Follow the Clues

Adrian S. Potter
4 min readAug 29, 2021

Success and failures are paths - not destinations.

Photo by Frans Van Heerden from Pexels

The Secondhand Inspiration Project begins with a motivational quote and ventures wherever the creative path meanders.

“Long ago, I realized that success leaves clues and that people who produce outstanding results do specific things to create those results. I believed that if I precisely duplicated the actions of others, I could reproduce the same quality of results that they had.” — Tony Robbins

I used to believe success was a destination.

I planned on making the epic odyssey to get there, despite the hordes of haters and their relentless reminders of my atrophied potential and crappy luck. Once I arrived, I would scope out a prime plot of real estate at Club Successful, quickly set up camp, and never give up any ground or get evicted.

But now, I’ve lived enough to understand success is not a location. Failure isn’t, either. If they were, we would lose an entire lifetime getting shuffled between their two properties like a child caught in a custody battle.

Success and failure are more like paths.

You can spend your life walking on one or the other, or you can hop back and forth on both trails randomly. That is what most people do, cluelessly wondering why they are going in circles. I’ve done it, too.

When you go hiking, the people who trailblazed before you leave hints along the way.

Part of it is they want to have a figurative breadcrumb trail in case they get lost and need to double back. But they are also leaving guidance for those who might follow — a stack of rocks near a cliff, a notch on a tree to confirm the route, or a paint mark to explain which way to go when the path forks.

Success leaves clues, just like these milestones. The wild thing is these cues aren’t camouflaged or concealed. You just need to be mindful enough to notice them.

Those who succeeded before you did so because they followed a plan. You can do the same thing — or better yet, use the main ingredients of their recipe and then add your spices to it.



Adrian S. Potter

Antisocial Extrovert · Writer and Poet, Engineer, Consultant, Public Speaker · Writing about self-improvement, gratitude, and creativity ·