This whole article might feel like a slap in the face.
Stick with me because it’s not what you think. The corporate world teaches us the naughty phrase work-life balance.
In the online world it doesn’t really exist.
In fact I’d argue true success is rarely reached with lukewarm levels of effort. If you’re building something incredible online then balance is the last thing you’d ever want.
The polar opposite of balance that’ll get you real results
Balance sounds nice … until you dissect it.
I’ve studied those who succeed online for the last 9 years. Everyone from Mr Beast to relatively unknown people like Dan Koe.
They don’t live and work in some fantasy land called balance.
No. They work from a place of obsession. Obsession is anything but balance. It’s more like chaos. It’s a state of constant change and evolution. It’s a level of work ethic that looks like hustle culture.
Except they don’t see what they do as work — another pattern interrupt.
They see what they do as a mission. As something they get to do instead of what they have to do to make money and buy tacos.
Their online pursuit is immersed in passion. It’s directly connected to a purpose. So balance isn’t something they seek because if they had it their way, they’d never sleep and be always working on their online pursuit.
How it feels to be obsessed
The obsessed life is far more interesting than a balanced life made up of “work” you have to do.
I’ve accidentally lived this life. Until recently I didn’t know what it was. I just assumed I was a deadbeat weirdo and would never be understood.
Then I started going down the rabbit hole of obsession and found my tribe. A life of chaos, as opposed to balance, is full of uncertainty.
You never know what the F is gonna happen. No two days are the same. One day you feel like you’re at the top of Mt Everest, and on other days you feel as if you’re locked in a Game of Thrones dungeon with a prince who wants to eat your genitals for dinner.
The closest thing I can compare it to is addiction.
Like the addiction I had to alcohol because of my life working as a nightclub DJ. I’m obsessed with writing and it’s all I can think about most days. If anyone tries to recruit me for another mission, I can’t hear them.
My goal in life is set. I don’t want to do anything else. I will never do anything else, and I’m okay with that.
A new kind of balance
There is balance in the obsessed life but it’s less deliberate.
Best way to describe it: After chaos comes calm.
When I’ve sat down and worked online in a flow state for 8 hours, there’s this natural feeling of achievement. The madness leaves me. I feel like I’ve fulfilled my mission.
My mind stays lit on fire, but the actual tasks I do next are less intense. The day ends with a walk or a documentary or family time.
But I never really switch off. I’m obsessed.
So it’s different to work-life balance, where you try to switch off from the work you do because, let’s face it, you’d rather be doing something else.
Switching off is how you keep doing that boring work.
But when your work excites you there’s no switching off. My friend Dan says it’s like being a warrior at certain times and a monk at other times.
I thought this way of life was wrong but now I know (*does Mandalorian voice*) that this is the way.
“A balanced life gives you motivation to keep going for a longer period of time”
I saw this in a tweet reply.
It’s deeply wrong. A balanced life is what you see when you’re not motivated and seek recovery and a way to numb the pain.
When you’re obsessed, motivation doesn’t even come into play. You don’t need motivation because you’re addicted to something far greater.
I’ve found my addiction to writing is linked to a cause much higher than my own existence. I know that sounds woo-woo … but it’s true.
I can’t even describe it. I feel pulled to it. I feel drawn to people who share my addiction. People who don’t get it feel like strangers.
The problem with motivation is you have to cultivate it. And you need willpower to start when you’re not motivated, which is probably most of the time. Obsession doesn’t need to get started.
You wake up obsessed. I don’t struggle to get out of bed. I jump out of bed most mornings because I need to get my hit. I need to feel the madness of obsession creep inside of me and run the show.
Too often the balanced life just leads to the comfortable life.
And nothing that was great ever got created out of comfort. Diamonds form under extreme pressure and discomfort to become a thing of beauty.
Stop seeking balance. Chase obsession. Get addicted. Get pulled down the rabbit hole of your obsession and let it create madness. Become one of the crazy ones. Dare to go all in.
When you find your version of the obsessed life, balance will be the last thing in the world you want. Cheers to the obsessed ones.