Focus on the core, independent components

Suppose you have a challenge you need to address. See if you can identify the causality relationship from the root of the challenge to the goal. Represent it in the form of circles (variables) and directed arrows (relationships), similar to a Bayesian network. Identify the simplest, independent components that spawn a causality relationship to other dependent variables. Work on the simple ones to create a solid foundation. From a Bayesian network perspective, focus on the root, or a variable with no inbound unknowns. In other words, start as close as you can to the core where you have any control.

Also suppose that like me, you accept as an axiom the causality of solid physical health and nutrition to your success, focus, clear thinking, and overall well being. Then suppose that at some point you face difficulties in achieving your goals, face depression, struggle with relationships or become burdened with domestic disputes. Each of these components is in itself complex with many, often unidentified causes. Now ask yourself, being fully honest. Are you maintaining sufficient daily exercise? I don’t mean the medically recommended several 30-minute walks per week. I mean intensive exercise that builds endurance and strengthens your core, with focus on stretching, abdominals, squats, back - those areas that build the foundation for more advanced workouts, prevent joint injuries, and sustain a healthy heart.

Now, I’ve known successful people to neglect the above. But I have yet to meet individuals who complain to me of all manner of inequities they struggle with, of the difficulty in thinking clearly and creating opportunities, of the inability to make change, and yet who otherwise maintain a solid physical regiment. Likewise, I have yet to meet such individuals who maintain solid and effective nutrition. I will not even define what to consider solid and effective. There is enough information to the respect, and you probably know by intuition.

Focus on that foundation; not on what’s fair, what’s not, who said this, who said that, and why the prospects seem gloomy. The core elements are not sufficient in attaining success, but as close to necessary as I can conceive. At least I so believe.

And remember to take the same approach with any challenge you face. Focus on the simplest causes you can influence.