I was recently recommended to read this book- The One Thing.
This book comes in as a refreshing change at times when our attention levels are probably at the all time low with most of us staring at mobile screens while carrying out any endeavor. With attention spans reducing due to mobile revolution and other distractions, human race's capability of focusing on just one thing is also diminishing.
This book comes in as a refreshing change in today's time when user's attention is as precious as currency. A while back, i wrote this article on how can one manage multiple passion effectively. It turns out, as i learned from this book, even managing multiple passions and interests can be best done by focusing on just one-thing-at-a-time. This concurs well with the famous quote-
"If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one- Russian Proverb"
In this blog post, i just present some of the key quotes that stayed with me and i have organized these based on the key themes.
Read on to further as the core question this book asks is...
"What's the ONE thing you can do this week such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary ?"
Theme#1: In the big-bad world, "Going small" is powerful
1. "Going small" is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do. It's recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most"
2. "Getting extraordinary effect is all about creating a domino effect in your life."
3. "Extraordinary success is sequential, not simultaneous. What starts out linear becomes geometric. You do the right thing and then you do the next right thing. Over time it adds up, and the geometric potential of the success is unleashed."
"The key is over time. Success is built sequentially. It's one thing at a time."
4. "There can only be one most important thing. Many things may be important, but only one can be the most important."- Ross Garber
5. "No one succeeds alone. No one."
6. "Passion for something leads to disproportionate time practicing or working on it. That time spent eventually translates to skill, and when skill improves, results improve. Better results generally lead to more enjoyment, and more passion and more time is invested. It can be a virtuous cycle all the way to extraordinary results."
Theme#2: Every task isn't equal. And don't treat them so.
7. "Things which matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least.- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe"
9. "The things which are most important don't always scream the loudest.- Bob Hawke"
10. "As Henry David Thoreau said, "It's not enough to be busy, so are ants. The question is, what are we busy about?" Knocking out a hundred tasks for whatever the reason is a poor substitute for doing even one task that's meaningful. Not everything matters equally, and success isn't a game won by whoever does the most. Yet that i exactly how most play it on a daily basis."
11. "While to-dos serve as a useful collection of our best intentions, they also tyrannize us with trivial, unimportant stuff that we feel obligated to get done- because it's on our list."
12. "Achievers operate differently. They have an eye for the essential."
13. "In the world of success, things aren't equal"
Theme#3: Do you have a to-do list or a success list ?
14. "Achievers do sooner what others plan to do later and defer, perhaps indefinitely, what others do sooner. The difference isn't in intent, but in right of way. Achievers always work from a clear sense of priority."
15. "A to-do list is simply the thing you think you need to do; the first thing on your list is just the first thing you thought of. To-do lists inherently lack the intent of success."
16. "Instead of a to-do list, you need a success list- a list that is purposefully created around extraordinary results. To-do lists tend to be long; success lists are short. One pulls you on all directions; the other aims you in a specific direction. One is a disorganized directory and the other is an organized directive."
17. "A to-do list becomes a success list when you prioritize it."
18. "No matter how many to-dos you start with, you can always narrow it to one."
19. "Setting a doable goal is almost like creating a task to check off your list. A stretch goal is more challenging. It aims you at the edge of your current abilities; you have to stretch to reach it. The best goal explores what's possible. When you see people and businesses that have undergone transformations, this is where they live."
Theme#4: Multitasking isn't a virtue
20. "Researchers estimate that workers are interrupted every 11 minutes and then spend almost a third of their day recovering from these distractions."
21. "Juggling isn't multitasking. Juggling is an illusion. To the casual observer, a juggler is juggling three balls at once. In reality, the balls are being independently caught and thrown in rapid succession. Catch, toss, catch, toss, catch, toss. One ball at a time. It's what researchers refer to as "task switching""
22. "Task switching exacts a cost few realize they're even paying."
23. "Author Dave Crenshaw out it just right when he wrote, "The people we live with and work with on a daily basis deserve our full attention. When we give people segmented attention, piecemeal time, switching back and forth, the switching cost is higher than just the time involved. We end up damaging relationships."
24. "doing the most important thing is always the most important thing."
25. "To do two things at once is to do neither."
26. "High multi-taskers are the suckers for irrelevancy."
27. "Multitasking is a lie."
28. "Multitasking is merely the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time.- Steve Uzzell"
29. "Multitasking is about multiple tasks alternately sharing one resource (the CPU), but in time the context was flipper and it became interpreted to mean multiple tasks being done simultaneously by one resource (a person)."
