Hello world. My name is Anda and I have an obsessive nature. This has, in general, helped me achieve things even I thought were impossible. Somehow being unable to conceive a world in which an outcome would be different from my desires gave me the power to mold reality into that which I desired. Or to be fair, obsessed about. Naturally, this tendency has a lot of negative consequences which I am sure I will discuss at large in later posts. For now, let me tell you about a blog post I wanted to write but then decided not to and then decided to discuss having decided not to write it. So here I go.
I wanted to write a blog post about “Letting Go.” Yep, I even called it that way. It was going to be a rant about my natural tendency to obsess about that which I cannot have and how entrepreneurship has just given me a way to condone or even celebrate this behavior. I was going to discuss a recent obsession which, although theoretically good to pursue for the company, was going to be an obvious waste of my time and energy. An obsession whose unaware architect I was from the beginning but, as per usual, deluded myself into attaching a stamp of reality to it. An obsession I pursued while trying to walk the line between eagerness and mystery.
I was going to write a blog post about “Letting Go” of this obsession because…well…somehow along the way, this obsession grew legs of its own and seemed to achieve an independence from me. It seemed to exit the realm of my control so much that I felt it started to control me. So I thought that writing about “Letting Go” would somehow give me the final bullet. And with it, I was going to “shoot” myself out of the equation.
BUT how can one let go of self-induced obsessions? That’s a whole other level of mindfuck. In a moment of pause today, sometime between the hours of 15 and 16 during which I continuously stared out my window at a rainy San Francisco trying to wrap my head around this past week, I had a mini-epiphany.
Ninety percent of my obsessions and consequent powerlessness have been completely self-induced. But…why?! Why have I dragged myself in them?
I have dragged myself in them because…well…I enjoy them. And because, among other things, these blind targets keep me running. Or, in the words of the people of the Valley who like to quote Steve Jobs on a daily basis, they “keep me hungry.” They give me another fight to fight. Another peak to conquer. And of course sometimes they are real peaks. But other times (including this last time), they are unilaterally induced desires to achieve something unnecessary.
“In times of peace, a warrior goes against himself.” (Nietzsche)
I used to have that quote written on one of the walls of my dorm room. It helped me distinguish between the real and the fake marathons I engaged in. It helped me distinguish between defeat and self-induced drama. I guess mind can be a big enemy when wired for constant stimulation. Or maybe not an enemy but a tough companion. What makes me strong often plays against me because it takes my ambition too far.
The truth is, I don’t know what I would do without my acute conscience. And without those around me who remind me of it. Being aware of the sources of my power helps me ultimately prevent the even greater weaknesses that could be derived from them. Maybe my speed of reaction could be improved but at least I am ending this week of severe stomach pain not by laying down my arms but by pointing them away from me and just letting out a sigh of relief. This tiny self-induced war is now over. Time for a glass of wine (to be read as whiskey).
This article was originally published here.
Anda is an opinionated writer as well as the co-founder and CEO of Knotch, a community centered around real-time opinion-sharing. Pre-Knotch, she started three non-profit initiatives, worked in venture capital, and studied economics & international relations at Stanford.
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