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Focus - The one thing








Focus The one thing


Focus The one thing


Focus The one thing



You Can Achieve Anything If You Focus On ONE Thing

5 min read

You can achieve almost anything in life…As long as you focus on achieving one thing at a time. It’s a time-tested strategy that’s been shared by many successful people.

Gary Keller and Jay Papasan even wrote a whole book about this simple idea. But don’t let the simplicity of this idea fool you. It’s one of the hardest things to implement in your life.

Last year, I published an article about focusing on one thing called “The Power Of Compounding.” I’ve received dozens of questions about it like, “I get the idea. But I struggle with putting it into practice.”

That’s because we, human beings, are fickle. Our desires are constantly changing. We pursue new things before we finish our old goals.

We’re dealing with an invisible force that is always trying to confuse us. Instead of focusing on one thing at a time, we set multiple goals, and think we can multitask ourselves to achieving them.

There’s a discrepancy between what we know ( to focus on one thing at a time) and what we do (focusing on everything at the same time).

The question is not whether focusing on one thing is a good strategy (just look at the image at the top of this article); it’s HOW can we stick to it? In this article, I share how I apply this strategy to my life. But first, let’s define the “One Thing” strategy.

One Thing Per AREA Of Your Life

Too often people assume that you should only focus on one thing in your life, period. But that’s not what this strategy is about. It’s about being smart about what you pursue. Yes, you can achieve a lot of things…But just not at the same time.

You can’t build a career, get in shape, compete in marathons, write a book, invest in a business, get kids, and travel the world. But you can do all those things in a lifetime.

I stick to one major priority per area of my life. I’ve categorized my life as follows: Career, health, learning, money, and relationships.

That means I never work on more than one major project. I either write a book or create an online course. I also learn only one skill at a time. And I am either saving my money or am looking to invest it (naturally, I’m saving most of the time). For my health, I’m either building strength or endurance. And so forth.

These categories are not based on anything but my own perspective on life. You can categorize your life any way you want. And you don’t need to criticize how others compartmentalize their lives. What matters is that we understand how we categorize our own lives. Otherwise, there’s no structure.

And when there’s no structure. There’s chaos. And when there’s chaos, there’s no one thing: There’s everything. That’s bad.

Manage Your Desires

The natural thing to do for most people is to start setting goals or picking one priority they want to focus on. But unless you have trained your mind to focus on one thing, it’s not a smart thing to do.

You must improve your focus muscle first. Otherwise, you set a goal, focus on one thing, and get back to your old behavior within a week.

You want to change your mindset. Go from “I want everything” to “I appreciate what I have.”

That’s the only way to live this “one thing” idea. In other words, control your desires.

I recommend practicing Mindfulness or Stoicism for that. Both philosophies talk extensively about detaching ourselves from our desires. I think our excessive desire for more is the reason we can’t focus on one thing.

Remove your desires, and you will have true freedom. The Stoic Epictetus said it best in one of his classes (as captured by his student, Arian):

“Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of men’s desires, but by the removal of desire.”

If you manage your desire, you attack the problem at the core. In my experience, you CAN’T live a calm and focused life if you’re always desiring more and new things.

I have an article in which I share Zen Buddhism principles, and I have created a podcast series about Stoic ideas. Look into those if you want to take control of your desires.

All this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t desire to improve our lives. On the contrary, the whole purpose of life is to move forward. So don’t be afraid to set goals and aim for great things. Just achieve one thing after the other.

Practice Single-Tasking

Now, it’s time to practice. For the next week, only do ONE thing at a time. If you’re a modern human being that is used to technology, that will be very hard. But I guess you like the challenge, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. So try this:

  • Go for a walk (or workout) without listening to music
  • Put your phone in Do Not Disturb Mode for the whole day
  • Don’t pick it up when you’re having a conversation
  • When you are working, focus on a SINGLE task at a time
  • In meetings, don’t check your email

This is also called being present. Just be less distracted. That’s all. And you can practice with anything by doing only one thing.

Time To Set ONE Goal Per Area Of Your Life

Only after you have controlled your desires and practiced doing one thing at a time are you ready to apply the “One Thing” strategy to your life.

The reason you want to practice is that life is long. If you take the time to become less distracted by desires, the more reliable you will become. You will become a person who does what they say. You will become a person who achieves what they set out.

And after you start achieving one thing after the other, you will get momentum. Your job is to keep the momentum.

This is how people become happy and wealthy. Both those things add up over time.

Remember to keep the bigger picture in mind. You WILL achieve all your goals. Who cares whether you achieve them now or in the future? What matters is that you are not influenced by desire or outside forces. You are the maker of your own life.


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Focus on ONE thing


How to achieve focus by managing excess information

In an age of abundance of choice and excess information our focus is being stretched and divided.


Focus is defined by Google as “the centre of interest or activity”. Focus and attention is something that marketing teams up and down the country are vying for. Constantly bombarding consumers with messages in a bid to gain our attention. We are constantly being distracted by social media which leaves our attention divided.

