“I have no ideas, only obsessions. Anybody can have ideas.

Ideas have never caused anybody’s downfall.”

Emil Cioran


Ideas have consequences.


Crazy ideas with consequences.


Ideas are tricky things. They get especially in today’s world where we talk ad nausea about how anyone can have a ‘good idea.’


While all ideas have consequences, and crazy ideas can have some crazy consequences, not all ideas are created equal.

Not all people can come up with good ideas.

Another truth?
Obsession, or the injection of obsession, actually may be what makes an idea more than just, well, an idea.

Why is this important?

Because so often we sit in meetings and brainstorm and flippantly toss out ideas. And they are, well, just ideas.

Hollow? Maybe not completely.

Flat? Possibly.

Deep? Rarely (many are mostly created from some individualistic opinion or belief).

Obsession? Extremely rare. And that is what differentiates ideas. The depth. What I mean by that is there is an obsessive aspect to a great meaningful idea.

To be clear. People can obsess over an idea and that idea can be crappy. But there is a link between obsession and obsessive. What I mean by that is obsession in an idea can (not always, but, can) generate an obsession among people.

So, while an obsessive idea may never become obsessive to people, an idea obsessive to people will always be generated by someone who has been obsessive in the idea and its thinking.

And I imagine that is my point.

There are ideas. And then there are ideas that change people <which means we have an opportunity to change the world>. Uhm. Unfortunately, these types of ideas come with a responsibility — a burden as a matter of fact . And not all people are capable of accepting this burden and not all people WANT to assume the responsibility of these types of ideas.

“Sureness will always elude you.

The detective will always circle around what he wants, never seeing it whole. We do not go on despite this.

We go on because of it.”

Claire DeWitt


“All extremes of feeling are allied with madness.”

Virginia Woolf

Ok. So, if obsession is the glue to successful ideas one begins to wonder where does that glue come from. Well. First. Far too often we seem to judge obsession in absolutes — as in absolutely unhealthy, bad or creepy. But what if the obsessive ideas are actually generated from an obsession with learning — some specific topic like science, math or woodworking or any ‘increased knowledge-based’ aspect of Life — which creates the underpinnings of something someone can become obsessive about.

That kind of seems like a good worthwhile obsession.

But let’s take a moment on obsession with learning.

Life, and learning, and even curiosity in general, means most of us are trapped in an endless chase.

The real scam people try and sell you is that some milestone or some objective represents some end point. I imagine another part of the scam is something I tried to debunk back in 2010, the whole concept of “well rounded” learning and people.

What we are taught about learning — how to learn, what to learn & what learning is important – is very different than what most of us feel & perceive when we encounter learning. And the rules look even more out of whack if you are one of the ones who is obsessive about learning something.

Those of us who have encountered, and embraced, obsession recognize that the learning game is rigged and has rules opposed to what we view as maximizing learning. We know there is no ‘well rounded’. We know there is actually no end. We know that our obsession is a means to an end and more often a favorite piece of clothing we will inevitably store away on the closet to be replaced by some other piece of clothing we will wear endlessly until we become obsessed with another.

What this means is that anyone with a relatively healthy obsession will endlessly circle around whatever they want more of and do so willingly because it was what he/she wants.

We visit the extremes seeking the extreme edge of something that is infinite and, yet, we find solace in the extremeness and not an unhealthy pursuit of something that will never actually be sated.

What this means is that a good obsession may actually mean you have the high unrealistic expectations and yet are able to mix and match them with the curiosity exploration of the day.

What this means is that obsession is what creates ideas with depths & dimensions that people can become obsessive about.

I tend to believe good obsessive learning is effective for a variety of reasons.

  • It is self imposed.

  • It is defined by a chosen environment & topic rather than a dictated one.

  • Measurement is self-imposed and the measurement objective is an unquantifiable “enough when it is enough” <we dictate the ‘satedness’>.

At its root level obsession is all about “wanting more.” And with regard to learning the ‘more’ is not some well-rounded evenly shaped smooth journey. And therein lies obsession biggest challenge in life. Unevenness makes people feel uncomfortable. They seek ‘well rounded’ and ‘planned exploration’ in terms of what is right. Therefore, if you are obsessive on one topic or one task you are not, well, doing it right.

And that kind of seems silly to me.

I am sure that someone will point out that there truly is a ‘righter way’ to learn but in my pea like brain learning driven from the inside of someone is significantly more powerful than learning dictated by someone outside of me. I also believe in my pea like brain that an idea created from an obsession, maybe with some uneven edges, is more likely to create obsession because it has some uneven edges.


I tend to believe part of youth is learning about obsessions and constantly being obsessed with something and some things. Unfortunately, adults confuse exploration with youth obsession. Sure. Sometimes the exploration can verge on some unhealthiness, but more often than not it is a pursuit of ‘more’ within something liked or desired. The pursuit itself becomes a means to a different end in that exploration means one encounters new things which can encourage a diverting/diverging path and a new obsession.

That is partially what youth is. It was in my day and it remains so today <although reading things online suggests many adults seem to think the young are more obsessive than ever – note: no research proving that>.

  • For some this obsession learning path provides a focus for adulthood.

  • For some this obsession becomes an unhealthy adult pattern.

  • For some this obsession becomes a healthy relentless pursuit of something ‘more’ in adulthood.

I would never suggest that an obsession with learning is easy mostly because, well, anything extreme runs the risk of edging a little toward madness <or at least maddening to the people around>. But I will suggest that an obsession with learning is one of those youth obsessions which translates fairly well into adulthood but also seems to get beat out of people as they grow older as ‘obsessive is bad.’

Me? I could suggest that an obsession with learning, as long as you don’t get too full of yourself, means you maintain a certain youthfulness toward Life.

To be honest, I haven’t completely figured out how to resolve obsession I simply manage it and think I am always working on it. What I do know is that those of us who are obsessed with learning will always be dissatisfied with what we do not know and, yet, sometimes find satisfaction in the ideas our obsessiveness creates.

The ‘ideas’ portion is important I have learned that the pursuit of your obsession has to have meaning in order for it to be a healthy obsession. And meaning can take form in a variety of ways, but it cannot be a simple milestone or objective but rather an embodiment of some growth or ‘moreness’ <not actual attainment of something>.

To finish up … I will end where I began. Ideas have consequences. Crazy ideas have consequences. Great ideas have consequences.

Choose your obsession and idea well. Ponder.

Written by Bruce