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Ignoring Your ‘Otaku’ is Ignoring Your True Self

The importance of listening to the obsessions that excite you

I was recently having lunch at a client’s office and overheard a conversation about football.

The two people didn’t just have a point of view that they were arguing; they had stats, examples, quotes, research. You name it.

They were experts.
Kings of their niche.
Masters of this particular recess of the sporting world.

It was a spectacular display of “otaku”.

I first came across the word “otaku” reading Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow”. The Japanese word is defined as “a young person who is obsessed with…particular aspects of popular culture to the detriment of their social skills.” It literally means “your house”. As in, the place your mind inhabits the most when it is rooted in interest in something.

I’m not suggesting that social skills were lacking with these two as they sparred. But I did find it really interesting that they had such a rich knowledge of their sports and yet they weren’t leveraging it in most of their waking hours. So I observed them from afar, across the afternoon.

What was tragic was that they then spent the next few hours clearly bored rigid with their jobs. Both had been there well over a year but hadn’t applied the same level of interest that they displayed with their hobbies only earlier that day.

Go explore your otaku. How could you share it? That’s you at your very best because it’s a topic or space that resonates most purely with you. Stifling it means stifling you.

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