Obsessive Compulsiveness and Freelancing Success

Posted: July 21st, 2009

Photo by Oliliqui (Flickr)

Photo by Oliliqui (Flickr)

In a class on abnormal psychology in college I remember vividly a few lectures going over obsessive-compulsive disorders which can range from washing your hands 200 times a day to constantly worrying about whether you locked your front door while away from home.

While the majority of us don’t have have one, nearly everyone of us does have obsessive-compulsive tendencies that drive us in our everyday lives. When it comes to freelancing, however, these can be an indication of whether we merely survive or actually become successful at it. I can explain it a little better.

Its pretty obvious a freelancer’s ability to stick through hard times while learning the ropes is a required trait to succeed. The following characteristics, which can borderline on the obsessive compulsive side, are also present in those freelancers who take it to the next level and become the best at what they do and make a name for themselves:

Dissatisfaction: This doesn’t refer to not liking what you do, but rather the “is this it?” feeling you may feel doing the work you do in your career. What usually follows is the need to branch out and advance the skills you have or even learn something entirely new. The real benefit to dissatisfaction is that motivation is high to obtain an ideal career and the pursuit of it becomes second nature. The drawback, however, is that sometimes satisfaction is never achieved.

Workaholism: All freelancers at one time or another has burned the candle at both ends to get work done. Then there are those who do this habitually every day. Needless to say, a lot of hard work will quickly advance your career, not to mention your bank account will be pretty healthy. Bouts of workaholism is necessary for every freelancer to grow in their careers, too. A complete obsession with it, however, might not be so good for the head.

The “Mad Scientist” mentality: I don’t think I’ve ever met a freelancer who didn’t have some idea for the next Google to serve the masses or some dream of making it big in their own niche. As far as knowing freelancers who even attempted to realize their dreams: well, the list dwindles from there. Those who do end up following through on their dreams aren’t any different from the rest of us and get this… many fail in their attempts.

It’s the I-can’t-get-this-idea-out-of-my-head mentality, though, that creates the compulsion to act on it regardless of whether success or failure lies on the other end. Sooner or later you are bond to come up a winner, at least in my belief. That is if you really believe it also.

So what’s your obsession?

It is my firm belief that a successful freelance career requires some sort of obessive-compulsive behavior that drives us to succeed. While one could argue that it is our passion that fuels us (and that would be correct too), our behaviors can also directly affect our careers and our knack for being obsessive can actually drive us to success without even thinking about it.

Do you have an obsessive-compulsive tendency that helps you in your career? Or do you feel this all complete BS? Feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll be more than happy to respond.

More on the author, Johnny Spence
Johnny is the founder of The Freelance Rant and a freelance web programmer with 8 years in the business. Have a visit at his company Oscarrr!web or see what he's up to on Twitter.

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