4-benefits of OCD

Recently I did a seminar for a company here in Atlanta on the Art and Science of Building Habits. During the presentation, I talked about the first time I learned that there was a “condition”, that many people “suffer” with, called O.C.D. (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

I’ll never forget the first time I researched OCD years ago, only to determine that I think I have it. The more I read about it, the more convinced I became that I was a potential victim. If I were to lay out a scale from 1-10, with 10 being someone with the full disorder, I put myself at about a six.

A few years later the TV show “Monk” came out, of which I was a huge fan. Monk did a great job of showing the serious “disorder” side of OCD, which fits the classic dictionary definition that emphasizes anxiety – “characterized by thoughts, which produce anxiety, resulting in repetitive behaviors to reduce anxiety. With that said, Monk also showed the exceptional positive side of what only he could accomplish with OCD.

The more I thought about all that is written about OCD, the more I became convinced that virtually every high achiever that I knew had some form of it. I personally experienced this on my way to becoming a professional football player. Being a pro at anything requires that one be obsessed and compulsive about it. In fact, the more OC you were, the better your chances of beating out your competition. I saw this same pattern in those I knew in virtually any specialty; music, acting, art, special forces military, etc.

Here’s the fascinating thing about OCD to me. If you want to become really good at what you do, you’d better learn how to be obsessive and compulsive with all the details necessary to separate you from the pack. Your ridiculous obsession with perfection and your attention to every detail only become a problem when it produces depressive or crippling anxiety. Everything up to that part is what makes you that much better.

The Benefits of OCD

Proof of what I’m saying here is what medical professionals say about the “benefits” of having OCD. Yes, that’s correct, I said the benefits of the “disorder”. Here they are…

  1. Benefits the community

Many of the compulsions that people with obsessive-compulsive disorders do such as washing, hoarding, checking, counting, and the need to confess have a great benefit to the whole society. People with OCD are quite meticulous and thus they the capability of doing things that require high precision without failing.

  1. Detail-oriented, very organized, seldom missing a deadline or making errors

OCD sufferers are usually very organized, detailed oriented and careful. It is highly unlikely to find a person with OCD missing a deadline or making any errors. This is because the condition gives one an inclination to go over details several times ensuring that all the angles are well covered.

  1. Dependable

Another key benefit of OCD is that patients who have it are more dependable and reliable. This can be attributed to the fact that they value the predictability and certainty in life. As a result, they can make great partners or employees in a business setting.

  1. Extra determination

People with OCD have an extra determination to succeed in whatever activity they are doing. They can persevere at one task for a long time to produce the perfect results. In addition to that, they are the last people to break or bend the rules.

For emphasis, let me draw out from those four descriptions, a compilation of the positive things that prove my point…

meticulous, capable of doing things that require high precision without failing, detail-oriented, very organized, seldom missing a deadline or making errors, dependable and reliable, valuing predictability and certainty, extra determination to succeed

An Impressive List

I find that to be a very impressive list! And, every one of those things is required if you want to become the best at what you do.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way trying to downplay the seriousness off the disorder side of this condition. I have a close friend who is a very accomplished musician who suffers from OCD, having at times to take medication for it. All I’m saying is (and he would agree) that there is a very fine line sometimes between the good part of being obsessive and compulsive and the anxious producing disorder.

The antithesis – the contrast or opposition between two things – of the disorder is order. Another antonym is STABILITY. That’s the word, and the first letter I choose to use to describe my version of this condition OCS; Obsessive-Compulsive Stability.

Without it, I don’t think it’s possible to get very far with one of my favorite quotes – said often by Hank Stram, my head coach when I played with the New Orleans Saints – “Good better best, never ever rest, until the good is better, and the better is best.”

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