The ONE Thing Book Review

This is my third book review and I am loving it! If you haven’t already, make sure you read the first two reviews on the below books:

Red Queen

My Husband’s Wife

the one thing book review on themilleraffect.com

The ONE Thing Book Review

This book was amazing. I HIGHLY recommend everyone buy it and buy a pack of highlighters to use. I highlighted so much in this book. I want to take so many of these quotes and write them on post-its and sprinkle them throughout my home, haha!

Kindles and Nooks are great, but you will want a hard copy of this one guys! Buy it HERE ON SALE ON AMAZON or at any local bookstore!

I am going to share a cliff-notes version of this book, but there is so much more to see. You really will need the entire book to do it justice.

The ONE Thing

*Anything in quotations are clips from The ONE Thing.

“Be like a postage stamp- stick to one thing until you get there.” -Josh Billings

This  book is about focusing on ONE THING in order to get extraordinary results. Here is how he explains it:

Chapter 1

“What’s the ONE Thing you can do this week such that by doing it everything else would be easier or necessary.” Take this and start as small as what’s the one thing I can do today, and then expand it until you are asking what is the one thing I can do this year…

-You can achieve success by ‘going small.’ “It is recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most.”

-“You only have so much energy, so when you spread yourself out, you spread yourself thin.”

-“You need to be doing things for more effect instead of doing more things with side effects.”

What it means to me:

Chapter 1 blew my mind. I never thought about focusing on just one thing. I always had my huge to-do list every day and would pride myself in being able to check everything off the list. Of course things were suffering for it, but that is because I thought I was just too busy to be able to focus on certain things.

I was definitely spreading myself thin every day. I had a million things to do it and would always make sure they all got done. I thought I was being productive. This book later taught me that I was being the opposite of productive!

“Instead of doing more things with side effects.” Ok.. he is definitely talking to me here. Do you ever feel like as soon as you check one thing off of your list it has created five or more bullet points underneath that now need to be dealt with? It was never ending! My list was constantly growing! Now I know why! Keep reading..

Chapter 2

Chapter 2 is all about the ‘Domino Effect.’ It talks about how going small (like starting with one domino) can lead to extraordinary results in the end. He uses the analogy of a two inch tall domino being about to eventually knock down a domino as tall as mount everest. You just have to start small in order to make big changes.

Chapter 3

This chapter gives you tons of examples of companies who have used the idea of The ONE Thing. Walt Disney credits his success to ONE PERSON, Colonel Sanders started KFC with ONE Chicken recipe, and so on.

PART 1, The Lies- They Mislead and Derail Us

This section is all about lies we have put into our heads that have prevented us from thinking The ONE Thing was possible.

Chapter 4

Lie #1- Everything Matters Equally

-“When you have a lot to get done in the day, how do you decide what to do first? ”

-“Overbooked, overextended, and overcommitted. ‘In the weeds’ overwhelmingly becomes our collective condition.”

-“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 is on our list. Instead of a to-do list, you need a success list- a list that is purposefully created around extraordinary results.” Take the items on your to-do list and break them up into Could Do or Should Do. The short Should Do list is now your success list. “No matter how many to-dos you start with, you can always narrow it to ONE. Don’t get trapped in the check-off game.”

-“Whether you say ‘later’ or ‘never’, the point is to say ‘not now’ to anything else you could do until your most important work is done.”

What it means to me:

Now I can’t really remember how I would decide what to get done first? And why did I decide to do it that way? My workflow throughout the day had no rhyme or reason!

‘In the weeds’ is a term I would use quite often. Why? Was I really ‘in the weeds’ or did I just feel like I always had to get everything done when I really didn’t?

This entire to-do chapter completely threw me. I grew up on the to-do list! This went against everything I had done my entire life. I feel like that alone completely changed the way I looked at ‘being busy’ vs ‘being productive’. Basically my to-do list was just busy work. It wasn’t really helping me get to any of my goals.

From now on, I will have small success lists and everything else will have to wait!

Chapter 5

Lie #2- Mutlitasking

MULTITASKING IS A LIE. Soak that in guys! This chapter is amazing and goes into detail on why ‘being a multitasker’ is NOT something to brag about!

-“Multitasking is merely the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time.”- Steve Uzzell

-“Researchers estimate that workers are interrupted every 11 minutes and then spend almost a third of their day recovering from their distractions.”

-“Multitasking doesn’t save time, it wastes time.”

-“Task switching exacts a cost few realize they’re even paying.”

