People sometimes ask us how much we look at the competition. The answer: not much. We can’t control what they do. We can control what we do. So we focus on that.

Someone who responds to a constantly shifting landscape with a similar approach: Conan O’Brien. In “Building a Home in Late Night’s Shifting Sand,” he talks about why he doesn’t pay attention to the incessant chatter about time slots, competitors, etc.

“Maybe I’m a bumbling, Gomer Pyle fool who should be more concerned about this stuff, but I can’t control what’s going on around me,” Mr. O’Brien said. “And TV is changing so much, I don’t think anybody in television knows how it’s going to play out.

“A lot of that is up to me. If I do a good, funny, and fresh ‘Tonight Show’ every night at 11:35, it’s going to be successful, and it’s going to be irrelevant what everybody else is doing.”

That’s it. If you make something good and fresh, what everyone else is doing becomes unimportant.

The best part of this approach: It liberates you. You don’t have to obsess over others. You only worry about what you can control which helps keep you sane.

Here’s some Conan fun:

Update: Switched embed from Hulu to NBC clip. [thx Peter]