The Secret to Overnight Success

The Secret to Overnight Success

Overnight success is like living out Jack and the Giant Bean Stock.

One night you throw a couple magic beans in the ground and the next day you’re holding a goose that can’t help but poop golden nuggets.

What could be better?

My golden goose came by the way of an article I wrote called 21 Secrets for your 20s, which became an overnight hit having now been read nearly a million times in 190 countries and leading to my first book deal.

And I have the patented secret on how you can do the same.

You ready?

The Secret to Overnight Success

Here it is.

The Secret to Overnight Success: Work with such a passionate, tenacious consistency at something that you cannot NOT do that you lose all interest, anxiety, and desire of becoming an overnight success.

“It takes 20 years to become an overnight success.” Eddie Cantor

Overnight success is a seductive lie. (Tweet that)

Success doesn’t happen in a night, it happens in the thousand nights that no one will ever write a song about.

There are overnight sensations, sure. Take a crazy fall off a ledge while crushing grapes or have someone auto-tune your interview, and millions of people might come across you. Overnight phenomenon’s are an everyday thing now in the Land of the Internet.

However, just as a lottery winner ends up bankrupt in less than a year, an overnight sensation goes up quick and then falls back down at the same speed because there was no platform supporting it. An overnight sensation is like a shooting star – a brief blaze that quickly burns out.

“I worked half my life to be an overnight success, and still it took me by surprise.” – Jessica Savitch

The moment you’ll be ready for success is the exact moment you don’t care about being successful.  

The moment you’ll get your first piece of fan mail is when you stop checking the mailbox hoping to find it.

Musicians, actors, artists, writers, comedians, and entrepreneurs that we claim as an “overnight success” might have experienced some sort of tipping point moment, but they’ve been tirelessly and quietly building the base to sustain that “overnight success” their entire lives.

Successful people have been honing their craft, building their network, and pushing themselves way beyond the label of “successful”.

A true overnight success is someone who has carried bucket after bucket of water to fill up a well. People celebrate you the moment it all spills over, without realizing the 10,000 buckets you carried to make it happen.

As I wrote in “Your Twenties Not Going as Planned? You’re in Famous Company,” actor Morgan Freeman became an overnight success after movies like Driving Miss Daisy and Glory, well except he was nearly fifty years old and had played in countless acting roles since he was nine-years-old.

Abraham Lincoln came out of nowhere to lead the nation, well except he spent his entire twenties being defeated for political positions with striking regularity as he continued to grow as a lawyer, thinker, writer, and speaker.

I started writing my first book on a motel room floor at 22 years old.

Then at the age of 30, after a trunk-full of “no’s, not a good fit, and try again in six months“, I saw my first book released.

It took me eight years to find overnight success.

Those eight years are strewn with hundreds of memories of running full speed, thinking I could see the finish line, thinking I’d finally made it, only to run head first into a brick wall, knocking me unconscious. Every time, it took me months and a few stiff drinks to stand back up.

I compiled 21 Secrets for your 20s on a Sunday afternoon. It took my entire twenties to learn how and what to write.

A true overnight success has simply mastered the art of staying in the game, no matter how lopsided the score.

An overnight success has stayed present so that success can be a possibility, but a long time ago success stopped being the whole point.

An overnight success learned to do good work even when there was no one there to affirm it.

The greatest people who do the greatest things don’t care one lick about being called great. (Tweet that)

Will you have the perseverance and passion to become an overnight success?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below or by clicking on the article title if you’re reading this in your email:

What is something that you cannot NOT do that you are striving to make an “overnight success”?


  1. MJ

    I’m always commenting on posts I want to share with my Future Marriage University community, but this one was for me. Thanks for the encouragement, Paul.

  2. old guy

    I love this article. I’m an old guy and got your book for my son. I read it before I gave it to him – great job! Keep up the good work. I really am an old guy and I can vouch for the truth spoken in this blog and in your book.

  3. Amanda from QLFB

    Overnight success is a myth. Sadly, it is too often celebrated by the media. Too many teenagers and 20-somethings really think overnight success is possible as a result. This only leads to disappointment.

  4. Mohammad

    Always been thinking about this, you’ve it up nicely with great examples and quotes!! Hats off!

  5. brenda

    Saw this article you wrote via Deer Valley Ranch Josh F. and love love love it! Great writing and thoughts. I’m beginning the blogging/writing process and this was a great reminder that the destination is never the destination but merely another step along the journey! Thanks!! Blessings to you!

    • admin

      Thanks Brenda! Great hearing from you. Always great running across a friend from Deer Valley. Congrats on starting down this writing journey.

  6. Chris

    So after having worked on my thesis now for 3 years and two fails, I am having a hard time training myself to be a more effective writer. I have been granted the opportunity to design my own project, but I have no clue how I should the actual project, never a good thing halfway through the semester. I am just curious how you figured out your absolute passion. I can not think of anything that I couldn’t live without. There are many things that I would be sad to not be able to do but in general my “passions” come and go. Any suggestions?
    -Struggling Writer

  7. Dustin

    This is fantastic! – Actor in Los Angeles


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You’ve got questions.

We’ve got your-


SurVival PAckAge

A free, super-stuffed care package of resources to help you get through your twenties (and thirties too).

Pre-order my new book "25 Lies Twentysomethings Need to Stop Believing", releasing March 2021!

25 signs its a quarter life crisis

Snag your Twenty-Something Survival Package

  • + "Get UnStuck" Video Series from Paul
  • + Two chapters from Paul's newest book "25 Lies Twentysomethings Need to Stop Believing"
  • + 10 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties instant download
  • + More! (Plus, it's all for free!)