Dr. Frankl has taught us to know our why in Man’s Search for Meaning. That why has to be tied to our actions regardless of who you are an athlete, entrepreneur, writer or one of the other countless titles in existence. Said actions lead to an endgame your definition of success. That’s all fine and dandy, but the devil is in the details. Fear not, Gary W. Keller shows you how to live and think like the 1% in The One Thing. It starts with a straightforward question. What one thing can I go right now, that will make everything else pointless? This means going under the microscope past the 80/20 principle. Gary calls this going small and ignoring everything else.
The most powerful visualization of this is the domino analogy that Garry used. If you start with a 2-inch domino that can drop a domino that is 50% larger in fifty-seven dominos you will hit the moon. Now in terms of success, if you drop the most important domino every week in roughly fifty-seven weeks, you should hit self-actualization.
Gary starts off the book with the six lies of success:
- Everything matters equally – reality if full of priority, use the 80/20 rule, and only focus on “should do’s.”
- Multitasking – cut out the dead weight (pointless tasks) and go extreme, spend at least four hours a day on your one thing. Multitasking increases the time spent on a task due to decreased mental efficiency; because you have to remember where you left off, which also increases the number of mistakes.
- A disciplined life – say no to distractions and pointless gestures until your one thing is complete. Do not strive to be that perfectly disciplined person that you always hear about instead have a selected discipline. Build one habit at a time the most important one and give it sixty-six days to mature.
- Willpower is always on will call – everyone has their limits. The best way to increase your battery life is to eat healthily. Why do you think that Tony Robbins eats fish and salad for breakfast every day! Willpower has its spikes throughout the day, so know yourself and schedule key tasks appropriately. Also making decisions take up willpower, so script as much of your life as possible. Programming your brain will pay off, if x happens then perform y, no matter what!
- The balanced life – if you’re going gun-ho balls to the wall you can’t have a balanced life. To stay sane, you have to get good at counterbalancing life and work/ hit two birds with one stone. For example, if you have to travel for business why not the family with you?
- Big is bad – Garry said it best, “No one knows their ultimate ceiling for achievement, so worrying about it is a waste of time.” To that respect, double your initial goals, act boldly by copying the great, and don’t fear failure you will undoubtedly learn something from it.
You will then be instructed to recruit support similar to the mastermind group from Think and Grow Rich, or allies from Super Better. The purpose of this is to have a constant reminder of your big question. What’s the one thing that I can do to achieve x? This question should be big and specific. For example, what can I do to double my fan base in the next six months? Or, what can I do to cut 50% of the risk in my portfolio over the next six months? Creating this question might require research and other peoples experience.
If any of you are interested in business, Garry provides a model to live by. It is a pyramid with four levels, one is the base:
- Purpose – marketing 101, communicate your why to build a tribe within the company and the customers.
- Priority – use the 80/20 rule to save time and increase productivity.
- Productivity – get the right people on the bus, and make sure that everyone delivers constant contributions to the company’s wellbeing.
- Profit – invest in your employees and the customer experience only.
Profit needs productive people. “Our purpose sets our priority, and our priority determines the productivity our actions produce.” Back to knowing yourself, realize if you are a manager or a maker there is nothing wrong with either, but know your place on the board. The first person that came to mind here was Steve Jobs, “I play the orchestra.”
Whether you are in business or not, you need goals. Again, you want to start small, right now, daily, weekly, monthly, one year, five years, and a someday goal. Then visualize the process starting from the top making your way backward. This was my first time doing this, and it was gratifying. I would always start from the now and work my way up.
Now you have to start blocking time. Spend one hour every Sunday planning your week. Remember if you are serious you will commit at least four hours a day. Here are the laws of blocked time:
- Build a bunker where you cannot get distracted. If you struggle with this, read Deep Work.
- Store provisions like water and snacks so that the only reason for you leaving the room is the restroom.
- No phone, email, or Internet. If you absolutely need music lightly play classical music on your phone and keep it at a distance.
- Enlist support, tell your regular contacts what you are doing. Do not go into details and try not to state your goals. Just say that it is something that you have always wanted to do. When you share your goals, you subconsciously brainwash yourself into thinking that you are already doing something but, you haven’t done jack squat.
Garry brings up Malcolm Gladwell’s ten-thousand-hour rule. Stating that it takes ten thousand hours of practice to be the best in the world. In ten years that is three hours a day, that is why picking your one thing is such an important matter. If your crazy enough you can put in more hours, simple math here. Six hours a day will make you a grandmaster in five years. Just watch your health if you do this. Regardless of your output live and die as a student. When you get your black belt ask to be buried in the white one.
Towards the end, Garry provides another mental hack. It is going from an entrepreneurial mindset to a purposeful one. An entrepreneur is off to the races full of energy but stops at a level that is good enough. There is nothing wrong with this it is the basis of lifestyle businesses. Eventually, you will start thinking about your why or your legacy. In that respect, the only way to reach self-actualization is to be purposeful. The four steps to being purposeful:
Other hacks would be to find a coach and to take ownership of everything that you do.
Time to look at the roadblocks in the four thieves of productivity:
- The inability to say no. Your time on earth is limited spend it wisely. When you say yes what are you saying no to?
- Fear of chaos. It is human nature to fear the unknown. Realize that taking risks can have amazing returns. If you are still reluctant, read Extreme Ownership and embrace controlled chaos.
- Poor health habits. This is being posted in 2018, we don’t have any excuses for not being healthy.
- An environment that doesn’t support your goals. Don’t be scared to change your environment, whether it’s the coffee shop down the street or another city altogether.
This book was an experience unlike any other. I want you to go through it too, so I am not including my last three notes. Which go over daily rituals, the five regrets of the dying, and one thing questions to ask.