Information can come in a variety of ways, some of the problems with this abundance of information are:

  • Huge volumes of new information being constantly created
  • The simplicity of creating, duplicating and sharing of information online
  • The exponential increase in channels to receive information by; radio, television, print media, websites, e-mail, mobile telephony, RSS feeds, etc.
  • High volumes of conflicting, contradictory and plain old inaccurate information

The problem is our focus is always split and being dragged away. Dual-screening is a very common activity for most people. So how can we manage this?

Limit the number of information streams
A bigger problem that people face isn’t’ that there’s too much content to keep up with, but they are consuming content from a number of different sources. Seeing the same news story on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram provides no benefit.

Also finding and choosing a reliable news source can help prevent conflicting messages as opposed having to personally mediate the trustworthiness of a new source found on your Facebook news feed.

Don’t Multitask
Multitasking causes us to feel exhausted, disoriented and anxious. Although the idea of doing multiple things at once may make us feel we are being productive. In actual fact it reduces our ability to complete our given tasks. Our brains aren’t designed to multi-task and we aren’t nearly as good as we think we are at it.

Here is an article which explains the science behind multi-tasking:

Focus on topics you care about
You can’t keep up with everything that’s happening so decide which ones are of greater priority for you and stick to it. If your discipline is technology, then just focus your efforts on that one topic. The more topics you try to cover, the less chance of you being able to retain what each article is about.

Tools like RSS readers or news aggregation sites can allow you to have greater control of the news you consume.

Take a break and relax
Regardless of all the ways we manage and navigate this media bombardment. Sometimes the best way to manage to is to simply not. Take a 15 minute break every so often, let your mind daydream and wonder.

Your brain sometimes needs to hit the reset button to allow for creativity which will allow for better, clearer thoughts when you arrive back to that task.

To conclude I think we need to be aware of the vast amount of media sources available to us today, which can cloud and impair our thinking. Taking a step back to think what we are trying to focus on and achieve requires clear focus. The minute you lose track of your goals, you are off track. So be aware that excess information can be harmful to your growth.


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ONE Thing Success Stories Spread



Jay and Gary purposefully titled their latest book The ONE Thing, not ONLY ONE Thing. And, they underlined that message at a recent presentation in Phoenix by challenging thousands of attendees to find focus in seven areas of their lives – Spiritual Health, Physical Health, Personal Life, Key Relationships, Job, Business and Finances. What’s the trick? Set goals and build habits in each of your most important areas of life. Let’s get started.


Finding Your ONE Thing in Each of the Seven Buckets


Spiritual Health: It’s a fact that praying and self-talk have been found to reduce stress. In fact, people who didn’t take some reflection time prior to a stressful situation were found to have significantly higher blood pressure and stress levels than those who did. Gary suggests anchoring the habit of finding that spiritual time to a built-in part of your day – think of teaching children to pray before bedtime.


Physical HealthPhysical health is an area most people struggle with, but according to Gary, it’s really pretty simple. There are three things that affect your physical health: 1. Sleep, 2. Food, 3. Exercise. If all of these are a bit out of sorts he suggests making sleep your first domino, as it undermines everything else.


Personal Life: Your personal life is where you work on developing yourself. And, what better way to do that than to get a hobby? Gary said hobbies have massive returns – more than people know – and can be thought of on three levels – diversion, passion and purpose.


Key Relationships: When it comes to the people that matter most to you, “you spell love T-I-M-E,” explained Gary. How? “Simple: 1. Spend time with them, 2. Communicate with them, 3. Know about them and 4. Bring something to the relationship.”


Job: There are three things to look at when you’re deciding what your job focus is. First, be purposeful. People who write their goals down are 39.5% more likely to achieve them. Second, be intentional. People who time block are 91% more likely to complete a project/activity. Third, 91% of people are more likely to get a project done when they time block. Finally, be accurate. People are 77.6% more likely to complete their goal when they hire a coach.


Business: Believe it or not, there are 13 dominoes to knock over when you’re focusing on your business. That being said, the first eight dominoes are all aimed at knocking over No. 9. And, the final four are to retain and build No. 9. Here’s what the domino run looks like: 1. Research your opportunity, 2. Create your value proposition, 3. Define your mission, vision and values, 4. Envision your empire, 5. Build a pro forma/model, 6. Build a business plan, 7. Build an org chart, 8. Identify your 5 key empire builder positions, 9. Make the first key hire, 10. The first 90 days, 11. Run a training and coaching business, 12. Run a research department, 13. Build your company.


Finances: Gary’s key ingredients to focus on your financials are: 1. Know where you stand, 2. Be intentional with your finances. “You need to know where you stand at all times,” he said. “The trick to success is being aware where you are financially.”



Focus The one thing


Focus The one thing



Focus The one thing



Focus The one thing













Categories : Life purpose    Themes : Focus
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