Another thing about The ONE Thing

Punk reckons last week’s post wasn’t a real book review. (He just wants a cheat sheet because reading the book himself isn’t his ONE Thing.)

“What’s the ONE Thing you can do this week
such that by doing it 
everything else would be easier or unnecessary?”

That’s Gary Keller’s Focus Question. He breaks it down into two parts. The Big-Picture Question asks, “What is my ONE Thing?” The Small-Focus Question asks, “What’s my ONE Thing right now?”

So if my one thing is to be an author:

  • Big-Picture = writing a novel.
  • Small-Focus = Write today. As much as possible.

A quadrant example is given for asking the best question, which results in an answer that is Big and Specific.


Then the trick is saying NO to any activity unconnected with your ONE Thing. Your ONE Thing is your yardstick. Measure every distraction or opportunity against that yardstick.

Keller describes what the ONE Thing looks like in business terms:

  • One product/service: KFC- one secret recipe; Starbucks– coffee
  • One person (mentor): Albert Einstein had Max Talmud. No one is self-made.
  • One passion/skill: for us writers, this should be obvious!
  • One life: Bill Gates’ one passion (computers) led to one skill (programming), one partner, one boss, one job, on one computer, to one company, for one lifetime. Gates and his wife Melinda started one foundation, focused on one thing (global health), offering one tool that would provide the greatest impact (vaccines).

“One thing is at the heart of success.”

Today’s assignment:

  • write down what your ONE Thing is
  • make it bigger
  • make it specific

This is the first (well, second) post in a series on The ONE Thing. Stay tuned, Punk!


7 thoughts on “Another thing about The ONE Thing”

  1. Finish the prep work to getting published (one more edit, beta readers, and getting together what I need as far as bio, cover page, etc.) and triumphantly hold the novel in my hands, above my head, shouting, “It’s aliiiiiive!” And laugh maniacally.


  2. As a short story writer, I don’t think of writing a short story as a “small” thing at all. To paraphrase writer Doris Betts, A good short story should have the depth of a novel.


    1. Absolutely agreed, and by small I didn’t necessarily mean easy. Brevity’s tough! But a short story is small enough to be held in mind all at once. A novel scares the crap out of me because it’s so big as to be almost unattainable in my mind– which is why it’s my goal.

      Liked by 1 person

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