The One Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results
By Gary Keller
If you’ve read (and liked) books like Essentialism, then you’ll love this book and its message on narrowing your focus. If 80/20 appeals to you then this book takes it even further than that!
I love the “lies between you and success” that the book covers, in particular “multitasking” and it being an absolute myth.
Interestingly the author points out that the word multitasking came from computer terms – and it meant multiple tasks sharing one resource (the CPU) it was never meant to apply to humans! I know myself that whenever I try and go through the day trying to flick between emails and reports and everything else that I end up getting nothing done by the end of the day!
The author also makes the point (through a quote from the Australian Prime Minister) that “the things which are most important don’t always scream the loudest.” I completely agree and in my team at work we always try and work to these two questions – 1. what’s urgent? 2. What’s important? You’ll find that these two things seldom match up.
I also like how it also offers practical tips on how to go about leading a life of focus – rather than just the benefits of doing it. The authors answer to this is to embrace the idea of using a “focusing question” in your life. This will help you find your one starting point, your one thing to focus on.
The question is this:
The Focusing Question collapses all possible questions into one: “What’s the ONE Thing I can do / such that by doing it / everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
It’s useful to note here that the author talks about finding your one thing in different areas (rather than one thing for your entire life). For example you might have a one thing in the areas of money, health, relationships, happiness, work and so on. Again I love this approach, more so than other books which seem to hint that you need to have one huge all consuming passion in life.
Advice from The One Thing
(all quotes directly from the book)
“One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean sh*t.”
“Where I’d had huge success, I had narrowed my concentration to one thing, and where my success varied, my focus had too. And the light came on.”
“Highly successful people know this. So every day they line up their priorities anew, find the lead domino, and whack away at it until it falls.”
“I want you to take Pareto’s Principle to an extreme. I want you to go small by identifying the 20 percent, and then I want you to go even smaller by finding the vital few of the vital few.”
“Don’t get trapped in the “check off” game. If we believe things don’t matter equally, we must act accordingly. We can’t fall prey to the notion that everything has to be done, that checking things off our list is what success is all about.”
“Researchers estimate that workers are interrupted every 11 minutes and then spend almost a third of their day recovering from these distractions.”
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.”
“How we phrase the questions we ask ourselves determines the answers that eventually become our life.”