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The One Thing Summary


Focus on one thing.

In this book, the author talks about extraordinary success. You might think success like Apple, Microsoft, and Google are time-consuming and complicated. But, to achieve an extraordinary success you should narrow your focus to do one thing.

The process of doing one thing is to remove the clutter and ignoring all the other activities.

This summary teaches you that not all activities matter equally. Some activities can add more value to your life than others.

Example: Imagine, you place dominos in a series one after the other. The first domino is of two inches but the second domino is increased by fifty percent. Then, the third domino is increased by fifty percent from the second domino and so on. When you reach the eighteen-domino, the height of the domino will parallel to the leaning tower of Paris.

And when you reach the twenty-three domino, the height of domino will cross Eiffel Tower.

Now at fifty-seven, you would bridge the gap between earth and the moon.

This is known as the domino effect.

So, when you think about success, your goal is to reach to the moon. To reach there, you need to build a habit and discipline yourself. Success is not about the one big steps but, it is a series of right steps you take over-time to reach your goal.

There is always one thing or one person or one skill.

Looking at the story of any successful person.

You will find out there is always one person that makes him successful. It is either in the form of a person or skill. Because everyone has some kind of talent.

Example: Take Bill Gates, in high school, Bill has a passion for computers, which lead him to develop one skill, computer programming. In high school, Bill meets the person, Paul Allen.

Paul gives Bill the first job and becomes the partner in forming Microsoft. Then, they send a letter to Ed Roberts. Ed Roberts changes their life by giving them a shot to write code for Altair 8800. For Bill, Ed Roberts was his one person.

Difference Between success List and To-do List.

What is a to-do list?

A to-do list will help you to complete tasks that you think you should do. The first task in your to-do list is the first activity you think. But as you grow up, you will have the choice to decide the activity you will do first and the activity you will do second.

But, when you have a series of tasks to do, how will you decide the task to-do first?

Success is defined by the choices you make. But, if success is defined by choice. Then, how will you make a good one?

Here is a catch. You can make a success list.

What is Success List?

The list is not defined by the task you think first. But, it will define by your future goal.

The drawback of the to-do list is that the to-do list will keep you busy all day long but does not move you towards your goals.

To turn the to-do list into a success list you should use Pareto’s principle. It says 80 % outcome brings by 20 % effort. It means a small amount of work in the right direction can bring an 80% outcome.

The concept of multi-tasking.

Everyone accepts multitasking is an effective way to do things.

When I was a kid, I think it is something I should. But sooner I understand, multitasking is neither effective nor efficient.

The concept of multitasking arrives from computers. But, even computers process one piece of code at a time. When a computer multi-task. It will switch back and forth so that both the tasks can complete.

However, you can do two tasks at once such as walking and talking. Now the question is how you do two things in parallel? Because our brain has channels.

As a result, you can process different kinds of data in a different part of the brain. If you want to know more about different parts of the brain and how they work. You can read The Power Of Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy.

The myth about discipline.

You might think success is a marathon of discipline actions.

But it is not the complete truth. Success is a short race enough discipline to form a habit.

When you discipline yourself, you are training to behave in a specific way. Running a behavior long enough will become a habit. Habits are hard only in the beginning. Over time, it will become easier to sustain.

Now the question arises, how long it will take to form a habit. The range varies from 18 to 254 days to form a habit. And it depends on the kinds of habits you are forming.

The patience test how long you wait?

Every morning when you climb down from the bed. You have a full charge willpower batteries.

As you go through the day. The willpower bar shrink. At the end of the day, your willpower is completely exhausted.

However, if you use your willpower at once. Then, you will not use it again, unless you refuel it.

Once you exhaust your willpower, you will reach to your default setting. So make a rule to carry out the important task at the beginning of a day.

The Focusing Question.

The Focusing question helps you to bring the extraordinary result. However, results come from the choice you make and the action you take.

The focusing question force you to do your best and make quality decisions. It also helps you to align with your track.

The focusing question is: What is the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier and unnecessary.

Framing of Focusing Question.

The focusing question helps you to find one thing in any situation. It will clarify what you want in the future and drill down what you should do now to get there.

Asking a question is a simple process. But, here is a catch. How you frame your question is important than asking the question. Here is an example version of how you can frame your question.

Example: What can I do to increase sales by five percent this year? The question aims you for a specific direction but does not aim for big. As five percent of sales can meet by market shift.

Second, What can I do to increase my sales? This is not a good question to ask as it does not produce any result. The question lacks two key elements. How much sales increment and by which date.

Third, What can I do to double my sales? It is a good question to ask as it is big. But, the problem is, the question was lacking in time. At what time you want to double your sales?

Forth, What can I do to double my sales in six months?

This type of question produces the result as it is big and specific. If you want to excel in any area of your life. You must ask this type of question to get the result.

Happiness depends on the Purpose.

You should have a definite purpose in your life. When you have a purpose, clarity comes faster and helps you to make quality decisions.

The purpose set a benchmark to work and earn money to fulfill your dream. Without purpose, you will never know when you have enough money.

Human desire continually search for the thing that makes him happy. But acquiring money will not make you happy. However, it will bring some joy for a moment.

The problem is once you will get what you want, sooner your happiness vanishes. Because you will become accustomed to what you have.

This happens to everyone and leaves you bored. Then, the next morning, you get up and chase something else’s to add more happiness in your life.

It finds out, five factors contribute to your happiness: positive emotion, pleasure, achievement, relationship engagement, and meaning.

Plus, the secret for lasting happiness is to do what you love to do.

The time management system.

What kinds of time management system do you use?

The trick is if everyone has the same amount of time then why some people earn more than others.

The successful people are the most productive. Because these people get more done in less time and produce a far better result.

Now you can say, how you use your time effectively so that you can make more money.

To manage your time and produce better results. You need to create a time blocking system. Time blocking system helps you to specify a time for planning, vacation and for doing one thing.

Planning for someday goals.

Goal setting helps you to drill down your future goal to daily, weekly, monthly goals. Once you adopt a simple way of thinking. You can save yourself from a distracting world and do the thing that moves you towards your goal.

Majority of people do not succeed to reach their goal. As they do not connect their today to all tomorrows.

When you begin each day, you have a choice.

You can ask yourself, what should I do?

Because when you have a purpose. You will always have some activities to do.

At Last: Here are my favorite Quotes from this book.

  • Success is about doing the right thing. Not about doing everything right.
  • Taking complete ownership of your outcomes by holding no one but yourself responsible for them is the most powerful thing you can do to drive your success.
  • High achievement and extraordinary results require big energy. The trick is learning how to get it and keep it.
  • People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures. — F. M. Alexander
  • Success is actually a short race—a sprint fueled by discipline just long enough for habit to kick in and take over.

You may also like these articles:

The New One Minute Manager Summary.
Eat That Frog Summary.
Essentialism Summary.

Above article is the extract version of the book “The One Thing” written by Gary Keller.

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