Success in the Land of Quickaholics

Whether you're building a business or a legacy as an artist, consider that the journey is a process. Don't lose heart.

Pharrell William

I loved what Pharrell Williams said this week. He was coaching a young artist who was lamenting about his current position on the Voice. And Pharrell just looked at the young man and said, "I've been doing this since I was 19 years old. I got my first hit song when I was 40.

Let that sink in for a minute. Listen three times, Reshi.

"I've been doing this since I was 19 years old. I got my first hit song when I was 40.

He worked for 21 years to get his big breakout hit. 

Are you hearing me yet? 

We live in a world of instant mashed potatoes, fast food, 24-hour groceries,  and all-night gas stations. Polaroid and digital cameras. Microwaves. We live in a world of snow machines, automated tellers, and 3D Printers. We live in a world where gratification is literally at our fingertips, whether it's getting easy credit right now to buy what we want TODAY (zero down) or zapping a new movie we want to see at the click of a button. You can read a new book within minutes of hearing about it, find the answer to virtually anything with a quick search, and if you're normal you expect service to be lightning fast. If it isn't, you'll tell the world instantly via Twitter. 

This environment has leached individual character. It's also leached our self-restraint and our civility. We collectively as a culture lack patience and perseverance. We lack grace towards ourselves and others. When we try to reach a goal, we're so tempted to give up too easily. We don't seek understanding. We don't even give ourselves respect, many times jumping to self-condemnation.

We're Quickaholics.

The truth is if what you're doing will help people, you're going to be tempted to give up.

The more your Work will help others, the more obstacles there will be in your path. I believe strongly that anything a human does that brings light into darkness has a shadow pushing against it. Author Steven Pressfield (The Legend of Bagger Vance) calls that the "Resistance." He wrote a book about it called the War of Art. I've experienced this on a huge scale. If you have too, then go get the book. 

The trap is to be a Quickaholic and to give up. 

Common Garbage Self-Talk That Stops You.

These are a few ideas that will occur to you when you're dealing with Resistance against the Work, whatever it is. 

  1. It's been done before; it's been said before; it's been sold before.
  2. It has to be perfect before I can ship it, send it, post it, whatever.
  3. This doesn't matter.
  4. I've failed (when you've taken a step and see no results) and need to quit.
  5. I can't overcome ___________________. (fill in the blank)

So let's discuss these, think them through. When these thoughts occur to you, the first thing to examine is, is the thought TRUE? 

You can't BS yourself; you'll know if you're lying. So be brutal in your assessment. 

I think most of the time, the "It's been done" thing is just something to dismiss. It might have been done, but they didn't do it your way. You're unique. What you are doing will speak to someone in a way that the other person didn't and couldn't reach. I'm a firm believer that if you have a desire to create, there's a reason for that. Yes, maybe you need to refine, polish, or vary your approach in how you do what you're setting out to do. Yes, you need to get feedback. But don't shoot yourself in the foot before you start. Do the Work, and then even if its been done, you're a different person because you did the work. And it might be a stepping stone to the next thing. 

It has to be perfect! Your inner dominatrix might be cracking a whip regarding the Work, but nothing is ever perfect. Finished is better than perfect. Finish it, then polish it, but set a time limit or revision limit, and then move on. Ship. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to work so that your work is quality, but stop stalling. You know when you are stalling. You do. Stop it.

This doesn't matter? Yes. It does. Next. 

I've Failed and need to quit. This one is the biggest bear to wrestle. Sometimes you need to just call it. However, that time has not come two weeks into your first ad campaign. Give it some time. Get wise counsel from others who have walked the path to help you understand if it's time. And be honest with yourself about whether or not you're being a Quickaholic. Err on the side of fighting for your Work. 


I can't overcome ____________________. Hire help. Get a pro to help you with whatever it is. Talk to mentors. Go on a forum. Do research. Ask the universe for wisdom. Look for the windows to open if a door slams on you. Take a class. Do a tutorial. Yes, you can overcome. Don't be like Cameron. (see movie clip)

Many times the Roadblock to Success is just a Learning Curve. 

If you haven't put in 10,000 hours in on your endeavor, you're still learning. When you're first learning, there's a gap between mental knowledge and execution. Bluntly, you need to increase your skill. The period for you to learn and grow in your needed skills will be painful and many people quit rather than pushing through that pain. Quickaholism can strike here too. If you stick with it, you have no idea what you can achieve. But if you quit, you will achieve nothing. 

I believe that Quickaholism leads to mediocrity, unflushed toilets, weight gain, the national debt, and bad breath. It causes road rage and couch potatoes. It makes perfectly capable people into miserable, fearful wretches who won't step out to take risks. 

Remember Mr. Miyagi. 


In problem-solving, many times you already have the experience you need to overcome your obstacle. You're just not seeing how to apply it to the context of your current circumstance. Look for ways in which your total previous experience can lend you insight into solutions. By total previous experience, I mean for you to look at past issues you had. Maybe you were part of a sports team or had previous unrelated employment. Mine your experience for your solutions. Many times we have already been given the answers or training we need, we just need to reframe our current skills and resources. Wax on; wax off. 

Don't let this be you. Kill your inner Quickaholic.

Speak your truth even when your voice is shaking, and do the Work. It matters; you matter. And while your success may not be instant, that's okay. Don't look at others and make assumptions. Keep taking the steps on your journey, and trust that you will reach the place where you are meant to be.  


About the Author

Anne Miles is the owner and Toad-in-Chief at Red Toad Media. A trained graphic designer, Anne has been a speaker at WordCamp and the IRCE Digital Design Conference. She has been interviewed by Inc Magazine and the Wall Street Journal and published a contribution for Smashing Magazine, one of the top web design blogs in the world. You can follow her on Twitter at @redtoadmedia

Comments (3)

  1. Jo:
    May 08, 2016 at 06:04 PM

    That's it. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Smithf601:
    May 20, 2016 at 09:13 AM

    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't show up. Grrrr well I'm not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say superb blog! akkgbfgdbcegbebc

  3. Anne Miles:
    Jun 10, 2016 at 06:38 PM

    Sorry about that, our comments are moderated so I do have to approve them before they show.

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