Success Is Simple: Show Up By Victor Cheng
American movie director Woody Allen says, “80% of success is showing up.”
For most of my career, I thought this statement massively oversimplified the path to success. However through many life experiences, I think there’s a surprising amount of truth in the statement. The reality is that most people simply don’t show up for many things in life.
If you want to get better grades in school, show up at the library and study.
If you want a stronger body, show up at the gym and train.
If you want to get better at case interviews, show up and actually practice.
Showing up frequently and consistently solves so many problems in life. It really does.
I was reminded of this recently when I injured my shoulder. My physical therapist isolated the specific problem and said, “Do this one exercise every day 100 times. Do so, and in a month or two the pain will go away and you will prevent future injuries of the same type.” Then she fired me. “My work is done. The rest is up to you.”
So what did I do? I didn’t follow her advice (in the consulting business, we call this “a client’s failure to execute the strategy”). And guess what? My shoulder kept hurting. Then I decided that if I could not do the exercise 100 times each day, I’d do as much as I could. I did the exercise 30 times per WEEK. And here’s the thing, every two weeks or so, I noticed the exercise was getting a little easier. I just kept doing that exercise 30 times each week, week in and week out. It became automatic.
A few weeks ago, I noticed the pain was gone. I also noticed that I was no longer avoiding certain movements in my shoulder out of fear of reinjuring it. My shoulder felt stable, and my mind had already grown accustomed to confidently relying on it again. I wasn’t able to show up daily, and I didn’t get the successful outcome in a month. Instead, I showed up weekly, and I got a successful outcome in five months.
Much of success is simple. Show up. Do the work. Sometimes life really is that simple. By Victor Cheng