How Just One Thing Can Change Your Life Forever?

DEAN BOKHARI  has a great book summary about The ONE Thing, THE SURPRISINGLY SIMPLE TRUTH BEHIND EXTRAORDINARY RESULTS – by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

book summary - the one thing 

I like the 3 points of what the author says

1. “Success is sequential, not simultaneous”

2. “Focus is a matter of deciding what things you’re NOT going to do.”

3. “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.”

Summary-in-a-Sentence: Think BIG, but focus on ONE SPECIFIC thing at a time. 

Big ideas:

  • The Focusing Question
  • Use The 80/20 Principle
  • Figure out what’s most important + give it your undivided attention
  • A small dose of discipline develops into a long-lasting habit
  • Life is a question
  • Iceberg-ing and living by priority
  • Goal setting to the now
  • Time blocking, mastery, and being accountable
  • the four thieves of productivity
  • It’s about the journey
  • No regrets


“What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

The Domino Effect

The key to success is figuring out your ONE most important thing in your business/career/life over the long-run. Think of this as your “someday” goal.  Once you’ve figured that out, you need to identify how many dominoes you need to line up – and then knock down – in order to achieve it. 

The ONE Thing In Action

American businessman Bill Gates is a great example of The ONE Thing lifestyle in action.

  • Bill’s ONE passion in high school was computers.
  • This led him to develop ONE skill, computer programming.
  • In high school, he got ONE job in the computer programing field.
  • Which led to him eventually starting ONE company – Microsoft.
  • Bill’s company, Microsoft focussed on ONE thing — the development and sale of BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800,
  • which eventually made Bill the ONE richest man in the world for 15 years in a row.
  • After Bill retired from Microsoft, he and his wife Melinda formed ONE foundation that focused on ONE Thing: to tackle some of the world’s “really tough problems” like health and education.
  • The majority of the foundation’s money went to ONE area, their Global Health Program — which had ONE goal: the use science and technology to save lives in poor countries…
  • To do this, they settled on find a solution to the ONE major cause of death — infectious disease…
  • The ONE solution they came up with was vaccination. Because it’s the ONE most impactful thing they can put their money towards to solve their ONE ultimatefocus: to tackle some of the world’s “really tough problems.”



In case you’re not familiar with Gary Keller (author of this book), he’s the founder of Keller-Williams Real Estate. And the quote above is an example of how he dug into the 80/20 Principle to take Keller-Williams to the top of their industry. Keller tells us we don’t need a To-Do List, we need a Success List — a list purposely designed around your highest leverage activities… how do you find your highest leverage activities? By using the good of ’ 80/20 principle.

How The 80/20 Principle Works

If you haven’t heard of the 80/20 principle (aka Pareto’s Principle), it’s pretty simple: the 80/20 principle says that the MINORITY of your effort leads to the MAJORITY of your results…

So what are those handful of things that you can extract from your to-do list that would have the BIGGEST impact on your results? Figure out those high-leverage activities, and you’ve just turned your to-do list into a success list.

And once you’re done doing that, Keller recommends that you take your success list and whittle that down even further – taking the 20% of the 20% of the 20% until you’ve gotten it down to the vital few.


Keller continues, “You can do two things at once, but you can’t focus effectively on two things at once. We’re right when we say something is “front and center” or “top of mind,” because that’s where focus occurs–in the prefrontal cortex. When you focus, it’s like shining a spotlight on what matters. You can actually give attention to two things, but that is what’s called “divided attention.” And make no mistake. Take on two things and your attention gets divided. Take on a third and something gets dropped.”



In other words, when you see people that seem like they’re super DISCIPLINED, what you’re really observing is people who conditioned a handful of HABITS into their lives.

Selecting Disciplines & Turning Them Into Habits

“Success is actually a short race — a sprint fueled by discipline just long enough for habit to kick in and take over.”

So here’s the trick if you want to create a habit — you’ll need to use your will-power/discipline juice in the beginning. This is hard. But keep at it. According to research, it takes, on average, 66 days to develop a discipline into a habit. 


The Focusing Question: “What’s the ONE Thing You can do / such that by doing it / everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

For example: hiring an assistant to handle your calls and emails is a levered action that frees up the time you used to put into calls and emails, thus making it easier for you to focus on growing your business.



Every organization wants the two P’s – Productivity and Profit, but most organizations haven’t got a clue that there are two additional P’s that come first, and serve as foundation for the second two. Those two P’s are Purpose and Priority.

Take a look at this drawing of an iceberg:


See how Purpose is the foundation?


When you have a strong Purpose, you can become clear about your highest Priority.

When you’re clear about those two, you’ll become a more Productive person.

And when you become a Productive person, you produce more value in the marketplace.

And the only way to produce real and consistent value in the marketplace, is to Prioritize your activities based around your most important goals (yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily).

And when you Prioritize based on what’s most important to you — then you’re driven by Purpose.

… And by-golly, when you’ve got this pattern down-pat, you do indeed, begin generating Profit. Cha-ching!




