What's the one thing?

If you’re reading this it’s probably for one of two reasons. It may be because you’re looking for the one thing that will make the biggest difference to your business, career, life. In that case, read on: it’s quick and simple (though not always easy) to implement. Or it may be because you are intrigued – “What is this one thing?”.

Let’s deal with that first, because it will help explain what this is all about.

There’s a very strong psychological pull to discovering “The One Thing”. We don’t want solutions to our problems or challenges to be complex or multi-stepped. We’re too busy and already thinking about too many things. We want simple and effective. So if there is just one thing that I can do to change everything for the better then I’m interested. Even better, if there is one thing I can stop doing, then I can simplify my business and not have to change or disrupt things too much. Sounds awesome!

Someone I consider to be a mentor taught me the power of this some time ago. He gave the example:

  • Discover the one thing not to eat on a plane – ignore this advice and you’re in for hours of trouble.

You’re in, right. You’re intrigued. You want to know what not to eat, right. Well, I’ll tell you in a moment, but back to our topic…

We want to know the one thing and so we read the article or ebook, we watch the video or listen to the podcast. The psychological pull works so well that a book has been published called “The One Thing” by Gary Keller. It’s subtitled “The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results”.

It’s a good book, with lot’s of good advice. The central piece is to beat procrastination and dithering by asking yourself this focusing question:

  • What’s the one thing I can do right now such that by doing it, everything else becomes easier or unnecessary?

Try it, I’d love to know how you get on. Some of you will find it useful. Many of you, however, will actually find it paralysing.” “Damn it, I can’t think of ONE thing that will make EVERYTHING else easier or unnecessary”. For you there are just too many possibilities. That’s a good thing, don’t beat yourself up. Your brain works in a different way – that’s something to use to your advantage. Don’t know how, give me a call.

Try this experiment. Do a Google search for “The One Thing” and once you get past the references to the book, you’ll discover for yourself the compelling nature of “The One Thing” in the search results. Here are a few of the top results (after the book references) right now:

  • The one thing that can save America
  • The one thing you never noticed about beauty products
  • The one thing Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie actually agree on
  • Samir Nasri explains the one thing holding Arsenal back from winning
  • The one thing this entrepreneur does each day to stay productive
  • The one thing that experts want you to stop eating in 2017 (there are many more than one listed here by the way!).
  • The one thing that never fails to turn a woman on
  • The one thing that will ruin a relationship or marriage

I’m guessing that at least one of those piqued your curiosity depending upon your interests… Are you getting how powerful it is…

So, getting back to our title, what’s the one thing to stop doing in your business right now that will catapult you to the next level? It’s this…

Stop looking for the one thing (and stop reading articles, watching videos, etc, promising the one thing – make this your last). It doesn’t exist. Life and business are not black and white or one dimensional! They involve a rich interplay of inter-connecting factors. Can they be simplified? Yes, absolutely, and we should, but not to one thing.

However, it’s also true that multi-tasking (paying attention to two or more tasks requiring conscious thought at the same time) is a myth. So at some point you have to choose one thing to do. But not for longer than it takes to do that thing and after that there has to be the next thing. And you have to know what that next thing is and the next – you have to stay aware of them all.

It is then a truism in time-management that there will be ultimately one thing. So as a time management exercise, do make a list of all the things you must do, should do, could do and then pick one to do. Now, maybe it will be the one that will make everything else easier or unnecessary. Or maybe it will be the most urgent. Or the one you can tick off really quickly. Or the easiest. Or hardest. Or the one you’ll enjoy most. Or the one that once done, the rest of the day will feel great. Just don’t do the one that’ll make no difference to you or anyone else! I’m sure you wouldn’t anyway.

One more thought about the One Thing. While you’re going to stop searching for the one thing, don’t forget the powerful psychological pull it can have in  your own marketing. Your customers are looking for simple solutions too – if you can, offer them the one thing.

And that’s just another illustration of my belief that if we look at things from only one perspective, as one-dimensional, there is the possibility of missing so much – there can be real value in looking at the abundance of things.

Enjoy the multi-faceted nature of your life and business. Don’t lose that in your drive to simplify.

And finally, I’m sure you’re dying to know what the one thing not to eat on a plane is… Apparently, it is food!

So there it is – The One Thing. In the process, we’ve covered psychology, marketing, time management, multi-tasking, business improvement, a book review and the rich tapestry of life in less than 1000 words. I hope you found that a worthwhile use of your time – now go and do lots of things, but not all at once…