Six enemies of The ONE Thing

In his book The ONE Thing, Gary Keller covers six lies lying between you and success.OneThing

1. Everything matters equally.

“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants.
The question is, what are we busy about?”
Henry David Thoreau

If anybody knows that everything does not matter equally, it’s a dude who counted air bubbles in a frozen pond all winter. Some stuff matters more to your success than other stuff. Learn to recognize and focus on the most important things. Whittle down your to-do list until it is a numbered MUST-do list.

2. The myth of multitasking. 

“It’s not that we have too little time to do all the things we need to do,
it’s that we feel the need to do too many things in the time we have.”

What we call multi-tasking is actually task switching, one of the biggest time wasters and hindrances to our productivity.

The advice is to give four hours– and they should be your BEST hours– minimum each day to your ONE THING. Staying on task means putting in those four hours in one stretch, not ten minutes here or half an hour there.

This is so true! When I try to write here and there, I get very little done because most of the time is spent trying to remember where I left off. I get testy and the writing gets tainted.

3. A disciplined life.

Nope, don’t need more discipline. Just manage what you do have better, and long enough for habit to kick in. On average, it takes 66 days to form a habit.

“Success is about doing the right thing, not about doing everything right.”

4. Willpower is always on will-call.

“Willpower has a limited battery life but can be recharged with some downtime.”

“You make doing what matters most a priority when your willpower is its highest.”

“Do your most important work— your ONE thing— early, before your willpower is drawn down.”

5. A balanced life.

“In your effort to attend to all things, everything gets short-changed and nothing gets its due.”

“Magic happens at the extremes.”

A writing retreat seemed out of control to me, but the pay-off was enormous. I read my entire manuscript, edited out 10,000 words, and wrote 8,000 new & improved words— in less than 48 hours.

“To achieve an extraordinary result you must choose what matters most and give it all the time it demands. This requires getting extremely out of balance.”

6. Big is bad.

It isn’t! We all want to be the next J.K. Rowling, don’t we? We mock Stephanie Meyer, but we would totally walk a mile in her successful shoes if we had half a chance. The truth is, we often give in to thinking too little of ourselves, our abilities, and our potential.

“We are kept from our goal, not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal.”
Robert Brault

Think differentThink Big. Remember Apple’s ad campaign 16 years ago?

“People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the only ones who do.”

Thinking big worked in Apple’s favor. It can work for you, too.

Be bold. Don’t fear failure. I would add: Don’t fear success. Dare to rise above the status quo.

You have no idea how much you can achieve— there is no ceiling.

Today’s assignment:

  • Write down the ONE Thing that matters more than anything else.
  • How can you avoid wasting time task switching? Commit to NOT multitasking when working on your ONE Thing.
  • Choose ONE habit you can build over the next 66 days.
  • Think about when your energy is high. Morning person? Night owl? Give that time block to your ONE Thing.
  • Stand on one foot. Just kidding! List all the extreme ways you could achieve your goal. Moving to Tahiti might not seem possible or likely, but if it could help you be successful, it belongs on your list. Think BIG and don’t worry— it’s just pen and paper.
  • What are you afraid of failing at? What are you afraid of succeeding at? What would changing the world look like for you?

“The only actions that become springboards to succeeding big
are those informed by big thinking to begin with.”

Previous posts:
The ONE Thing
Another thing about The ONE Thing
One letter from The ONE Thing


4 thoughts on “Six enemies of The ONE Thing”

    1. Honestly, as long as I have little Zirros underfoot, my Big Thing will always rate #2. But when I get to work on it, it’s awesome.
      Check out the book- it’s a quick read; putting the advice to work takes a bit longer =)


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