Obsessed

I think finding proper things to care about is a key component to a healthy life. I would caution anyone, however, against becoming obsessed with anything.

The difference between care and obsession isn’t just a matter of degree. I care about my children to a vast degree, but I’m not obsessed. What then is the difference?

Obsession is a dismissal of cost. I care about my children, so if one of them were to get very sick, I would be willing to sacrifice many things to make them well. If one of them needed a kidney and I could provide it, I’d do so in a heartbeat. What I wouldn’t do, however, is kill a stranger and take their kidney. The cost is too high.

Similarly, if I’m out at the park with the kiddos and one of them overestimated their native insulation and insisted to me that they didn’t need a coat, and then WHAT DO YOU KNOW they’re cold, I’m willing to run home and grab their coat. I’m not willing to take a coat by force from another kid at the playground.

I care deeply about certain aspects of my self-improvement. I want to be wealthier as I progress through life, but I’m not obsessed with wealth to the point where I’d steal or sacrifice family life, etc.

Obsession is a dismissal of cost. Only the object of your obsession matters; it’s exclusionary. It ignores trade-offs. Care, even deep care, is inclusionary – it uses the object of your care as one building block of many to create a foundation. Caring about the wrong things creates weak bricks in your foundation. But obsessing over even generally positive things is like stacking the same brick over and over into a single tower, rather than a strong foundation.

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