Results are a by-product

Seth Godin
2 min readFeb 16, 2021
It’s more like curling than driving

In industrial work, the only work worth doing is work that works.

That’s one reason why we use the same four-letter word in so many different ways.

Put in the effort, get the results.

And if you don’t get the results, you failed. Not only that, you are a failure.

But creative work is so different that perhaps it should be called creative effort instead.

Creative effort comes with no guarantee. You’re on the frontier, imagining, inventing and dancing with what is possible. That’s the hard part.

It belies our effort if we insist that it’s the same as the sort of work that can be the subject of a time and motion study.

Yes, it has a purpose. Yes, there’s a difference between effective and ineffective effort. And yes, we need to do the reading, understand the genre and hone our skills.

But no, you can’t control the outcome. The product of our effort will either resonate or it won’t. It will either strike a chord or it will fade away. And we can’t know until we ship our art.

That’s part of the deal.

To be aware of the outcome we seek, but not to be trapped into trying to control the outcome.

All we can control is our approach and our effort. The outcomes belong to those we seek to serve. We can learn as we go, but all the time and emotion we spend seeking to control those that encounter our creation is wasted.



Seth Godin

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