Success Looks Like…

We are enamored by those that go fast, drive hard, and furiously “hustle” toward their dreams – we find their action inspiring, their energy motivating, and their passion intoxicating. As a result we naively believe that they’ve got the formula for success; that they are doing it “right.”

Somehow, many years ago, I got mixed up in this paradigm and believed it to be the right one. After significant burnout I shifted gears a tad and started working more moderately, more reasonably.

I did this for a time but it didn’t last long and so I then began to believe that the relationship between success and speed is variable – in other words, there are “seasons” where you drive the Ferrari and other days when you drive an ’86 Chevy Celebrity. This was an understandable model and I was able to justify the times of speed and slowness as such.

This was my first car except mine was in worse shape than this one...

But I realized over time that the game of fast and slow was remarkably unpredictable and there wasn’t a real formula, especially after having talked and engaged with many “successful” individuals in a variety of different industries and backgrounds.

There is no model relationship between success and speed. Some make it fast, some make it slow, some don’t really have a clue whether it was either and some have shared that it’s all the same in the end (or at the same time).

The point was best summed up by one of my mentors who said this:

Who cares. tweet

Amen and amen. How wise.

Our goal is not to do this hastily nor is it do things slow. It is to discover our unique passions, marry them with our unique blend of skills and talents, and execute well and wisely while getting a ton of help and counsel in the process. The rest, they say, will be history. But if you chase a model of speed and success you’re probably not getting anywhere.

You might just be going in circles.

  • Jonny Solari

    I get very frustrated at how slowly things movie sometime, i think to succeed i need to learn to have patience.

    • John Saddington

      you and me both!

  • Brad Kinder

    Good post! I like that you used an 86 Celebrity to make your point. That made me smile (I didn’t own one, but I can imagine the experience).

    • John Saddington

      i miss that car actually. it was a tank.

  • Lincoln Parks

    The 86 celebrity brought back horrible memories of me working summers on my Dad’s Construction site back in the Bahamas. The “Lunch Lady” drove one of those and served food out the back, it was horrible, because we were in the middle of nowhere and had to eat horrible food from the back of an 86 Celebrity. Wow, I never want to see that vehicle ever again in life!

    Great post however, it leads me to my journal to take notes.

    • John Saddington

      #LOL. …. really? that car was dope!!!!

  • Daniel Lim

    I agree with many of your sentiments John. Many a time, we find ourselves chasing something that appears to be right before our eyes, well within our reach. However, things never ever turn out that way.

    We often find ourselves having to take a slight right, an about turn, followed by a left, maybe a detour, and sometimes going back to our startpoint to try the route again, before we get that small chance of success.

    Point is, what matters is not how or how fast we get there, but how quickly we learn to adapt and not repeat the same mistakes again. It is then, that we learn the most, and progress towards success.

    Just my two cents.


    • John Saddington

      i apparently suck at this daniel…! i make the same mistakes over and over again. … … eh.

  • Jud Mackrill

    Ha! My first car was the 86 Chevy Celebrity Wagon.

    • John Saddington

      dang son!

  • Kari Scare

    In my past life in a “real job,” my focus was definitely on success in the eyes of my peers and the pace was definitely fast. As a result, I fell to burnout and overload. My body and mind just gave out. The road back has been long and hard, and I’m not quite there yet. But I’m close. Now that I have truly discovered my true calling and am using my skills and talents to live in that calling, I am finding peace, hope and happiness like I’ve never known. I am working (and asking) for more help and counsel (something I failed to do in my “real job”), and I know this will only add to the momentum that is just starting for me.

    • John Saddington

      how did you discover this true calling?

  • Jonathan Thompson

    This reminds me of the old story of The Tortoise and The Hare.

    Hare = Rabbit, bunny, and even on rare occasions a jackalope :)

    The tortoise, as slow as he was, eventually won the race.

    Not only did he win the race, but he got to see and enjoy all the things along the way.

    Success is like eating at a fine restaurant.

    Two people sit down to eat two expensive meals.

    One gulps his food down so fast you wonder if he tasted anything.
    The other takes a bite and allows it to sit on his tongue a while analyzing the delicious ingredients the head chef chose to use.

    The beneficial role of the food was the same for both once the food got past the tongue, but the enjoyment was quite a different story for the one who used his tongue.

    With success we should take time to enjoy each moment of sweet victory.

    I believe that is what you guys were doing here:

    • John Saddington

      we enjoy sweets and like to get fat. ;)

  • Chase Christy


    I stumbled on your site as I was looking for steps to take to make a living blogging. I loved your stuff. Then I read that you are an outspoken Christian…totally stoked, man.

    Thanks for what you do. As a new blogger, I’ve already found your advice invaluable!

    • John Saddington


      awesome! thanks for joining the community!

  • Ivan Chan

    “Who cares” – love it!

    Thanks for a great post, John. It’s refreshing to hear someone advocating for people to follow their passions. We all ought to do our best, and let life take care of the rest!

    • John Saddington

      sure thing ivan!