Follow your fascinations, and turn them into obsessions so you go further than most
Mastery Den, Tuesday Edition, 4-min read.
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Life is too short to spend time away from the things that do not fascinate us.
Yet so many go through their entire lives ignoring their deeper fascinations because they prefer to play it safe and avoid looking a fool.
Don't let this be you.
Understanding our fascinations makes up a huge component of understanding ourselves. The better we know our drives (beyond the obvious natural ones), the more we can optimise our energy.
Creative geniuses are aware of their fascinations and turn them into obsessions over time. Think of some of your favourites, like Nikola Tesla, Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso, Leonardo DaVinci and Steve Jobs. And perhaps some other everyday heroes closer to home.
They never shied away from the stigma attached to obsession. They rode it like a wave.
When we're fascinated by something, our emotions don't lie. We don't need to force anything. It just draws us in.
I wouldn't need to tell you this if people didn't so regularly pursue paths defined by other people, not themselves — not led by their personal, genuine interests.
Find those things that evoke a ping of emotion in you. They are those things that make you feel good merely thinking about them. And no, we're not talking about sparkle-eye Shirley at the cafe who smiled at you.
Yes, sometimes fascinations are developed only after we've spent some time working on something.
Sometimes, fascinations are stumbled upon by accident. A friend of mine, for example, developed a fascination in car mechanics after his dad's vintage car broke down and needed restoring. But that's good too.
We need to take note of these curiosities and run with them where it makes sense. This is part of the searching process.
Being an excited creative really boils down to finding and tapping into those energy sources. They're like chemical reactions that take place when our curiosity meets application.
When the energy of fascination finds you, you must think very seriously about how you might bring more of this into your life.
Sometimes, a fascination is fleeting and disappears soon after it appears. Take note of those too. They aren't real fascinations.
Find the things to which you continually return. That's the difference.
Often, it appears as a vision in mind or a prickly feeling prompting you to search for something online or in a book.
If you've been entertaining the idea of buying land and building a cabin on and off for over a decade (like I have), you'll know this is a true fascination you might like to pursue. You know with a good amount of certainty that this kind of work will likely sustain you.
Fascinations present you with a gift few of us ever use. We're over-stimulated and stressed because we can't find a natural energy source beyond a cup of coffee.
Take a look at your bookshelf. The books you buy, the articles you read and the YouTube videos you watch reveal your fascinations. Where are the patterns?
This all points directly to those things you could potentially develop a high level of craft over the years. This is your potential' Zone of Mastery'.
Be careful here. You can easily get pulled in many directions by things that pique your interest, mainly because of their fresh novelty. This is why we must temper this with a singularity of focus.
This means honouring those 'fascinations' that repeatedly rise to the top and having the strength to stay with one or a couple of main obsessions maximum.
You will need self-control and awareness to avoid falling into the trap of pursuing a never-ending stream of shiny -objects. This might bring you many life experiences, but you will fail to see the fruits of robust accumulations of effort centred around any one thing.
None of these short-lived projects get the time and attention they need from you, in which case you're denying what could have been in the case of sticking with any one fascination.
Your fascination may be a hybrid of several crafts, too, like teaching and painting and understanding nature (for tree-painting art teachers).
It's down to your creativity to find what that is for you.
But that's how to really separate yourself, find your purpose and ride the energy that comes with immersing yourself in this kind of work.
Find your fascination(s), honour them, and double down on them.
What’s your fascination? Share below.
Thanks for reading.
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