No matter if you're working for yourself or for others, you should always be contributing to the maintenance of your toolbox.
Not a literal toolbox, filled with wrenches and socket sets and screwdrivers and hammers and pliers and wire cutters . . . I mean the toolbox between your ears.
What are you filling your mind with?
If you're feeling like the economy is to blame for everything and Washington can't seem to find the right people to take up a post for two or four or six years (or for a lifetime, if you're talking about a Supreme Court justice), then I'd suggest quit watching the news.
If you want to be successful, follow the advice of those who are successful. I've read a lot of books on success, and it really all comes down to a simple formula:
Do something you're passionate about.
Do it with excellence.
Do it well enough over time, constantly excelling and learning, until you're past competent.
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, calls this the 10,000-hour rule. He describes the success of the Beatles and Bill Gates (and others) by specifying that once they did something that they were passionate about for roughly 10 years (or 10,000 hours), that they achieved a level of competence that soared them to the top of their game.
What was the last nonfiction book you've read that had an impact on you?
What are you filling your toolbox with?