Gary Keller’s book, “The One Thing,” reminds me a lot of Stephen Covey’s book, “First Things First,” but it has its own twist and adds a lot. The idea is keeping your focus on one thing. That gets extraordinary results.
I liked the domino analogy. If you have a line of dominos, then keep hitting the first domino until it falls. The rest is easy.
What Holds Us Back
There are too many distractions and things other than the “me thing” that keep us from focusing. Also there are “untruths” that we base our decisions on. As you have heard, if you hear a lie long enough and frequently enough you believe it.
Keller says there are six lies between you and success. 1) Everything matters equally, 2) Multitasking, 3) A disciplined life, 4) Willpower Is Always on Will-Call, 5) A balanced life, and 6) Big is bad. Then he takes each one apart.
This one reached out and slapped me in the face. I pride myself the I am disciplined in some areas of my life, but Keller says, “Success is actually a short race – a sprint fueled by discipline just long enough for habit to kick in and tale over.” Yes, habit! The gym is a habit. Hiking is a habit.
He goes on to say, “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 right.” He says that “When you do the right thing, it can liberate you from having to monitor everything.”
So strong, powerful habits are more important than discipline, but you still need the discipline to get the ball rolling.
A Balanced Life
Let’s take one more of these six lies. Isn’t it good to stay balanced? Don’t be a workaholic! Don’t be an “exercise nut.” Don’t just “go hiking” ALL THE TIME. Keller says the balanced life is a lie.
He says instead of seeking balance, we should be seeking, “purpose, meaning, significance – these are what make a successful life. Seek them and you will most certainly live your life out of balance, crisscrossing an invisible middle line as you purpose your priorities.” Yes!
Consider this. If you are messing around with everything it all gets less attention or as he says, “shortchanged,” and “magic happens at the extremes.” It is the extra long climb that makes a difference.
I like what he says about time in this regard. “When you gamble with time, you may be placing a bet you can’t cover….toying with time will lead you down a rabbit hole with no way out. Believing this lie does its harm by convincing you to do things you shouldn’t and stop doing things you should.” Then, “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.” Good advice!