-“Bounce between one activity and another and you lose time as your brain reorients to the new task. Those milliseconds add up. Researchers estimate we lose 28% of an average workday to multitasking ineffectiveness.”

What it means to me:

So glad I am not in the office any more. Every 11 minutes? That is crazy! I still have my fair share of distractions though. It may be a little less than 11 minutes but it still making me task switch. Later the book shares how you can prevent the distractions from occurring as frequent so that you can get your ONE THING done.

28%. Can you believe that? You lose 28% of your day due to the thing we used to brag about on resumes! Think about how much more productive you can be when you focus on one thing at a time. Think about how much better that one thing will be?

The book goes on to talk about how we don’t want a surgeon to be operating on someone and watching a tv show at the same time. So why wouldn’t we ask the same for ourselves?

It also talks about how much attention our brain will actually give a person that is speaking to us when we are texting. Since reading this chapter I have started putting my phone down and looking away from the tv whenever Troy is speaking to me. You just can’t give BOTH things your attention at the time time.

Chapter 6

Lie #3- A Discipled Life

-“The truth is we don’t need any more discipline than we already have. We just need to direct and manage it a little better.”

-“When we know something that needs to be done but isn’t currently getting done, we often say, ‘I just need more discipline.” Actually, we need the habit of doing it. And we need just enough discipline to build the habit.”

-“It requires 66 days to acquire a new habit.”

-“It takes time to develop the right habit, so don’t give up too soon. Decide what the right one is, then give yourself all the time you need and apply all the discipline you can summon to develop it.”

What it means to me:

I loved the paragraph about not giving up. 66 days is a long time guys. I always go to the gym hard core for about three weeks and then just give up. I just can’t muster up enough discipline to make myself go anymore. If I had given it another month I would have built a habit out of it and it wouldn’t have taken any discipline at all!

I need to start making the right habits. Like working out every morning, eating breakfast, writing my blog post first thing in the morning, etc.

Chapter 7

Lie #4- Willpower is Always on Will-Call.

This was my FAVORITE chapter and I feel like it will change my life (kind of already has!)

-“Willpower is so important that using it effectively should be a high priority.”

-“Willpower is a timing issue.”

-“Everyone accepts that limited resources must be managed, yet we fail to recognize willpower as one of them.”

-“While decisions tap our willpower, the food we eat is also a key player in our level of willpower. Food for thought.”

-“When our willpower runs out, we all revert to our default settings. Will you be up for focusing on the work at hand or down for any distraction that drops in?”

-“You make doing what matters most a priority when your willpower is highest.”

-“So, if you want to get the most our of your day, do your most important work- YOUR ONE THING- early, before your willpower is drawn down.”

What it means to me:

I know that is probably choppy for you guys. But let me explain what I learned from this chapter:

Our willpower is like a battery. When we start the day our willpower is at it’s highest peak. As the day progresses, every decision we make draws on our willpower. By the end of the day we are depleted and need sleep to re-charge.

Food also feeds our willpower and gives it a little boost.

When you wake up and eat breakfast your willpower is highest. Do your MOST IMPORTANT WORK OF THE DAY NOW. Then, re-charge at lunch and boost your willpower to get done everything else.

This has seriously given me a different view of life. I would usually wait until the end of the day to write my blog post. By then, my willpower was depleted. I would easily get distracted so the post wouldn’t get written or it would be short and half-a$$. I wasn’t giving it the time, attention, and willpower that it deserved! Your LEAST IMPORTANT tasks should be left for the end of the day.

This also applied to Troy here in Maui. I would ask him to take two photos each day. The morning photo was easy. We would both be in a good mood and we would easily find a great spot and it would take around five minutes all in. Then we would have lunch, head to the beach, drink some beers, come back to the house, hang out, shower get ready for dinner, and then go to take the second picture. You can probably image what happened then. Both of our willpower was depleted and it was always five-six hours since our last meal. We would get snappy at each other, we wouldn’t like any of the pictures, and we were always having to settle for second best.

Then I read this chapter and everything changed!

BUY THIS BOOK for this chapter alone! Recognizing the power of willpower will change your life.

Chapter 8

Lie #5-  A Balanced Life

-“We hear about balance so much we automatically assume it’s exactly what we should be seeking. It’s not. Purpose, meaning, significance- these are what makes a successful life.”

-“The problem with living in the middle is that it prevents you from making extraordinary time commitments to anything.”

-“Magic never happens in the middle. It happens at the extremes. Pursuing the extremes presents it’s own set of problems.”