30. "Its not that we have too little time to do all the things we need to do, it's that we feel the need to do too many things in the time we have."
Theme# 5: Willpower isn't as strong as we think it is...
31. "Willpower is always on will-call is a lie."
33. "The more we use our mind, the less minding power we have. Willpower is like a fast-twitch muscle that gets tired and needs rest."
34. "Willpower is like a gas in your car...When you resist something tempting, you use some up. The more you resist, the emptier your tank gets, until you run out of gas."
35. "the is willpower and there is won't power. Most people bring won't power to their most important challenges without ever realizing that's what makes them so hard. When we don't think of resolve as a resource that gets used up, when we fail to reserve it for the things that matter most, when we don't replenish it when it's low, we are probably setting ourselves up for the toughest possible path to success."
36. "What taxes your Willpower"
37. "Don't fight your willpower. Build your days around how it works and let it do its part to build your life. Willpower may not be on will-call, but when you use it first on what matters most, you can always count on it."
Theme# 6: Great lives are lived on priority items...
38. "When you act on your priority, you'll automatically go out of balance, giving more time to one thing over another."
39. "Your work life is divided into two distinct areas- what matters most and everything else."
40. "We overthink, over-plan, and over-analyze our careers, our businesses, and our lives; that long ours are neither virtuous nor healthy; and that we usually succeed in spite of most of what we do, not because of it. I discovered that we can't manage time, and that the key to success isn't in all the things we do but in the handful of things we do well."
41. "The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.- Mark Twain"
42. "Big picture and small focus. One is about finding the right direction in life and other about finding the right action."
43. "To be precise, the word is priority- not priorities- and it originated in the 14th century from the Latin prior, meaning "first". If something mattered the most it was a "priority". Curiously, priority remained un-pluralized until around the 20th century, when the world apparently demoted it to mean generally "something that matters" and the plural "priorities" appeared."
44. "Productivity isn't about being a workhorse, keeping busy or burning the midnight oil....It's more about priorities, planning and fiercely protecting your time- Margarita Tartakovsky"
Theme#7: Thinking big...
45. "Historically, we've done a remarkably poor job in estimating our limits. The good news is that science isn't about guessing, but rather the art of progressing."
46. "Thinking big isn't just about business. Candance Lightmer started Mothers Against
47. "how many times have you set out to do something that seemed like a real stretch at the time, only to discover it was much easier than you thought ?"
48. "When Scott Forstall started recruiting talent to his newly formed team, he wanted that the top-secret project would provide ample opportunities to "make mistakes and struggle, but eventually we may do something that we'll remember the rest of our lives." He gave a curious pitch to superstars across the company, but only took those who immediately jumped at the challenge. He was looking for "growth-minded" people as he later shared with Dweck after reading her book. Why is this significant? While you've probably never even heard of Forstall, you've certainly heard of what his team created. Forstall was a senior vice president at Apple, and the team he formed created the iPhone."
49. "People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the only one who do."
Theme# 8: If you are seeking right answers, ask right questions
50. "The quality of any answer is directly determined by the quality of the question"
51. Voltaire once wrote, "Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers." Sir Francis Bacon added, "A prudent question is one--half of wisdom."
52. "Life is a question and how we live is our answer. How we phrase the questions we ask ourselves determines the answers that eventually become our life."
53. "Anyone who dreams of an uncommon life eventually discovers there is no choice but to seek an uncommon approach to living it."
54. "What's the ONE Thing I can do / such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary."
55. "Most people struggle to comprehend how many things don't need to be done, if they could just start by doing the right thing."
Theme#9: Power of purpose...
56. "The most productive people start with purpose and use it like a compass. They allow purpose to be the guiding force in determining the priority that drives their actions. This is the straightest path to extraordinary results."
58. "One of our biggest challenges is making sure our life's purpose doesn't become a beggar's bowl, a bottomless pit of desire continually searching for the next thing that will make us happy. That's a losing proposition."
59. "Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.- Alan Lakein"
60. "Love with purpose and you know where you want to go. Live by priority and you'll know what to do to get there."
61. "Purpose without priority is powerless."
Theme# 10: Do less with more time...
62. "My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do.- Francine Jay"
63. "Extraordinarily successful people launch their year by taking time out to plan their time off. Why? They know they'll need it and they know they'll be able to afford it. In truth, the most successful people simply see working between vacations."
64. "In A Geography of Time, Robert Levine points out that most people work on "clock" time- "It's five o'clock, I'll see you tomorrow"- while others work on "event" time- "My work is done when it's done.""
