80% of Success is Showing Up. 20% is Never Leaving

Posted on January 11, 2017


‘80% of success in life is just showing up.’

I like to remember that saying when setting resolutions for the new year. Success isn’t about hard work. It’s about showing up to parties you weren’t invited to.

The origins of the saying are uncertain. Some attribute the quote to Woody Allen, but others say it was coined by Dick Cavett who failed to show up for a magazine interview and Allen showed up in his place to claim credit.

The saying reminds me not to overthink the many, many steps towards success. Don’t set a goal to get everything perfect before you try. Set a goal to show up. Don’t set a goal to go to the gym and work out for two hours, five days a weeks. Set a goal to put on your gym shoes and get in the car. Don’t set a goal to kidnap a celebrity. Set a goal to show up to the first day of your local community college Ransom Note Writing course.


Success in life depends on giving yourself permission to write a terrible first draft. Finish that terrible first draft and maybe there’s a bit of something not absolutely terrible you can build on in a second draft. If you need any further inspiration, you should know the saying ‘80% of success in life is just showing up’ actually went through many different drafts before it was perfect.

80% of success in life is just showing up. 20% is never leaving. You’ll never take me alive!

78.43% of success in life is just showing up.

80% of showing up is life.

80% of life is just success.

80% of success in life is just showing up at your wealthy parents’ estate reading.

20% of success in life is calling in sick.

Showing up has an 80% success rate in terms of success, but a 100% success rate in terms of showing up.

20% of failure is showing up within 500 feet of your ex-girlfriend.

Four out of five times I show up to things and I’m glad I did.

80% of success in life is just showing up. The other 20% relies on successful people accidentally showing up to a place you’re already at.

I had five events on the calendar this week. Four were a lot of fun. But at the fifth, I was framed for murder.

Where is everybody? What? The meeting is over? I’m an hour late? Ugh, I seem to forget daylight savings one out of every five years.

80% of success in life is just showing up. (Margin of error plus or minus 79%)

20% of success depends on making plans, driving all the way there, but getting nervous in the parking lot and pacing back and forth while muttering to yourself, ‘What if they don’t like me? What if they laugh at my ideas?’ and you start to give yourself a pep talk, and a beautiful woman approaches and says, ‘I get nervous meeting new people too,’ and you start talking and realize you have a lot in common, like how much you both appreciate that she has a wealthy father, and you decide not to show up but instead get coffee across the street and you later get married and her dad gives you a job in his business empire that you find both financially and personally fulfilling.


Posted in: Advice, humor