How obsession fuels world-class champions, the pitfalls of building an online audience, and how a judo Olympian conditions his mind for competition

Building Blocks: Actionable insights to build an Intentional Life

Hey everybody,

Here’s another batch of actionable insights to start your week off right, so you can be more intentional with how you live, work, and create.

Let’s get started.

Insight 1: Obsession is your strategic advantage

Lately, I’ve been studying “greatness” and what separates the top performers, across industries, from everyone else.

One of the benefits of training at an MMA gym is you get to hang out with world-class athletes and pick their brains.

So I sat down with a 3x national wrestling champion who recently started BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) and is planning to win the BJJ equivalent of the Olympics in a few years.

Here’s the interesting thing:

When he started wrestling, he was insecure, depressed, overweight, and poor—a prime target for bullies.

But he poured himself into wrestling and became one of the best in the country.

So what separates people like him from everyone else?

It’s not genetics, money, or intelligence.

It’s obsession

If you want to learn:

  • Why the 10,000 Hour Rule is a lie
  • Why world champions don’t practice to win
  • How Kobe Bryant went from scoring zero points all summer to become one of the greatest players in history
  • How obsession is your best advantage in life, business, & beyond

Check out my latest article:

The Mindset of Champions: How Obsession Separates the Best in the World From Everyone Else

Insight 2: Your vibe attracts your tribe

Last week, I talked with a tech founder who was struggling with how to deal with some of his competitors.

Their product wasn’t as good, but they had a larger platform thanks to some shady growth tactics.

His question was, should he stay quiet and let the truth come out organically—that his product was superior?

Or should he stir up drama, put his competitors on blast, and generate attention by leveraging outrage culture?

Here were some of my questions to him:

  • What reputation are you trying to build?
  • What kind of people do you want in your audience?
  • What are the consequences of staying quiet, creating drama, or finding a third option?

Here’s why…

Every founder, creator, and entrepreneur faces this reality:

The right audience can make or break your business.

In the race for attention, it’s tempting to sacrifice long-term consequence to get short-term results.

But this approach optimizes for vanity metrics, not valuable metrics.

Think of it like a radio broadcast:

Your message is the broadcast itself—the radio waves echoing out into the distance.

Your audience is the people who tune into that signal…

So if your message (brand narrative, marketing copy, or other content you put out) revolves around being dramatic, showboating, trash-talking, and stirring up controversy—the audience you’ll build will be full of people who want more drama and controversy.

If your product is trash reality tv, this is a great strategy.

If you’re trying to attract a network of thought leaders and industry experts, not so much…

Charles Miller, of Writing To Riches, recently published a great article on strategies to build the right audience.

In the article, he warns about the dangers of chasing vanity metrics and building an audience around drama or platitudes.

He walks you through why it’s better to focus on educating your audience, showing your personality, leveraging your unique insights on familiar topics, and showing the results your customers have gotten from your brand.

In essence, it’s critical to be intentional with your messaging and the audience that may rally around what you’re putting out.

A discerning audience of 1,000 True Fans is worth its weight in crypto. A low-quality audience of millions is worth its weight in Enron stock. (Share this on Twitter)

Insight 3: Mental conditioning wins championships

If you’re interested in long-form interviews on MMA, AI, and the edges of science and philosophy, Lex Fridman has a phenomenal podcast.

In this clip, Lex interviews Judo Olympian Travis Stevens on how he hired a sports psychologist to help him become mentally conditioned to achieve peak performance and win—long before his matches even started.

Question for the Week

What are the potential consequence—good or bad—of your current actions, and what can you do to achieve better results?

Insights in Action

One of the best ways to clarify your thinking is to write it out.

So if you want to develop your thinking on this question or start applying insights from today’s newsletter, send a tweet to @CoreyWilksPsyD with your thoughts and put #BuildingBlocks at the end so I can find it.

Not ready to “think in public” yet? No problem. You can also reply to this email if you want to share your thoughts with me.

Until next time,

Corey Wilks, Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Certified Professional Coach