If you want to be truly successful, you can’t spread your energy and intelligence too thin. You must devote your time and attention to a limited number of things. You must strive — as best you can — to live in the real world.
Studies show that happy people live in the here and now. They pay attention to the people around them rather than the people they read about or see on television. They deal with problems that confront them directly rather than those that exist — if they exist at all — somewhere else.
Successful people, as we’ve seen from countless examples, achieve the things they achieve by solving specific real problems and creating real products. When challenged by something highly unlikely or far in the future, they tend to reply, “Why don’t we handle that if and when it happens?”
Take a survey of your thinking. How much of it is devoted to events and situations (1) of which you have no personal knowledge or (2) over which you have no control? Compare that to the time you spend solving real problems and dealing with real people. Make sure the balance is heavily on the side of reality.[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.]