true, but is that really so crazy?

Can you tame your obsession?


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