A Summary of The One Thing

For the past few weeks, I have been writing short summaries of some great books that can help the reader grasp the fundamental concepts within a few minutes. This not only helps a person who has not read that book but also presents reminders for those who already have. Today, I summarize the lessons from one of my most favourite books The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.

If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one

Be like a postage stamp – stick to one thing until you get there

When one thing, the right thing, is set in motion, it can topple many things

Every day highly successful people line up their priorities anew, find the lead domino, and whack away at it until it falls. This approach works because extraordinary success is sequential, not simultaneous. What starts out linear becomes geometric

Achievers always work from a clear sense of priority

80/20 principle can be narrowed down to doing 1 thing

1. Go small: Don’t focus on being busy, focus on being productive. Allow what matters most to drive your day

2. Go extreme: Once you’ve figured out what actually matters, keep asking what matters until there is only one thing left. That core activity goes at the top of your success list

3. Say no: Whether you say ‘later” or “never”, the point is to say “not now” to anything else you could do until your most important work is done

4. Don’t get trapped in the check off game: If we believe things don’t matter equally, we must act accordingly. Doing the most important thing is always the most important thing

Multitasking is merely the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time

Contrary to what most people believe, success is not a marathon of disciplined action. Achievement doesn’t require you to be a full-time disciplined person where your every action is trained and where control is the solution to every situation. Success is actually a short race – a sprint fueled by discipline just long enough for habit to kick and take over

Building success around full strength on-demand willpower proves unsuccessful. Willpower is not on will-call

As powerful as my motivation was, my willpower wasn’t just sitting around waiting for my call, ready at any moment to enforce my will on anything I wanted

Timing is the key issue in ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’

Think of willpower like the power bar on the cell phone. Every morning, we start out with a full charge. As the day goes on, every time we draw on it we’re using it up. So as the green bar shrinks, so does our resolve and when it eventually goes red, we’re done. Willpower has a limited battery life but can be recharged with some downtime. It’s a limited but renewable resource

When we don’t think of resolve as a resource that gets used up, when we fail to reserve it for the things that matter most, when we don’t replenish it when it’s low, we are probably setting ourselves up for the toughest possible path to success

How do you put your willpower to work? You think about it and pay attention to it. Make doing what matters mist a priority when willpower is its highest. Give it a time of the day it deserves

What taxes the willpower?
– Implementing new behaviors
– Filtering distractions
– Resisting temptation
– Suppressing emotion
– Restraining aggression
– Suppressing impulses
– Taking tests
– Trying to impress others
– Coping with fear
– Doing something you don’t enjoy
– Selecting long-term over short-term rewards

Don’t fight your willpower. Build your days around how it works and let it do its part to build your life. Willpower may not be on will-call but when you use it first on what matters most, you can always count on it

When you gamble with your time, you may be placing a bet you can’t cover. Even if you’re sure you can win, be careful that you can live with what you lose

To achieve extraordinary results, you must choose what matters most and give it all the time it demands. This requires getting extremely out of balance in relation to all other work issues

We are kept from our goal, not by obstacles but a clear path to a lesser goal

Thinking big is essential to extraordinary results. Success requires action, and action requires thought. But here’s the catch – the only actions that become springboard to succeeding big are those informed by big thinking to begin with. Make this connection, and the importance of how big you think begins to sink in

What you build today will either empower you or restrict you tomorrow

It will either serve as a platform for the next level of your success or as a box, trapping you where you are

Success comes down to this: being appropriate in the moments of your life

Put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket

That any wage I had asked of life
life would have willingly paid

Say the category first, then state the question, add a time frame, and by adding “such that ….
What’s the ONE thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier ir unnecessary?

Put up a sign at work that says, “Until my ONE Thing is done—–everything else is a distraction”

There is doable, then stretch and then possibility. Reach for the possibility

Purpose, priority and productivity are like 3 parts of an iceberg, with only productivity visible outside the water

Who we are and where we want to go determine what we do and what we accomplish

Visualizing the process — breaking the big goal down into steps needed to achieve it — helps engage the strategic thinking you need to plan forand achieve extraordinary results

Productive people get more done, achieve better results, and earn far more in their hours than the rest. They do so because they devote maximum time to their top priority, their One Thing. They time block their One Thing and then protect their time blocks with a vengeance

If disproportionate results come from one activity, then you must give that activity disproportionate time

Ordinary people work on clock time while extraordinary work on event time. My work is done when it’s done. Think about it. The dairy farmer doesn’t get to knock off at any certain time; he goes home when the cows have been milked. It’s the same for any position in any profession where results matter

The path of mastering something is the combination of not only doing the best you can do at it, but also doing it the best it can be done

There is magic in breaking down your most important domino day after day. All you have to do is avoid breaking the chain, one day a at a time, until you generate a powerful new habit in your life—the time blocking habit

We become masters of what is behind us and apprentices for what is ahead

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