Creatives Want to be Obsessed

Creatives Want to be Obsessed

Scott Burnham

If you knew you had to be completely exhausted every day for the next 10 years doing one thing of your choosing, what would you choose to do?

This has become a very important question I’ve been trying to address, and here’s why:


Have you ever gone to a theme park? Of course you have, who hasn’t. You spend all week planning it out, what rides you’re going to go on, in a specific order, when you’re going to have lunch, how long the lines might be, etc. You get there at 9am filled with anxiety and excitement and to no surprise, you have a blast! Go on all your favorite rides, but the red one was down for maintenance in the afternoon so you had to shift your whole schedule around and go on the old blue one first, but eventually you made it to the red one and it was well worth the wait! By the end of the day you’re completely exhausted, your feet hurt, you have a headache and a sunburn, but you don’t mind because you had such a good time and you can’t wait to do it all over again. Isn’t that just a fantastic story you with you could live every single day, rather than going to work?

I think this is what a career should be like. I should be excited to go to work, do everything I possibly can in a given time frame, and go home exhausted and winded, but oh so excited to do it all over again the very next day, so much so that I actually enjoy thinking about my work! Whereas now, I avoid thinking about it because it’s just not that interesting and I’d rather be home on my own computer, or kayaking, or running, or … a lot of other things. I think that as a creative and intrinsically motivated person, I want to come home everyday wiped out from how much I enjoy the work I do. 

I hated when I was in school and people asked, “What do you want to do after you graduate?” What a horrible way to stress a kid out! They might as well have said, “You just spent more money than you’ll ever see on your education. How are you going to make it worth it?” And now that I’m out of school and people ask, “How’s the job?” and I reply, “It’s alright” the net obvious question is, “Well what would you rather be doing?” which is just as bad as the other question, but, a good one to address; one that a lot of people address. At least 90% of my own friends have talked about this question and most of them have either a couple valid answers, a couple unrealistic answers, or no answer. 

So rather than asking, “What would you like to be doing?” to me it makes more sense and is more impactful when worded as I said before - If you knew you had to be completely exhausted every day for the next 10 years doing one thing of your choosing, what would you choose to do?

Really, it’s the things I do currently to be un-exhausted and stressed. Which makes sense. Gardeners want to spend all their time in the garden. Painters want to spend all their time painting. Meat heads want to spend all their time at the bench press. It’s the things that let us escape the dull normalities of our everyday demands that we wish we could be doing all the time, but only because we can’t do them all the time. It’s that kind of grass-is-greener dilemma. 

So to find the one thing in life that you know you could endlessly, restlessly, obsess over for 10 years and never get sick of it is an amazing feat in my opinion and I goal I strive to meet. 

It seems, again, in my opinion, that this is a quality of creative people. Creatives want to be obsessed with what they do. They want to see a problem or challenge and think about it, non-stop, question it, poke at it, try to fix it, get close only to decide none of what they’ve done is the best answer (because in the creative world, there’s always more than one answer, some are just better than others) and start over all excited to finally get it, tweak it, let it simmer, go take a nap, grab some coffee, sit down again and say “Why didn’t I think of this before?” and produce something amazing! ..But then wonder if they should have done it the other way but there’s no time to dwell because there are more challenges to be solved! What an exciting process, right? Creatives want to be obsessed. It’s just a matter of finding what it is they want to be obsessed with. And by “they” I really mean myself, but hey if you find any of this to be relatable in any way, I would advise you to get inspired and passionate in your own way and any of the ways I find to be amusing. Do your research, find like-minded people, learn all you can, and set your goals.


Unsplash for Chrome - this is a really instantaneous and short-lived source of inspiration and eye candy in the middle of my work day. Just great pictures of nature that remind you how big the world is.



Inhabitat - a website for anyone interested in design, tech, architecture, and energy. It showcases the latest and greatest trends and really sums up how awesome the future is looking.



Abduzeedo - a weird name that’s hard to spell, so bookmark it. For any kind of creative, designer, or Jane Doe looking to kill time during her lunch break.


Fipboard - a personalized collection of relevant, real new articles catered to your specific interests and hot topics. It’s one of my favorite ways to get myself up to speed on things happening in the world besides Donald Trump’s tweets. 


And this Instagram account, because this artist is amazing and makes super pretty paintings.


The image on this post is one of my favorite art installations of all time by Scott Burnham, made of 350,000 coins.

Thanks for reading.

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