Someone made a post on their site today: What is the difference in obsession and determination? Here are the thoughts it triggered for me...
No one is harder on me than me. I use it to my advantage by analyzing my motives, thoughts, and feelings. There's a line between abusing oneself in those regards and in being a disciplined person. When a person has made a fair analysis, he or she can determine the most appropriate responses.
No one is perfect. We all foul up from time to time, some of us more than others. It's important to take the time to think through the event, the thoughts the event triggered, and the feelings triggered by the thoughts. When those have been analyzed, it's easier to determine a more appropriate response for the future. The next step is embracing this new response by visualizing it. Visualization is used all over the place, and it's main purpose is to reinforce the successful completion of a goal.
Then you let it go.
Obsession is the easier habit to practice. It's not healthy, and it isn't worth the time and energy that it consumes. Obsession doesn't think through events, thoughts, and feelings. Rather, it jumps around from one part to another, jumbling bits and pieces of the events, thoughts, and feelings around in the mind. It's unorganized and rarely comes to a positive conclusion. Due to the lack of organized thought, it consumes more time than determination.
Obsession also consumes more energy. This is due in part to the extended time spent thinking about the matter. The other reason it consumes more energy is that a person will relive the event, rethink the thoughts, and "re-feel" the emotions because they have come to no conclusion on resolving the issue. Instead, they keep spinning their minds trying to come to some form of acceptance, responsibility, and resolution without success.
It also gives way to less rational thought as a result of the disorganized thought. It is easier to think more abusive thoughts in a state of obsession. A person who looks at their mistake and then repeatedly refers to themselves as "stupid" for having made the mistake ultimately sets themselves back because they're not thinking rationally. It opens the door to making the same mistake again and tears down confidence and esteem.
Then the cycle repeats.
In short, determination builds a better future; obsession dwells on the past.
As stated in other blogs, I generally write with my own benefit in mind. I write it and then read it as encouragement to myself, and if anyone else benefits along the way...that's just a bonus.