The ONE Thing

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by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan

People are using this simple, powerful concept to focus on what matters most in their personal and work lives. Companies are helping their employees be more productive with study groups, training, and coaching. Sales teams are boosting sales. Churches are conducting classes and recommending for their members.

By focusing their energy on one thing at a time people are living more rewarding lives by building their careers, strengthening their finances, losing weight and getting in shape, deepening their faith, and nurturing stronger marriages and personal relationships.

YOU WANT LESS. You want fewer distractions and less on your plate. The daily barrage of e-mails, texts, tweets, messages, and meetings distract you and stress you out. The simultaneous demands of work and family are taking a toll. And what's the cost? Second-rate work, missed deadlines, smaller paychecks, fewer promotions--and lots of stress.

AND YOU WANT MORE. You want more productivity from your work. More income for a better lifestyle. You want more satisfaction from life, and more time for yourself, your family, and your friends.

My thoughts on The ONE Thing

Gary Keller’s The ONE Thing is a great primer on goal-setting, focus and discipline. If you only take one thing from this book, the question you need to ask for everything is simple and deceptively powerful:

“What’s the ONE thing I can do, such that by doing it everything else will become easier or unnecessary?”

Throughout The ONE Thing, Keller emphasises heavily the value of the 80/20 or Pareto principle in getting to what you want in life. This is also an underlying theme in Tim FerrissThe 4-Hour Workweek. Both of these books teach you to live a disciplined life focused on the most important things, and to ignore the trivial distractions. Pareto’s law of 80% of outputs are driven by 20% of inputs is a predictable law of nature, not just an interesting theory. One of my favourite quotes from this book reads like a modern-day Chinese proverb:

“If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” —Gary Keller, The ONE Thing

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Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls-- family, health, friends, integrity-- are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.

— Gary Keller & Jay Papasan, The ONE Thing