The ONE Thing

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. ~Lao Tzu. No matter what you want to achieve, no matter your destination, the journey to anything you want always starts with a single step. That step is called the ONE Thing.

🚀The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan is a productivity book that focuses on how to become more productive from your work, and how to achieve extraordinary results in your professional and personal life.
  2. It teaches how to leverage a powerful question to live a life of purpose, priority, and productivity.
  3. You will only achieve extraordinary results when you can narrow down your focus to ONE Thing.

✍️ My Top 3 Quotes

  • Success is built sequentially. It’s one thing at a time.
  • When you lift the limits of your thinking, you expand the limits of your life. It’s only when you can imagine a bigger life that you can ever hope to have one.
  • Live with purpose. Live by priority. Live for productivity.

📒 Notes

Have you ever wondered if we all have the same number of hours in a day then why do some people achieve so much more than others? What is that thing they do more, achieve more, earn more, and have more?

The answer is they all know what they could do, but they always focus on what they should do. They all go small by ignoring all other things.

When you want to succeed at anything you want, your approach should always be the same. Go small. Going small is a simple approach to extraordinary results. It works because it has only one purpose – to ultimately get you to the point.

You will only achieve extraordinary results when you can narrow down your focus to ONE Thing.

The Domino Effect

Getting extraordinary results is all about creating a domino effect in your life. A single domino is capable of bringing down another domino that is 50 percent larger. Find the lead domino and whack away at it until it falls.

Extraordinary success is sequential, not simultaneous. What starts sequentially becomes geometric. you do the right thing and the next right thing. Over time it adds up, and the geometric potential of success is unleashed.

The key here is overtime. Success is built sequentially. It is one thing at a time.

If you look behind at any extraordinary successful people and you will always find that one thing. The fundamental truth behind every successful people is one thing.

The book is divided into 3 parts. In the first part, the author mentions the details about 6 lies that mislead and derail everyone in achieving extraordinary results. In the second part, the author mentions the truth about the path to productivity and in the final part, he gives us details on how to achieve extraordinary results and unlock the possibilities.

THE LIES

What are the excuses that you tell yourself for not getting what you want?  “I just have too much that has to be done.” “I will get more done by doing things at the same time.” “I need to be a more disciplined person.” “I need more balance in my life.” “Maybe I shouldn’t dream so big.”

All these thoughts become the lies about success that keep us from living The One Thing. If you are going to maximize your potential, you are going to have to make sure you put these lies to bed.

The 6 lies between you and Success:

1. Everything matters equally

Equality is a lie. When everything feels urgent and important, everything seems equal. We become active and busy, but this doesn’t move us any closer to success.

Don’t focus on being busy; focus on being productive. Achievers always work from a clear sense of priority. Whatever your goal is big or small, start with a list but develop the mindset to bring that list into one essential thing. All things don’t matter equally. Success is found in doing what matters most.

2. Multitasking is a lie

Multitasking is neither efficient nor effective. When you try to do two things at once, you either can’t or won’t do either well. If you think multitasking is an effective way to get more done, you have got it backward. It’s an effective way to get less done. As Steve Uzzel said, “Multitasking is merely the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time.”

3. Disciplined life

You don’t need to be a disciplined person to be successful. In fact, you can become successful with less discipline than you think, for one simple reason: Success is about doing the right thing, not about doing everything else.

The trick to success is to choose the right habit and bring just enough discipline to establish it. That’s it.

Be a person of powerful habits and use selected discipline to develop them. Harness the power of selected discipline to build the right habit, and extraordinary results will find you.

4. Willpower is always on will-call

you have a limited supply of willpower on any given day, so decide what matters and reserve your willpower for it. Do what matters most when your willpower is the strongest. Maximum strength means maximum success. If you want to get the most out of your day, do your most important work – your ONE Thing-early before your willpower is drawn down.

5. A balanced life

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 in relation to all other work issues, with only infrequent counterbalancing to address them.

When you act on your priority, you’ll automatically go out of balance, giving more time to one thing over another.

6. Big is bad

Thinking big is essential to extraordinary results. Success requires action, and action requires thought. But here’s the catch—the only actions that become springboards 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.

Don’t let small thinking cut your life down to size. Think big, aim high, act boldly. And see just how big you can blow up your life.

THE TRUTH: The simple path to productivity

The One simple truth behind extraordinary results is asking the focusing questions and finding the path to great answers.

The Focusing Question.

The quality of any answer is directly determined by the quality of the question. Ask the wrong question, you’ll get the wrong answer. Ask the right question, you’ll get the right answer. If you ask the most powerful question possible, and the answer you get can be life-altering.

Great questions are the path to great answers. It will help you find the first domino for your job, business, or any other area in which you want to achieve extraordinary results. The focusing question is a double-duty question and comes in two forms. The big picture and small focus. The Focusing question can lead you to answer not only “big picture” questions (like Where am I going? what target should I aim for?) but also “small focus” ones as well (like what must I do right now to be on the path to getting the big picture). It simply shows you how big your life can be and just how small you must go to get there. Whether you seek answers big or small, asking the Focusing Question is the ultimate success habit for your life.

Focusing question is the foundational habit that you can use to achieve extraordinary results

The Path to Great Answers

Once you ask great questions, you should now face finding a Great answer. Great answers can come in three categories: doable, stretch, and possibility. Extraordinary results require a Great Answer.