-“Your personal life requires tight counterbalancing. In your personal life, nothing gets left behind. At work it’s required. You will have to take what matters at the extremes and be okay with what happens to the rest. Professional success requires it.”

-“Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you’re keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls- family, health, friends, integrity- are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.”

What it means to me:

This is a bit harder to explain without showing you all of the graphs in the book.

It mostly talks about how your life needs a counterbalancing system and needs to be tightly managed whereas work goes from one extreme to another. You have to be able to leave unnecessary things behind at work and go from one extreme to the other in order to get extraordinary results. In your life it isn’t that easy.

Balancing right in the middle of both isn’t an option if you want to be a master at something.

Chapter 9

Lie #6- Big is Bad

-“If you fear big success, you’ll either avoid it or sabotage your efforts to achieve it.”

-“None of us know our limits. No one knows their ultimate ceiling of achievement, so worrying about it is a waste of time.”

-“Thinking big is essential to extraordinary results.”

-“When J.K. Rowling conceived Harry Potter, she thought big and envisioned seven years at Hogwarts before she penned the first chapter of the first of seven books.”

-“Big goals can seem unattainable at first. Yet 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?”

-“A good rule of thumb is to double down everywhere in your life.”

What it means to me:

I think the quotes above paint a great picture of what this chapter is all about.

Don’t set boundaries for yourself. The bigger you think the more extraordinary you can be.

PART 2, The Truth, The Simple Path to Productivity

Chapter 10

-“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is all wrong. I tell you “put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket.” Look round you and take notice, men who do that do not often fail. It is easy to watch and carry the one basket. It is trying to carry too many baskets that breaks most eggs in this country.”

-“The focusing question: What is the ONE THING I can do such that doing it everything else will be easier and unnecessary?”

-“Small Focus- What’s my one thing right now. Big Focus- What’s my ONE THING?”

What it means to me:

This chapter just reiterates what this entire book is about- Finding your ONE THING but asking the focusing question above! Start thinking about what your ONE THING may be about while you read the rest of this review.

Chapter 11

-“Start each day by asking, “What is the ONE THING I can do today for [for my business, for my spiritual life, for my physical health, for my personal life, for my key relationships, for my job, for my finances (whichever you want)] such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

-“Make asking the Focusing Question a habit. Researchers say this will take 66 days to become a habit.”

What it means to me:

In this chapter he tells you to write the focusing question down and leave it next to your computer so that it is the first thing you look at before you get to work. Do this 66 times and you can trash that sheet of paper because you will have formed a habit of thinking about it!

Chapter 12- The Path to Great Answers

-“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.”- F.M. Alexander

-‘To find a great answer, ask a great question.’

“Search for clues and role models to point you in the right direction. Has anyone else studied or accomplished this or something like it? The research and experience of others is the best place to start when looking for your answer.”

What it means to me:

This chapter is about setting a goal to achieve your ONE THING.

It tells you to be big & specific with your goal.

My goal (or ONE THING) is to double my blog page views in a year. So when I turn my specific goal into the focusing question I get: What’s the ONE THING I can do to double page views in the next year such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

I made the goal more specific by adding a timeline. If I were just to say  ‘What can I do to double page views..’ there would be no end in sight and I may never reach the goal.

Now the chapter says to research to see if anyone else has accomplished this and find out how in order to start my path to success.

PART 3, Extraordinary Results- Unlocking the Possibilities Within You

Honestly it was so hard to read Part 3 only because I was SO EXCITED that I had found my ONE THING and all I wanted to do was get started on achieving my goal! So glad I did read it though because it explains HOW you can go about focusing on the ONE THING to make it possible.

“Productivity is driven by purpose and priority.”

Chapter 13, Live With Purpose

-“Becoming more engaged in what we do by finding ways to make our life more meaningful is the surest way to finding lasting happiness.”

-“The prescription for extraordinary results is knowing what matters to you and taking daily doses of actions to align with it.”

-“When what you do matches your purpose, your life just feels in rhythm, and the path you beat with your feet seems to match the sound in your head and heart.”

-“Discover your purpose by asking what drives you. What’s the thing that gets you up in the morning and keeps you going when you’re tired and worn down?”

-Purpose- The ONE THING you want your life to be about more than any other?

What it means to me:

I think they threw this chapter in there because he doesn’t want you to just create a goal or ONE THING just to have one. He wants it to be purpose driven.

For instance. You can say I want to double my income in six months. Ok… but why is that your goal? Is that going to make you happy? How does that align with your purpose?

