I’ve always jumped into something too quickly or too slowly.

I either start to act without thought, or think without acting. Mostly the latter.

But no matter how I start, I’ve almost always skipped the in-between, fun, exciting and stress-free moment.

That obsession moment.

The one which first brings with it comfort, but then breeds fluency. One which sits between embarking upon an education, but stops before the learning really starts.

It’s when the names are new, when ideas start to fall like bouncing and clanging marbles, not yet blocks that know their place.

It’s when the fun really starts, the moment in which almost everything you hear and read is new.

It’s the moment in which you pour over barely a handful of names. Maybe three or four geniuses who have obsessed over the same topic before, people whom you can look up to, people whose voices and ideas you’ll be happy to have thread through your own when you get to work.

It’s the moment where you take simple notes. Lots of scribbles and names and arrows, drawing paths between ideas, then ripping them up and redrawing them as you find more understanding. It’s a time to draw question marks that will later become exclamation points.

If the topic was learning to cook, it wouldn’t be a recipe you’re trying to write, it’d be a much cruder list of “Buy ingredients. Handle (?) them in kitchen. Cook them. Eat (!). Clean plates (and forks?).”

Tough times made easier

The point is to learn just enough that when things start to get tough you don’t feel lost.

What you’re doing by obsessing for a few days is giving yourself a sense of the landscape.

I’m hoping a day or two of obsession is enough so you know why things aren’t working, and if they aren’t, to know where to go for answers, to have a person in mind whom you trust, whose language and personality you understand. Or a website of inexhaustible resources. Or a book that inspires.

With so many ways that any one thing can be done, it’s sometimes hard to know if the thousand bits of advice you get from a thousand sources are really helping you glide down the right path. What if they’re all pulling on you in different directions?

Having just a few sources, even if their knowledge isn’t perfect or complete or everything you need, feels safer to me. At least at first.

A few over a thousand is easier to mimic. Having a multitude of threads of other people’s thoughts come into my mind doesn’t leave much room for my own to develop.

But this isn’t an excuse to not work.

This is for a weekend, maybe three or four days at most. If it’ll take longer than this, then you need to look at simpler things to understand.

You shouldn’t even get to the point where you say to yourself “oops, time’s up”.

You’re aiming to stop because you’re head and your hands are screaming at you to do so, because you understand how things work well enough that you can see connections before they’re made, you can anticipate what’s going to be said next in a walkthrough video or article.

What are you obsessing over?

What is it you’re obsessing over at the moment?

Or I’d love to know how you embark upon a new education? Something not overly connected to existing knowledge and experience?

I’m not sure jumping from one programming language to another quite counts, nor switching genres, but I’m sure moving from UI to UX does, from audio to film too.

Send me an email and let me know!.