The Anatomy of Obsession.
Every year I try to read 24 books. Two books a month. The books include fiction and non-fiction. I try to read at least a few autobiographies. An autobiography is like sitting with a famous person for 10–15 hours and having them tell me their story. Except I can stop, think, write my thoughts down.
Right now I’m reading the autobiography of Dan Gable. Dan Gable is one of the most decorated wrestlers of all time. He was a four-time Iowa state champion in high school, three-time NCAA champion in college and only lost one match in college career. He won a gold in Munich without losing a single point. He then lead Iowa Hawkeyes to a string of national championships, many Olympic medals and created some of the best wrestling coaches.
Reading his autobiography made me realize that we revere accomplishment but we look down on obsession and insanity. And yet those who accomplish greatness are insane. Gable was so focused on winning that he would carry bricks just to get stronger. He would run along side his friends car just to get an extra workout.
The people who change the world are simply people who have used their insanity in a productive way. Most of us are not this insane. Most of us for this reason will not attain this kind of fame but recognizing the productive insane is a gift.
One story of his was his best friend who would be routinely beaten on the mat by Gable. This friend was his stanchest protector in High School. Everyone thought that Gable was a weirdo, but his friend would protect him and say: “One day Dan will be a famous person, and he won’t remember you.”
We all have a role in this world. Some of us are the insane who change it. Some of us are not, but we help the insane to make the change possible.
And what is this obsessive insanity other than the ability to keep the main thing, the main thing.