Obsession: A key ingredient in the recipe for “Success”

In a fast paced world where everyone is continually seduced by instant gratification and “more for less” messages, it’s easy to see why many don’t enjoy real and lasting success. 

My life has been a marvellous journey and along the way I have collected recipes of the things that have worked. Some of the ingredients in these recipes for success are optional and others, such as a written goal, are absolutely non negotiable.

Success is an “attitude food” and by acknowledging even our smallest successes we feed our belief, desire and will.  At some point we then become capable of living within our success and this nourishes our life and those around us.

My recipe for success recognizes that ingredients and measures will change to suit your unique style, however it absolutely requires you to start with a clear and definitive written goal and for you to be committed.

I have enjoyed many successes as the main character in my own life’s story. Without exception the bigger the goal, the greater the sense of success and feeling of invigoration and empowerment I experienced.

Looking at this analytically it seems to me, that the big fat audacious goals come with an appropriately large number of big fat difficulties and challenges. Each time one of these hurdles is overcome there is an experience of success, which feeds self-belief. Knock backs, failures and challenges are part of every successful journey, as is the decision to try again, which all help by contributing to our obsession to succeed.

The quicker we are able to develop an obsession with our goal, the more likely we are to uncover what we need to do, how and by when, to achieve success.

Many years ago I tried to climb Mount Aspiring, New Zealand’s highest mountain, outside of the Mount Cook region. It is spectacularly located in Fiordland National Park and stands 3033m above sea level. I had been mountaineering for several years and had developed a desire to climb this beautiful mountain, so when asked by a friend I said yes. We planned our trip, travelled to Wanaka and set off to achieve our goal. Getting to the mountain itself included a helicopter flight and crossing a large and dangerous glacier at the base of the mountain. We then had to camp two days in a small alpine hut to wait for the bad weather to clear. In the small hours of the morning of day three we set off. Two thirds of the way through the climb I realized that I did not have the skill and conviction necessary to climb the mountain on that day and we turned back. Sadly, several unfortunate climbing experiences followed in the days ahead, which lead me to selling my gear and not to climb again. It was an emotional time but I now look back on this experience and realise that I didn’t succeed in my quest to climb Mount Aspiring. As you see in the “recipe for success” below, I failed because I quit and not because I wasn’t experienced enough or because I lost my nerve.

Recipe for Success


1 large                           Written audacious goal (WAG)

1 bottomless cup             Obsession-150% proof

1 bottomless cup             Humour

A bucket full of               Humility

100 measures                 Desire

100 measures                 Imagination           

100 measures                 Conviction

0 ability                         To quit         

Your entire                     Focus

as much as required        Patience

1000s small                   Adjustments

As much as required       Ability to block out all doubt


  1. Take the WAG and carve it up into small bite size pieces. These will be the tasks that need to be carried out to convert your goal into reality. If you can, put these tasks in a rough order of start to finish.
  2. Start immediately. DO NOT wait until you have all the ingredients. Many of the ingredients listed are like herbs, the more you use the faster they replenish themselves.
  3. Taste each bite size piece of WAG as you work with it, savor the challenge
  4. Take a generous slurp of celebration, every time you succeed and get one step closer to achieving your WAG.
  5.  Imagine the taste of the completed WAG in your mind, first thing in the morning and last thing at night-every day.
  6. Sprinkle patience and block out doubt. Chop out any seeds of negativity when they arise.
  7. At the beginning it maybe difficult to use humor, humility, focus, conviction, imagination and desire simultaneously but as you mix, trim and blend these ingredients you will create a magic ingredient, namely “your obsession”.
  8. Use a pinch of adjustment every day to get closer to the taste and feel you imagined your WAG would be like.
  9. Bring your obsession to the boil and simmer it for the duration of your project. It will form the flavor, the taste, the look, and the passion that brings your WAG to life.