This is such a great chapter to read because it gets you to focus on what makes you happy and why you are searching for the ONE THING in the first place!

Chapter 14, Live by Priority

-“Purpose without priority is powerless.”

-“Priority should never be plural. It means FIRST. What is the FIRST thing you should do?”

-“Goal Setting to the NOW. Right Now Goal, Daily Goal, Weekly Goal, Monthly Goal, One Year Goal, Five-Year Goal, Someday Goal.Train your mind how to think, how to connect one goal with the next over time until you know the most important thing you must to right now. You are learning how to think big , but go small.”

-“Write those goals down. Researchers found that those who wrote down their goals were 39.5% more likely to accomplish them.

What it means to me:

This chapter is about focusing your priority to the one goal to do right now that is going to help achieve your someday goal.

It has also taught me how important it is to write down your goals! 40% is no joke! The book later bumps this number up even higher… stay tuned!

Chapter 15, Live for Productivity

-“Productive action transforms lives.”

-“My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather have less to do.”

-“Time Blocking. Block four hours every morning as early as you possibly can for your ONE THING.”

-“Resting is as important as working.”

-“Block an hour each week to review your annual and monthly goals.”

-“Turn your phone off, shut down your e-mail, and exit your Internet browser. Your most important work deserves 100% of your attention.

What it means to me:

I loved and hated this chapter. It gives you great tips on how to be productive and shows me just how unproductive I used to be!

I am now going to block off four hours every morning to work on my blog. During this time I am going to have all other browsers closed, not book any appointments (if I can), not take any phone calls, and not answer any emails. The rest of the day will be to get everything else done (in the order of the success list I have made each morning!)

So excited to try this and sooooo excited to share results with you guys! I am hoping this will make my life so much easier and my day so much more productive. I am also hoping it will make my blog worth reading again!

PS- This chapter also tells you to block off vacation and why it is important to take breaks!

Chapter 16, The Three Commitments

The Three Commitments to your ONE THING:

1.Follow the Path of Mastery

-“I believe the healthy view of mastery means giving the best you have to become the best you can be at your most important work.”

-“When you commit to time block your ONE Thing, make sure you approach it with a mastery mentality.”

2.Move from E to P (Entrepreneurial to Purposeful)

-“Continually improving how you do something is critical to getting the most from time blocking.”

-“Highly productive people- When they hit a ceiling of achievement, they look for new models and systems, better ways to do things to push them through.”

-“Too many people reach a level where their performance is “good enough” and then stop working on getting better. OK Plateau.”

3.Live the Accountability Cycle

-“When life happens you can either be the author of your life or the victim of it.”

-“One of the fastest ways to bring accountability to your life is to find an accountability partner.”

-Individuals who wrote their goals down and sent progress reports to friends were 76.7% more likely to achieve them.”

What it means to me:

Hopefully everything is pretty self explanatory!

If you are going to time block for your ONE THING, be a master at it, improve on it each time, and hold yourself accountable (or find someone to hold yourself accountable!)

Chapter 17, The Four Thieves

1.Inability to Say No

-“When you say yes to something it is imperative that you know what you are saying no to.”

2.Fear of Chaos

-“When you strive for greatness, chaos is guaranteed to show up.”

-“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” – Albert Einstein

3.Poor Health Habits

-“Personal energy mismanagement is a silent thief of productivity.”

-“Get eight hours of sleep.”

4.Environment Doesn’t Support Your Goals

-“Surround yourself with the right people.”

-“Ultimately, being with success-minded people creates what researchers call a “positive spiral of success” where they lift you up and send you on your way.”

-“Don’t let your environment lead you astray.”

What it means to me:

Saying no is a huge struggle for me. I always try to respond to everyone an help them in some way. I feel so bad about saying no or ignoring a message. I have to learn to say no sometimes for sure!

Just be prepared for chaos when you are focusing on ONE THING. Your emails may pile up and things may be in disarray but you are working on something that will make everything easier in the long run!

Eat breakfast, fuel up with a workout, and then start your day! Make sure you get tons of sleep too!

Surround yourself with like-minded people who also have big goals!

Chapter 18, The Journey

This chapter just tells you to start the journey! “Life is too short with a pile of coulda, woulda, shouldas!”

I am going to leave you guys with this last quote from the book:

“One evening an elder Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us. One is Fear. It carries anxiety, concern, uncertainty, hesitancy, indecision, and inaction. The other 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.”

Grab the book HERE:

Please leave a comment below and let me know what you thought of the book or of this review! Hopefully it helped you guys like it helped me!

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