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Sorta Random Sunday: Obsession is a Gift?

I recently heard someone say, “Obsession is a gift when used on your terms.” In fact, it’s from a recent book by Grant Cardone – who proved to be a more controversial figure than I even realized – that I read!

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote about obsession. Basically, I don’t know if I agree with this or not. I go back and forth.

Obsession can be bad

I’ve experienced the bad side of obsession like many of us had. And it led to burnout.

obsession gift

My obsession within training led me to be way too single minded. My focus on my training was great. It made me the surgeon that I am today. But I did ignore my personal, familial, and financial well-being. And this led to an episode of burnout.

I’m happy to say that through self reflection and focusing on my well-being (including financial), my burnout improved.

But this was a case of bad obsession. But was I using my obsession on my own terms?

Obsession can be a gift

I do also agree with the statement that obsession can be a gift. I have experienced this as well.

In fact, I alluded to it above. Before taken to extremes, my obsession in training helped make me a very successful plastic surgeon, which was a major goal of mine. And that continues to this day. I am obsessed with doing my best for my patients.

But let’s even look outside of medicine. Let’s use this blog as an example. People tend to ask me how I keep it up with everything else going on. Because I’m really passionate about it. In fact, I’m obsessed.

What’s the difference between these two?

I think a big part of the difference is the circumstances of the obsession. Is it on your own terms? Or is it not?

One can argue that my obsession in training was not on my own terms.

And my current professional obsession is very much on my own terms. Even though I am employed, I enjoy the freedom to practice as I want. I pursue financial freedom so I can take this to the max.

My blogging obsession is completely on my own terms.

So maybe obsession is a gift when it’s on your own terms?

Well, I think this may be oversimplifying things a bit unfortunately.

It’s convenient for me to say that my obsession in training was not on my own terms. I was told when and where to be and what to do. And that was stressful and straining, don’t get me wrong.

But what led to my burnout, if I really am honest and reflective, was how I chose to handle things that were in my control. How I managed my self care. My choices around family time.

In fact, my financial well-being story is evident of this. I was still in training when I made my comeback. This could have happened at any time. But it only happened when I made my own terms.

Also, one can argue the converse. There are likely situations where one is severely restricted in their ability to mold their obsession in their own terms. This is also true but not completely true. I do believe we all have the ability and power to change our situations to better ourselves.

So which is it?!

Honestly I have no idea! Maybe it’s both true and false at the same time. Like so much in life.

In the end, I’m going to keep following what I am passionate about and what I love to do. And the simple formula I follow for financial freedom will give me the ultimate ability to do that!

What do you think? If obsession a gift? If so, when? Can it be bad? How have you managed your obsessions? Let me know in the comments below!

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    Jordan Frey MD, a plastic surgeon in Buffalo, NY, is one of the fastest-growing physician finance bloggers in the world. See how he went from financially clueless to increasing his net worth by $1M in 1 year and how you can do the same! Feel free to send Jordan a message at [email protected].

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