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What’s Your ONE Thing?

I picked up a good book during my last business trip, and it has had a profound impact on how I want to spend the rest of my life. If you do one thing in the next month, read, The ONE Thing, by Gary Keller.

Keller encourages readers to ask, "What's the One Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?" He argues that all things do not matter equally and that it is important to find the single thing that matters most—now, today, this week, this month, this year, and some day.

The path to success involves a domino effect: By doing the One Thing now and then the next, and the next, and the next, over time success will follow. Many organizations and people try to do too much. Because they lack focus, they fail to achieve the results they desire. One segment of The ONE Thing identifies six lies that hinder success:

Lie #1: Everything matters equally. While it is natural to seek equality, when it comes to achievement, everything doesn't matter similarly. One Thing is always most important.

Lie #2: You have to multitask. Multitaskers are outperformed in every measure. They are neither efficient nor effective and make more mistakes than others. It is impossible to do two things at once—well. It is only possible to focus on One Thing at a time.

Lie #3: Discipline is required. Discipline doesn’t get you to your goal, good habits do. People who are easily distracted can succeed by creating a discipline of focus. Try it. It takes an average of 66 days to acquire a new habit.

Lie #4: You must have willpower. Willpower is incredibly powerful, but it lacks endurance and you run out of it by the end of the day. Do your most important work—your One Thing—early, before your willpower is drained.

Lie #5: Seeking balance is important. Time spent on One Thing requires time away from another. The magic never happens in the middle; it happens at the extremes. Instead, seek counterbalance. Choose what matters most and give it all the time it demands. This requires getting extremely out of balance. The question is how long before you need to counterbalance. Aim to give disproportionate time to your One Thing.

Lie #6: Big is bad. Big thoughts are hard, complicated, and time-consuming. When big is considered bad, small thinking rules. Big goals can seem unattainable. However, what seemed like an insurmountable mountain from a distance is a small hill when you arrive. As you experience big, you become big.

What’s my One Thing? Getting in tip-top physical and mental shape. If I do, it will create a positive, domino effect in all the other areas in my life. What’s your One Thing?

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