Don’t Let Anyone Tell You What You Can — or Can’t — Do

“I’d love to be in the communications business,” Sarah, an accountant, told me. “But I’m an introvert. Plus, I’m boring. So I studied accounting in college. And though I’m doing something I’m good at, I hate my job.”

“Who beat this girl up?” I wondered. “Where did she get the idea that you have to be an extrovert and interesting to be successful at communications?”

Most of the successful writers I know are introverts. And some of the most popular public speakers I know (you know them too) are just plain boring when you sit down and talk to them.

I blame those stupid personality tests given by guidance counselors for Sarah’s self-imposed limitations. The idea that you will be happier and more successful if you know “who you are” is bunk. It’s just pure bunk.

You can become good at anything that appeals to you. It doesn’t matter what your “personality” is right now. That will change over time with the confidence you will get from learning and growing and acquiring skills.

Study the field you want to go into and figure out what it is that successful people in that field do. Break down each thing they do into its component parts, and practice each part till you get good at it. If you put in 1,000 hours of work (less if you have good coaching), you will be on your way to success in any career — even if the “experts” tell you that you have zero talent for it.

“I have been a devoted reader of ETR for about five years.

“Thanks to ETR and AWAI’s Six-Figure Copywriting Program, I am becoming a part-time copywriter with a very defined niche.

“The ideas and philosophy behind your new ETR seem to have more ‘oomph.’ It is more informative than the original version. While I might have glanced at the original ETR, I now find myself much more focused on the new formula — as in word for word. I have eliminated the other e-zines I was getting, as yours is the best.

“ETR & AWAI have helped me more than I can express. This new ETR is the gold standard on which I judge everything else.”

Tom Hackim
Maitland, FL

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]