Eighty Percent of Success Is Showing Up

While editing and fact-checking my latest Master presentation, Cathy came across “90% of success is showing up”—and it didn’t ring true. She checked and corrected it to 80%. Our exchange encouraged me to go Googling. I immediately confirmed that I was wrong and she was right—no surprise—but also came across a lovely little essay at PersistenceUnlimited.com:

“80 percent of success is just showing up” —Woody Allen

“I often think about that quotation. It may sound easy to shrug off, but not if you look a little deeper. It doesn’t just mean show up for job interviews or to work for an 80% increase in success. Showing up also means … starting.

“For instance, did you show up at the gym today? Just showing up means you’re 80% of the way to a good workout. The hard part of fighting yourself to get dressed in workout gear, dealing with traffic and the worry about pain you might experience is over. Now all that is left is to just do the workout. Pretty simple, huh? Even a child could do it.

“Same thing with opportunity. It’s easier to make significant progress on a project if you simply show up to do it. Candidly, one of my hardest tasks of the day is ‘showing up’ for development Visual Studio. It seems simple enough … just double click on an icon. But if I think too much about the seemingly 10,000 things I have to do once I launch it, I am much more likely to ‘accidentally’ launch my web browser or fiddle with e-mail.

“But once I’m in there, the work is typically easy and fun. Some days I can knock out more tasks than I planned. And I feel like a success at the end of the day.

“You can be or do whatever you want just by showing up. If you want to be an author, show up to write your manuscript every day, show up to writing classes, show up to phone calls to editors. Doesn’t it make sense that someone who arrives at the door of opportunity has more success than someone just sitting at home?

“So increase your chances by 80%. Show Up!”


Tom Peters posted this on June 18, 2008, in Execution.
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