Case

A persistent disturbing preoccupation

by Richard Teroni

My entire life I’ve been impressed by the people who drive change. The restless and fearless who finds the ways out of status-quo. Their sleepless dedication for the greater good and their relentless counterforce to the lazy. So, what is it that separates the dedicated from the lazy? Take a read and see if you agree with me.

The glitch

As a little boy, I grew up in a fragmented world. Me and my siblings were separated by betrayal and sorrow and I was left behind, surrounded by negative influence and destructive patterns. I was told by the elders of my circle that my future was already set in stone. I was doomed to hate, to be bitter and to self-contempt.

But a glitch in my preset destiny made it possible for new elders to enter my world. They infused my being with faith in my own powers and sparked a new self-image which put the secret law of attraction in motion.

I found a way getting around, beneath and above the obstacles that were placed around me. Positive thoughts combined with determination gave me the power to influence what was predestined.

The grey

Years went by and I turned into a bigger boy with new, greater obstacles and situations pushing me in directions laid out by others. You could say I lost track but I, personally, think I lost direction by being forced into a system not suited for me. I was told not to question and just follow the rules. I became a grey copy of myself and I was repeatedly told about my dark future.

Once again a new elder appeared into my life and helped me retrieve the lost spark. An elder who guided me in the -wrong- direction. She was one of the grey. A woman part of the broken maze (fancy made up words for “gymnasium teacher”). She opened my eyes to unconventional thinking, my soul for the essence of dedication and my heart for love, happiness and self-esteem.

“You should love what you do, and whatever you do should make you happy, and whatever makes you happy you should obsess about. It’s already within you. You just need to let go”, she said. So, I let go.

The epiphany

Letting go and allowing myself to obsess. That’s the lesson learned by the boy, who’ve now become a man. A man with a life as many others. A life filled with ups and downs, life and death, hope and despair. But there is one thing that separates me from the many and unites me with the few and that’s how I choose to interpret the meaning of obsession.

Google it and you’ll find definitions like; a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling.

We all heard of Steve Jobs. He was said to be obsessed about making the best technology possible with the simplest method possible. Rosa Parks was said to be obsessed about civil rights, Michael Jordan was said to be obsessed with being the best basketball player of his generation, Benazir Bhutto was said to be obsessed with democracy, Bill Bowerman was said to be obsessed with serving athletes/athletes*. Thousands of other greats were or are said to be obsessed about something. The Ali Brown’s, Al Gore’s, Melinda Gate’s, Elon Musk’s, Michelle Obama’s and so on.

They were all told they didn’t have to work so hard, and to not pursue their goal so intently. They were told they were obsessed, and that obsession needs to be held back. They were told wrong.

“Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated” a wise Instagram quote once said.

A majority of the world is lazy. Not by birth, but because they don’t have anything to obsess about. And people who have nothing to be dedicated about too often end up dedicating themselves to de-dedicating the dedicated. Am I harsh? I don’t think so. Do not get caught in that trap! To dedicate and to obsess is something constructive and beautiful. Everyone deserve something to obsess about.

So back to the boy and lesson learned. Back to the “let go and allow yourself to obsess”. I’m told that I obsess about many things. I choose to see myself as a super-positive-dedicated person who obsess about what’s important to me but also to the ones close to me. Nowadays I’m allowing myself to obsess about three things: 1) Love; my wife-to-be, my four children and my closest 2) Work; being part of something great and gaining respect and pride through good work 3) Going forward; never being satisfied, always seeing new possibilities.

Just to clarify three things: 1) I’m not, officially, comparing myself with the persons mentioned above. 2) There are as many answers as human beings on how to find what to obsess about, but a good start is a cbt session. 3) All days are not good days. I’m not Superman. I’m only a human with superpowers 😉 who sometimes falls into doubt and despair. But I had an epiphany and learned how to get out of the negative spiral, and I also know I need to get out of it. Because the outcome of negativity is not an option. Positive thoughts and something to obsess about is what makes us move forward, individually and collectively.

So, think positive and find your obsession! You’ll like it. Pinky promise.

Richard Teroni
Planning Director / Founding Partner
richard.teroni@river.se