Thanks to a good buddy and previous co-masterminder, I recently found out about a book signing in our area with the founders of Techstars – a pair of angel investors based nearby out of Boulder, CO, David Cohen and Brad Feld. I’m always craving to be in the presence of anyone that really knows what the f*** they’re doing, so I naturally dropped everything that evening and jetted over there.

I never really know what’s going to happen at these book signings. The only one I ever went to was an evening in Denver when I waited in line for approximately 2 hours to get the Book of Basketball signed by someone in the sports/pop culture world that I really admire, Mass-hole Bill Simmons. A quick jab by him at what I was wearing and the moment was over. So I figured it’d be kinda the same, maybe with a bit of a shorter line, but who knows?

This was a far different experience – a setup of about 20 chairs with just an intimate Q&A as I arrived. In fact, I was quite impressed with the length of the Q&A they held. I always find it fascinating when something like this goes longer than I’d expect – knowing that their time is extremely valuable and they’re doing it solely out of basis that they enjoy connecting with others and trying to provide a positive impact in someone else’s life. 

Consider myself to be one of those that was positively impacted. 

Someone asked a question around what they use as motivating factors for whether they decide to buy in and invest in a company or not. And I found Brad’s response to be incredibly profound and intriguing…

He spoke about how often he comes across CEOs of these start-ups that just continue to talk about how passionate they are about what they’re doing and what they’re hoping to achieve – all kind of to be expected, I would assume. But what was interesting is that he said often times those are the businesses he passes on. The more they talked about passion, the more disinterested he became. And it was for this reason – 

Passion can be faked. I look for the obsessed. You can’t fake obsession.

And then I thought… He’s right.

I started thinking about times I’ve experienced others who talk about what their passion is and what they’re passionate about, etc., etc., etc. And I realized how often that passion just turned into some sort of sales tactic to get me to buy into what they were saying. 

You can’t fake obsession. 

So it naturally got me thinking about what my passions are – and what that actually means to me – versus what I’m truly obsessed about.

Suddenly my outlook on where I’m spending my time, my energy, my thoughts completely shifted.

And the things I might normally say that I’m passionate about became…. Less so. It’s like I started calling bullshit on myself for the things I would tell myself – and others – and completely reevaluated the way I started to think. 

Now I only focus and hone in on the things that I’m obsessed about. Because that’s the only option, right? If I’m concentrating on something I’m not obsessed with, isn’t my energy actually existing elsewhere anyway? I might just be faking the rest of it.

Obsession has become the secret code to my personal progress. The up-up-down-down-A-B-A-B to my success.

So — what are you spending your time doing daily that you’re obsessed about? Are you faking the rest of ’passions’? 

I’m now taking note daily on what my obsessions are and it sure does make it a hell of a lot easier to lock in the practices I want to be focusing my time on. I highly recommend you try doing the same. It just makes life a lot more fun and energetic….

Passion can be faked. Obsession is real.