Exploring Obsession with Adam Savage

December 22, 2008 Off By Chris Hinton

I’m an avid watcher of Mythbusters. I love the energy the guys put into testing, confirming, or busting the various myths put to them. I recently found this great video¬†of Adam Savage, one of the Mythbusters, talking about a subject very close to a geek’s heart: obsession. Watch it below and I’ll meet you back here once you’re done.

I love the line Adam comes up with at the end: “I have to admit that acheiving the end of this exercise was never the point of the exercise to begin with, was it?” It’s almost as if the pursuit of his obsessions is the goal, not just actually having his obsessions.
What do you think of that? Have a think about some of the stuff you are or have been obsessed with (if at all). It might be cars, paragliding, Apple stuff, mobile phones, collectable cards… who knows. But was there ever a point where you thought, “I’ve got enough of this now”, or did your obsession kind of negate the whole idea of an end-goal?
I remember I used to collect Star Trek Customizable Card Game cards (yes, I know) and I would buy several new packets per week just to see what I got. Even if I’d completed a section of the cards (e.g. got all the Romulan cards or something) I wouldn’t stop buying even though I always played as the Romulans. It didn’t matter! The thrill of opening up the packet and seeing what I’d got meant I’d be more than happy to get a load of doubles just so long as I could keep on collecting. It was weird. In the end I didn’t make a conscious decision to stop… I just sort of grew out of it.
I wonder if obsession is an all-consuming thing quite different from mere enthusiasm. Sure we can be enthusiastic about things but we can generally stop those any time we like without losing too much sleepIt’s not so easy to just drop one of your obsessions, though. They play on your mind and become part of who you are. You become known as “that” person… and in the end the goal isn’t the point: the journey is.
What are your thoughts on this? Is it true that obsession takes over to the point where there’s no end in sight? Or do you think differently? Tell us in the comments.