65. "Paul Graham's 2009 essay "Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule" underscores the need for large time blocks. Graham divides all work into two buckets: maker (do or create) and manager (oversee or direct). "Maker" time requires large blocks of the clock to write code, develop ideas, generate leads, recruit people, produce products, or execute on projects and plans. This time tends to viewed in half-day increments. "Manager time", on the other hand, gets divided into hours. This time typically has one moving from meeting to meeting, and because those who oversee or direct tend to have power and authority, they are in position to make everyone resonate at their frequency."
66. "To experience extraordinary results, be a maker in the morning and a manager in the afternoon."
Theme# 11: Don't be a victim. Be accountable.
67. "Highly productive people don't accept the limitations of their natural approach as the final word on their success. When they hit a ceiling of achievement, they look for new models and systems, better ways to do things to push them enough."
68. "When life happens, you can be either the author of your life or the victim of it. Those are your only two choices- accountable or unaccountable. This may sound harsh, but it's true."
69. "The accountable manager looks for solutions. More important, she assumes she's a part of the solution: What can I do? The moment she finds the right tactic, she acts."
70. "Granted, "victim" is a tough word. Please know that I'm describing the attitude, not the person, though if kept up long enough these could become one and the same ting. No one is a born victim it's simply an attitude or an approach. But if allowed to persist, the cycle becomes a habit."
Theme# 13: Saying "No" is often hard but right
71. "Focus is a matter of deciding what things you're not going to do- John Carmack"
72. "No one knew how to go small better than Steve Jobs. He was famously as proud of the products he didn't pursue as he was of the transformative products Apple created. In the two years after his return in 199, he took the company from 350 products to ten. That's 340 nos, not counting anything else during that period. At the 1997 MacWorld Developers Conference, he explained, "When you think about focusing, you think, 'Well, focusing is saying "yes", No! Focusing is about saying no. Jobs was after extraordinary results and he knew there was only one way to get there. Jobs was a "no" man."
73. "Master marketer Seth Godin says, "You can say no with respect, you can say no promptly, and you can say no with a lead to someone who might say yes. But just saying yes because you can't bear the short-term pain of saying no is not going to help you do the work." Godin gets it. You can keep your yes and say no in a way that works for you and for others. "
Miscellaneous Quotes that i liked:
74. "Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.- Walter Elliot"
75. "When i first began to time block, the most effective thing I did was put up a sheet of paper that said, "Until My ONE Thing Is Done- Everything Else is A Distraction"
76. "The people who achieve extraordinary results don't achieve them by working more hours. Tey achieve them by getting more done in the hours they work."
77. "Michelangelo once said, "If the people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem wonderful at all."
78. "Mastery is a pursuit that keeps giving, because it's a path that never ends. In his landmark book Mastery, George Leonard tells the story of Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo. According to legend, as Kano approached death, he called his students around him and asked to be buried in his white belt. The symbolism wasn't lost. The highest-ranking martial artist of his discipline embraced the emblem of the beginner for his life and beyond, because to him journey of the successful lifelong learner was never over."
79. "The truth is, it's a package deal. When you strive for greatness, chaos is guaranteed to show up."
80. "Oscar-winning filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola warns us that "anything you build on at large scale or with intense passion invites chaos."
81. "If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then is an empty desk a sign?- Albert Einstein"
82. "The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.- William James"
83. "If the people you spend your time with are high achievers, their achievements can influence your own."
84. "No one succeeds alone and no one fails alone. Pay attention to the people around you."
85. "Screenwriter Leo Rosten pulled everything together for us when he said, "I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy, I think the purpose of the life is to be useful, to be responsible, o be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all."
86. "To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping.- Chinese Proverb"
87. "Living large is that simple. Let me share a way you can do this. Write down your
88. "One evening an elder Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people. He said, "My son, the battles is between two wolves inside us. One is Fear. It carries anxiety, concern, uncertainty, hesitancy, indecision and inaction. The other one is Faith. It brings calm, conviction, confidence, enthusiasm, decisiveness, excitement and action." The grandson thought about it for a moment and then meekly asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?". The old Cherokee replied, "The one you feed.""
89. "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.- T.S. Eliot"
90. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover"- Mark Twain
91. "Go live a life worth living where, in the end, you'll be able to say, "I'm glad I did, ""not "I wish I had."
92. "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."
93. "Habits require much less energy and effort to maintain than to begin"
94. "People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.- F.M. Alexander"
95. Be like a postage stamp- stick to one thing until you get there- Josh Billings