If you want the most from your answer, you must realize that it lives outside your comfort zone. When you want to achieve extraordinary results, the first thing to do is ask, “Has anyone else studied or accomplished this or something like it?” The answer is always yes, so your investigation begins by finding out what others have learned. The research and experience of others is the best place to start when looking for your answer.

A new answer usually requires new behavior. When you maximize your reach, you maximize your life.

EXTRAORDINARY RESULTS: Unlocking the possibilities within you.

Live with Purpose

Purpose: Think of it as simply the ONE Thing you want your life to be about more than others. Try writing down something you’d like to accomplish and then describe how you’d do it.

Pick a direction, start marching down that path, and see how you like it. Time brings clarity, and if you find you don’t like it, you can always change your mind. It’s your life.

A simple formula for creating extraordinary life: Live with purpose. Live by priority. Live for productivity. The purpose is a combination of where we’re going and what’s important to us.

Life is a series of connected choices, where our purpose sets our priority and our priority determines the productivity our actions produce. Who we are and where we want to go determined what we do and what we accomplish?

A life lived on purpose is the most powerful of all-and happiness.

Happiness happens on the way to fulfillment. We all want to be happy, but seeking it isn’t the best way to find it. The surest path to achieving lasting happiness happens when you make your life about something bigger when you bring meaning and purpose to your everyday actions.

Discover your Big Why. Discover your purpose by asking yourself what drives you. what’s the thing that gets you up in the morning and keeps you going when you’re tired and worn down?

Live By Priority

Live with purpose and you know where you want to go. Live by priority and you’ll know what to do to get there.

Without direction, without purpose, whatever you “Shall do” will always get you somewhere. But when you’re going somewhere on purpose, there will always be something you “Should you” that will get you where you must go. When your life is on purpose, living by priority takes precedence.

Purpose without priority is powerless.

We need a simple way of thinking to save us from ourselves, set the right priority, and move closer toward accomplishing our purpose.

You’re training your mind how to think, how to connect one goal with the next over time until you know the most important thing you must do right NOW. Writing down your goals and your most important priority is your final step to living by priority. Once you know what to do, the only thing that is left is to go from knowing to doing.

Live with Productivity

How we use our time that determines the money we make. Most successful people are the most productive people. Productive people get more done, achieve better results, and earn far more in their hours than the rest.

Time blocking is a very results-oriented way of viewing and using time. It’s a way of making sure that what has to be done gets done. Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.

Go to your calendar and block off all the time you need to accomplish your ONE Thing. If it’s a one-time ONE Thing block off the appropriate hours and days. If it’s a regular thing, block off the appropriate time every day so it becomes a habit.

What’s the ONE Thing I can do for my ONE Thing such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary? When you find the answer, you’ll be doing the most leverage activity for your most leveraged work.

Time block your ONE Thing. The best way to make your ONE Thing happen is to make regular appointments with yourself. Block time early in the day, and block big chunks of it- no less than four hours.

Protect your time block at all costs. Time blocking works only when your mantra is “Nothing and no one has permission to distract me from my ONE Thing”.

Your time block is the most important meeting of your day, also whatever it takes to protect it is what you have to do. The people who achieve extraordinary results don’t achieve them by working more hours. They achieve them by getting more done in the hours they work.

THE THREE COMMITMENTS

Achieving extraordinary results through time blocking requires three commitments.

First, you must adopt the mindset of someone seeking mastery. Mastery is a commitment to becoming your best, so to achieve extraordinary results you must embrace the extraordinary effort it represents.

Second, you must continually seek the very best ways of doing things. Nothing is more futile than doing your best using an approach that can’t deliver results equal to your effort.

And last, you must be willing to be held accountable for doing everything you can to achieve your ONE Thing. Live these commitments and you give yourself a fighting chance to experience extraordinary.

THE FOUR THIEVES

As there are 6 lies that will deceive and mislead you, there are four thieves that can hold you up and rob you of your productivity.

  1. Inability to say “No”

Always remember that when you say yes to something, you’re saying no to everything else. It’s the essence of keeping a commitment. Start turning down other requests outright or saying “No, for now” to distractions so that nothing detracts you from getting your top priority.

  1. Fear of Chaos

Untidiness, Unrest, Disarray, Disorder. All these happen along the way to extraordinary results. Messes are inevitable when you focus on just one thing. When you strive for greatness, chaos is guaranteed to show up.

Depending on where you are in your life, you may not be able to immediately block off every morning to be by yourself. Move past your fear of chaos, learn to deal with it, and trust that your work on your ONE Thing will come through for you.

  1. Poor Health Habits

Don’t sacrifice your health by trying to make on too much. It’s important to manage your energy so you can do what you must do, achieve what you want to achieve, and live the life you want to live.

  1. Environment Doesn’t Support Your Goals.

your environment must support your goals. No one succeeds alone and no one fails alone. Pay attention to the people around you. Seek out those who will support your goals, and show the door to anyone who won’t. Make sure that the people around you and your physical surroundings support your goals.


A life worth living might be measured in many ways, but the one way that stands above all others is living a life of no regrets.

Ask the small question yourself, What’s the ONE Thing I can do this week such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?

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