Ever hung out with a true maniacal genius of an entrepreneur?
I’m talking about the type of person who seems to have an inhuman ability to focus.
They have shitty work/life balance. They’ve never heard of lifestyle design. They sometimes forget to eat while working. They’re so weird, they tend to alienate everyone around them.
And yet, they’ve attained incredible levels of success. Something about their almost-Asperger level of weirdness has made this person into a home-run-hitting machine.
If you’re honest, meeting a person like this makes you think: “If this is what it takes to be successful…. I’m not sure I’ve got what it takes.”
And that’s a real concern, because you know you’re fundamentally different.
You value balance. You’re good at relationships. If you work like crazy on your business, you get a little burnt out and have to take a break. You want success, but you want freedom and fun too.
And yet, you’re frustrated that your business isn’t more successful. You often feel like you’re spinning your wheels without really moving forward.
Are you nodding? If so, you need to embody some of the qualities of the Type-A manically focused entrepreneurs who do nothing but win. The good news is, it’s a learnable skill you can switch on and off as needed.
Here’s how to do it:
Think of life (and especially work) as a series of sprints
The first key to maniacal focus is a fundamental shift in the way you look at your life, your work and your calendar.
A lot of entrepreneurs who value “balance” tend to get caught up in a microscopic struggle where each day of life is a quest to optimize between work, health, friends, family and whatever else is on your priority list. You’ll split up the hours in a day between these competing priorities in an effort to try to do it all.
The maniacal type-A entrepreneur sees life from a totally different, eagle-eyed perspective. They look at months or even YEARS as the chunks of time to be balanced.
They’ll commit to a three month maniacal sprint on a new product idea, grinding it out and burning the midnight oil.
In that time, the type A entrepreneur will drop off the map socially and lose touch with friends. They’ll neglect their health and family. Life will appear – day to day – to be utterly unsustainable.
Then, the type-A entrepreneur will emerge from this sprint with something of real value. Their new startup will get funded, or their product will start pulling in passive income or whatever. They’ll have won.
They’ll come back to the world and start hanging out with friends and family – or exercising – with the same maniacal focus. They’ll make up for all the neglect.
This cycle will weird people out. It’ll strain friendships. It’s probably not good for the entrepreneur’s health. However, it builds phenomenal businesses and skyrockets these people into the highest levels of success.
I’ve seen entrepreneurs sacrifice everything in their life for sprints that last YEARS… but those sprints create businesses worth hundreds of millions of dollars or more. Would you be willing to singularly focus for months to get to seven figures?
These maniacal geniuses know what’s up. They are playing the long-term game. They know they’re setting themselves up for retirement by 30 or 40. They know they’ll enjoy years of nothing but maniacal wind surfing or whatever.
Rather than looking at the perfectly balanced day, week or month… truly maniacal type-A entrepreneurs are balancing their lives over decades. This gives them freedom to focus. And that’s what builds the world’s biggest, most successful businesses.
Be insanely competitive about everything
Ever wonder where these insane entrepreneurs get their never-ending mojo and focus?
It’s simple: They’re competitive to an almost sociopathic degree. This enables them to experience what you and I might call “hard work and struggle” as, basically, “play”.
There’s significant science behind this idea. Dr Stuart Brown has crunched research on Play from animal behaviorists, neuroscientists and psychologists and has shown that ultra successful people tend to perceive their work as playful, fun times. This gives them a serious advantage.
Valuing competitive play – specifically – is a remarkable mental hack that maniacal entrepreneurs use to get ahead.
The Type A maniacal entrepreneur measures life and business nonstop. They can’t play a game of beach volley ball without keeping score. Otherwise, what’s the point? How will anyone know who has won? How will anyone know if they’re IMPROVING?
This ceaseless measurement gets applied to business too, turning what others see as drudgery into a sort of video-game-esque challenge waiting to be won.
The inner child of Type A entrepreneurs gets consumed with micro challenges – like tweaking a landing page to improve conversion rate – and simply cannot leave them alone. It’s not a question of motivation, it’s obsession.
If you want to carried away by an obsession to win in business… you need to cultivate that mental muscle in all areas of your life. The trick is to simply become a super competitive person and compulsively measure EVERYTHING.
To get started, look for ways to compete with yourself and others in every day life. For most regular people, social competition is a feature of childhood that vanishes in adult life. We grow out of being competitive and try not to find ways to crush our friends in sports, games or conversations.
However, it’s precisely this drive to be a winner in all things that pushes entrepreneurs into a state of maniacal focus in their businesses.
You have to play to win. You have to keep score to know you’re winning. And business is the ultimate game.
Put these two principles together and you’ll live a life where you pursue precisely defined (measurable) business challenges in powerful, focused sprints.
You’ll definitely pay a price for doing this. The side effects of maniacal entrepreneurship to other areas of your life can be severe.
BUT by reserving some “sprints” for unwinding, connecting with friends and family and getting healthy… and perhaps creating a personal happiness index you can track and improve upon too… you can have maniacal success and a little bit of humanity too!