I am obsessed with obsessives. These are the individuals – the artists, the craftspeople, the virtuosos, the performers who work so hard to make their artistry look like a breeze.

Jerry Seinfeld was one.

Another obsessive perfectionist and fiercely disciplined performer is Jerry Seinfeld. He goes through a extraordinary process to hone and perfect his material. “He will nurse a single joke for years, amending, abridging and reworking it incrementally, said Jonah Weiner in a 2012 New York Times profile.

You can also see his obsessive reworking of his material in his 2002 documentary, The Comedian.

“It’s similar to calligraphy or samurai,” Seinfeld told Weiner. “I want to make cricket cages. You know those Japanese cricket cages? Tiny, with the little doors? That’s it for me: solitude and precision, refining a tiny thing for the sake of it.”

But “the sake of it” is not an abstraction for Seinfeld. His job is to make people laugh – that’s his art, the cricket cage.

To achieve anything at a high level of accomplishment, we need to be laser focused and relentlessly determined to succeed.


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