• Elias Zeekeh

Psychology of Winning - Addiction

An analysis of the psychology of winning and how addiction and obsession are closely related. Success leaves clues, and as such I take a look at four successful people in their areas of expertise Kobe Bryant, CT Fletcher, Warren Buffett, & Robert F. Smith.


Kobe Bryant - Obsession

CT Fletcher - I can , I will, I MUST

Warren Buffett - Documentary

Robert F. Smith - Be an expert at your craft


Hello, Welcome to the Elias Talks Money v-log where I talk all thing money and motivation. Today we're going to be talking about the psychology of winning and how addiction and obsession intertwine with that.

Normally addiction has a very negative connotation. As it's associated with a chemical dependency to a drug or substance even though it is causing either physical and or psychological harm. But thinking more generally people can be addicted to all kinds of things. Yes it could be drugs or alcohol, but it could be video games, television, YouTube, athletics, food, money, or more.

It's important to understand that your brain is like a giant drug dispensary and when you do something that provides positive reinforcement there is a release of feel good hormones that can reinforce a very wide variety of behaviors and lead to addiction.

Think of a professional athlete for example that's addicted to winning. That is obsessed to hear the roar of the crowd, the accolades, money, or just that internal satisfaction of dominating their competition. In search of these feelings or things dedicated athletes can spend countless hours training and working to become the best, and in some cases work so hard that it can actually cause them physical harm for the long term.

Basketball and soccer players with their knees , football players with the effects of post concussion syndrome, or lingering elbow problems with pitchers in baseball. Not to mention the sacrifice as far as family and friends, and just not being able to see them as often as they may want to. To be the very best in any field typically requires great sacrifices. When I say the very best I mean the top 1% of 1%.

In the comments is a video link of Kobe Bryant talking about his mindset. After watching it you will no doubt realize that he was completely and utterly addicted to winning unquestionably.

It's what drove him above and beyond to be the basketball player that he became. He had a fierce desire to destroy the competition, and in some instances he even cites rage and or revenge to be fuel for his obsession.

This is very evident in driving him to back to back championships in 2009-2010 after the losing to the Boston Celtics in the 2008 NBA finals. This loss further drove him to become a better player overall and teammate.

Not to get too far into sports but what I respect about him he fully maximized his potential and his god given talents. This is because he was indeed fast, athletic, and blessed with good height, but he didn't have these attributes in such overwhelming abundance compared to other basketball players.

Yes he was fast but he wasn't the fastest, yes he was athletic but he wasn't the most athletic, yes he was tall for his position of shooting guard but he wasn't the tallest.

There were many basketball players in my opinion that were even more blessed with physical gifts, but he just did a better job with the cards that he was dealt, and a large part of this was his commitment to being an expert in his field and then putting in the time.

Moving on to CT Fletcher he was a weight lifting champion and now motivational speaker he actually refers to weight lifting his "magnificent obsession". He talks about the fact very candidly that if you want to achieve greatness in any field you need to be addicted to it. He was so addicted to weight lifting that at one point he knew he had heart issues and he was told that he could no longer compete, and that if he went out try and lift 800 lbs in a competition he could actually die. He went out and did it anyway knowing the potential consequences that he could flat-line right there on the bench. His mentality was if I can't do what I was born to do then so be at least I did doing what I love to do. He was willing to die for his goals.

Do you feel so passionate about your goals that they drive you so hard that you are willing to actually die for them? Do you have a purpose that conjures up feelings so intense that you will go above and beyond and do anything on this earth to achieve that goal. Would you will literally run through brick wall if you need to get where you want to get. I'm not saying that you should be as intense as CT Fletcher to achieve anything, but there are degrees to everything and a certain level of passion and or obsession with your craft is 100% necessary to get to the top.

This idea of obsession that's talked about in sports is very applicable in business. Let's talk about Warren Buffet who is generally considered the greatest investor alive. Warren Buffet who is 89+ years old is the longest serving CEO of any fortune 500 company still and has worked almost 25 years past the average age that most people retire.

Do you think he could have been so successful without being addicted to investing and doing the research associated with it? He has often talked about the long hours he spends tucked away reading and researching, and this was part of the issue which led to the separation with his former spouse Susan Buffet.

In an interview she talks about how he would be there, with her but not really as he is a very cerebral person. He was in his own world. They married in 1952, but actually began living separately in 1977 until her death in 2004. This was discussed on the Warren Buffet documentary for which I've also provided a link below.

He is someone who is obviously very smart, and has specialized in his area of expertise. Susan tells a very funny story when they used to live together in that documentary which really humanizes Warren Buffet.

She was sick in bed one night and asked Warren if he can get something because she might throw up, so Warren says okay and goes downstairs and is banging around in the kitchen and comes back up with a pasta strainer. And she's like honey it has holes in it, so he's like oh yeah. So he goes back down starts banging around again and comes back up with the pasta trainer resting on a flat tray? I guess he couldn't find a plastic bag or a pot?

Obviously, he has a certain talents that don't fully translate into all areas of his life. Most people aren't blessed with everything. He has very focused talents which he has cultivated over a number of years with hard work.

The last person I wanted to talk about is Robert F. Smith founder and CEO of Vista Partners a Private Equity firm he started in the early 2000s and he talks about the idea of PERFECTING YOUR CRAFT as vital to success. You have to essentially become an expert in what you choose to do is what he promotes.

And I'll add whether it's investment banking or anything else it takes a heck of a lot of time to become a specialist, and you need to ensure that whatever you're doing you really love it enough, so you won't get tired or perhaps discouraged along the way, before you've put in the time to become an expert, and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

There is the 10,000 hour rule that people talk about it, but that is just a saying in my opinion to reach mastery. It probably depends on the complexity of the task your engaged in.

Part of his mentality of expertise is reflected in the fact that instead of making a private equity firm that focused on a wide range of industries he focused specifically on enterprise software and become the expert of that specific slice of the private equity world.

While working at Goldman Sachs he saw this as an area of great opportunity as this was an industry that was just get going in the late 90s early 2000s and he just jumped it.

This concentration allowed him to build his own competitive MOAT, and there is no greater MOAT than your individual talent, and or the collective talent of the people of your organization.

What I mean by MOAT is his sustainable competitive advantage in his industry. In 2015 Vista Equity Partners was named the world's best performing private equity firm based on performance over the past 10 years.

The special lesson from Robert Smith is that he not only was dedicated to becoming a specialist in his craft of private equity, but that he became a specialists of specialists by being focusing on enterprise software.

In conclusion, you don't get perfect or even close to perfect in anything of value without spending a heck of a lot of time doing it. If you can't do it dribbling a basketball a couple hours a week to become Michael Jordan it's not going to happen with stock investing, engineering, accounting, or any other field of expertise.

There is a saying that greatness leaves clues and I've given you several examples. Ultimately to make become great at anything it's going to require some degree of obsession or addiction, but it's up to you choose what your addiction is going to be.

In the words of CT Fletcher what is your magnificent obsession. You can be addicted to something rather unproductive like I mentioned like watching TV, shopping, or drugs, or really immerse yourself in something you can really get wrapped up in that provides you some sort of greater meaning in your life and to the world in general.

Furthermore, we can learn that from Robert F. Smith if you narrow down that passion more specific i.e. into a sub niche or specialization this can be very instrumental in your success.

That's all for today. Thanks for watching my video. If you enjoyed the video please hit the like button and subscribe to the Elias Talks Money YouTube Channel or follow the Elias Talks Money Facebook Page. Keep your feet on the ground and your head in the sky over and out!

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