Reassurance is futile

Seth Godin
2 min readNov 24, 2020

Because you’ll run out of it when you need it most

Everything is going to be exactly as it turns out

“Reassurance is futile” are the three trickiest words in my new book. That’s because we don’t want it to be true. Reassurance is warm, lovely and yes, reassuring. How can it be futile?

And how dare I act as though I want it to be futile?

Reassurance is the human act of telling someone else that everything is going to turn out fine. Exactly as they hoped. That your friend’s efforts will pay off and their dreams will be realized.

The phone rings and it’s Spike Lee — he loves your script, and he wants you to know your movie is going to be a hit. He’s certain of it.

How many more days before you need another call?

Because the future has an annoying habit of showing up, regularly. And it shows up in ways that we don’t expect.

If we get hooked on reassurance, we’ll make two significant mistakes:

  1. We’ll spend time and energy looking for reassurance instead of focusing on our work and those that we seek to serve. The trap is deciding that if it’s giving us solace and a warm feeling, then bring it on, even if it means losing sight of what we were trying to do in the first place.
  2. If we believe that the future can be controlled (which those that reassure us seek to do) then we’ll start focusing our work on the outcome, not on the best version of what we’re capable of. Worse, we’ll end up trying to make the reassurers happy instead of making something for our true audience.

The alternative is to embrace that feeling of uncertainty and to refuse to get hooked on reassurance. The future is on its way, our work will ship, and then we’ll see what happens. In the meantime, we’ll keep doing the best work we know how to do.

[This is the part of a series of posts about The Practice and our opportunity to do work that makes a difference. If you like, please use the comments to start a conversation about how you’re leaning into the work and choosing your skills. When have you cared enough to show up and learn something? For more about The Creative’s Workshop and other Akimbo communities, visit — now a B corp.]

Seth Godin

Founder of altMBA and Akimbo. Daily blogger, teacher, speaker, 20 bestsellers as well...