In Praise of Fanaticism

Posted on August 10, 2009 by

1


by Jim Cathcart

Every great achievement is preceded by a period of fanatical dedication. In almost 30 years of exploring human development I have found that “moderation” never leads to success. One might maintain their ideal weight by eating deserts in moderation. They might exercise with moderation to stay fit. But nobody BECOMES fit by exercising in moderation. The same is true in business, education and even relationships. When you are in love and courting your intended spouse, you become consumed with thoughts and feelings toward them night and day. You feel compelled to be with them, you send notes, do special things, and make time to be with them. This in turn proves your love and either convinces and endears them to you or alienates and terrifies them. Either way, the future of the relationship is determined during that period of fanaticism.

In building a new business, it consumes your every thought. Every person is seen as a prospect or a resource. When you read the newspaper you notice ideas, opportunities and insights as never before. Your social conversations always turn to the new business. And all your friends learn of your newest venture. This leads to connections and opportunities you’d never have otherwise realized. Once a compelling goal is put into action, the world rearranges itself to help bring the goal to life.

Consider sports: Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods are great examples of dedication. They show up earlier and stay longer than their competitors and as a result they win the championships consistently. They work very hard but have learned to love the work. Someone quoted Mohammed Ali as saying that his boxing championships were not won in the title matches, but rather in the practice that made him ready for the title bouts. Or consider money; the richest, most successful people financially are those who have cultivated the habit of “thinking money” in all that they do. They learn to love the study of finance. When there is a great gap between where you are and where you want to be, the only reasonable way to bridge that gap is by being unreasonably dedicated to achieving your goals. Give it all you have got, for a while.

I’m not suggesting that you become an achievement maniac and live only for the goals, but I am suggesting that “for a while” you must become a fanatic. If you want to achieve great things, then plan to pay a great price at first and then “in moderation” as you grow. Think of it as the difference between an airplane’s takeoff and its cruising speed. To take off it expends much of its fuel and all of its commitment. Then it can cruise around the world in relative ease. So can you.

***************

Sheri’s TakeAmen, Jim.  NO ONE gets profoundly fitter eating clean in moderation, or exercising in moderation.  TRANSFORMATION takes transformative decisions.  The habits that got us to where we are rule with a big stick.  To put that stick down takes getting a bit fanatical.  Getting that water in.  Avoiding sodium.  Watching the wheat & corn.  Staying away from ice cream.  Yes, even a BITE can side swipe you.  You can eat crap in moderation and keep where you are.  But you want to Transform?  That takes some effort.  That takes transforming your habits.  Period.

Again, in Jim’s words (worth repeating):

When there is a great gap between where you are and where you want to be, the only reasonable way to bridge that gap is by being unreasonably dedicated to achieving your goals. Give it all you have got, for a while.

Posted in: Food For Thought