“By thinking through the filter of Goal Setting to the Now, you set a future goal and then methodically drill down to what you should be doing right now. The ONE Thing “right now” is nested inside your ONE Thing TODAY, which is nested inside your ONE Thing this WEEK, which is nested inside your ONE Thing this MONTH… it’s how a small thing can actually build up to a big one… You’re lining up your dominoes.“

Here’s how you want to “line up your dominoes” within the context of your professional life (by the way, it’s the same thing for your personal life or any other area of improvement):

    SOMEDAY GOAL: what’s the ONE thing I want to do someday? 
    FIVE-YEAR GOAL: Based on my Someday Goal, what’s the ONE thing I can do in the next 5 years?
    ONE-YEAR GOAL: Based on my Five-Year Goal, what’s the ONE thing I can do in this year?
    MONTHLY GOAL: Based on my One-Year Goal, what’s the ONE thing I can do this month?
    WEEKLY GOAL: Based on my Monthly Goal, what’s the ONE thing I can do this week?
    DAILY GOAL: Based on my Weekly Goal, what’s the ONE thing I can do today?
    RIGHT NOW: Based on my Daily Goal, what’s the ONE thing I can do right now?

Now all you need to do is knock each domino down until you’ve hit your Someday Goal. Should keep you pretty busy, eh?



Michelangelo once said, “if the people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem wonderful at all.”

Go From “E” To “P”

Keller says that most people have an Entrepreneurial “E” mindset, and that in order to be more productive and effective at what we do, we should adopt a Purposeful “P” mindset.

To give you an example of “E” to “P”, imagine you’ve just been asked to go chop some firewood. An “E” would grab an axe and start chopping away. While a “P” would leave the axe behind and look for a chainsaw instead.

Be Accountable

“Accountable people achieve results others can only dream of. When life happens, you can be either the author of your life or the victim of it.  Let’s take responsibility for our outcomes. Because when we do that, we put ourselves in control.

Let’s take a super simple example: let’s say you’re at work and now that you have read these notes, and you have decided that you’re going to time block your most important one thing for any given day, and you get it all setup and you start getting to work and then all the sudden – somebody comes down the hallway lingers over your desk starts asking you questions that don’t really matter or requesting that you go out on a break with them – – what do you do? Do you tell them “yes” or do you tell them “no”? Answering “ yes” when you know you should be focusing on your ONE Thing, puts your co-worker in control. Answering “no” puts you in charge.

People who write their goals down are 39.5% more likely to succeed.. People who write their goals AND share their progress with people that they’ve chosen to hold them accountable, are 76.7% more likely to achieve them. Wowzers! Double your effectiveness. Share your goals + progress. Do it!!!


“One-half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it.”

  1. Inability to Say “No”
  2. Fear of Chaos
  3. Poor Health Habits
  4. Environment Doesn’t Support Your Goals

Inability to Say “No”.  

As a rule of thumb, Keller recommends that we avoid saying yes to most things unless they’re connect to your ONE Thing. 

Fear of Chaos.  

Shit happens. Messes occur. Wives (and husbands)  get angry. These things happen. But it doesn’t mean you should give up on your ONE Thing. Chaos is natural. In fact, the more you focus on your ONE Thing, the more of it you might get. That’s okay. Protect your precious time blocks and remain productive. In time, you’ll learn to deal with the chaos in your own unique way. But don’t let chaos control you. YOU control the chaos… by focusing on your ONE Thing.

Poor Health Habits. 

Keller says that “Personal energy mismanagement is a silent thief of productivity” and I couldn’t agree more. Your health and your success are intertwined with one another and depend on each to survive and thrive. For maximum energy management and productivity, plan your days include the following:  

  • 1. Meditate / pray for spiritual energy.  
  • 2. Eat right, exercise, and sleep sufficiently for physical energy.
  • 3. Spend time with friends and family for emotional energy.
  • 4. Set goals, plan, and calendar for mental energy.
  • Time block your ONE Thing for business energy.

Environment Doesn’t Support Your Goals. 

Did you know that if one of your close friends becomes obese, you’re 57% more likely to do the same? Crazy, eh? This is because the people we see and spend time with most tend to set our standards. Raise your standards and listen to Oprah’s advice: “Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher.”


“…at any moment in time there can be only ONE Thing, and when that ONE Thing is in line with your purpose and sits atop your priorities, it will be the most productive thing you can do to launch you toward the best you can be. Actions build on action. Habits build on habit. Success builds on success.”“I want you to do something. I want you to close your eyes and imagine your life as big as it can possible be. As big as you have ever dared to dream , and then some. Can you see it? Now, open your eyes and listen to me. Whatever you can see, you have the capacity to move toward. And when what you go for is as vast as you can possibly envision, you’ll be living the biggest life you can possibly live. Living large is that simple.”



Keller mentions an excerpt from a book written by Bronnie Ware titled “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying”. Without further ado, here they are:


  1. “I wish that I’d let myself be happier”
  2. “I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends”
  3. “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings”
  4. “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard”
  5. “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

Print that out and put it on your desk.

This conclused DEAN BOKHARI  summary 🙂

Best Regards,


P.S. This system helps you make a good income daily if you take time, the one thing, and work on it. Hit it here to continue…

Life Hacks 🙂

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