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In a world full of optionality and distraction, being able to focus on one thing is a superpower: Lessons from The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

"The One Thing" is a fascinating book written by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. The book offers practical advice on how to achieve success and productivity in both your personal and professional life. 

As the name suggests, the book is about priority and focus. The authors assert by focusing on just one thing at a time, you can streamline your efforts and achieve more in less time. 

The book draws on personal anecdotes and research from a wide range of fields to illustrate the benefits of a laser-like focus on one key objective. It encourages readers to prioritize their tasks, eliminate distractions, and develop a habit of doing one thing at a time to reach their goals faster and more efficiently. 

The authors explain that by focusing on the most important thing, you can achieve extraordinary results and live a more fulfilling life. 

"The One Thing" is a valuable book for anyone looking to simplify life and achieve more with a systemic effort.

In this article, I put together some of the key lessons I’ve learned from reading the book. These lessons have helped me to be more effective and efficient and I hope they’ll equally help if you decide to apply them.  

(1) “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either.”

(2) “Go narrow and deep. Ignore all the things that you could do, and do only the things that you should do.”

(3) “Not all things matter equally. Find those that matter the most.”

(4) “You only have so much time and energy. When you spread yourself out, you end up being thin.”

(5) “No one is self-made. No one succeeds alone. No one. There are many people, wishes, and hundreds of situations that must fall in place for you to succeed.”

(6) “The line between passion and skill is often blurred. Passion leads to disproportional practice leading to higher skills leading to better results, which feeds passion further. This chain reaction spirals to extraordinary results.”

(7) “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that don't. Everything does not matter equally. Prioritise.”

(8) “Most important things do not often scream the loudest.”

(9) “Being busy is not enough. So are the ants.”

(10) “Multitasking is a myth. A human mind can focus on one task at a time. Only involuntary tasks or automated tasks can happen in parallel.”

(11) “Task switching costs us valuable time to reach the same productivity level as we were before we left the task.”

(12) “Select the right task, work consistently on it, make it a habit, and then you are liberated from having to monitor it ever. It is automated in your brain.”

(13) “Will power is not available on will. It keeps getting diminished throughout the day as you use it.”

(14) “Do your toughest task in the morning when your willpower is at its peak.”

(15) “A Balanced life is a myth. The reason why we should not pursue balance is that magic happens, not in the middle, but in the extremes.”

(16) “To achieve extraordinary results, you must choose what matters most and give it all the time it demands. This requires getting extremely out of balance in relation to other work issues. You may infrequently counterbalance to address them.”

(17) “No one knows their ultimate ceiling for achievement. Giving it a shot is the only way to get an idea.”

(18) “On the journey to achieving big, you get bigger. Achieving big requires growth, and by the time you arrive, you will be big too!”

(19) “People who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the only ones who do.”

(20) “Think big. Aim high. Act bold”

(21) “Keep your most important appointment with your No. 1 priority.. every day without fail”

(22) “Until your most important thing of the day is done, everything else is a distraction”

(23) “Turn off your phone, shut down your email, and close your browser. Your most important work deserves 100% of your attention”

(24) “Focus is about deciding what things you are not going to do.”

(25) “When you strive for greatness, clutter is bound to appear because of your extreme focus on one thing. If a cluttered desk is an indicator of a cluttered mind, what, then represents an empty desk?”

(26) “It is only when you can visualize a bigger life, you can hope to live one.”

(27) “Whenever you look back at your life, the things that might cause you the biggest regrets are the things you did not do. Your actions may be stupid, but it is your inaction that will cause you to regret them.”

(28) “When you don't know what matters most, anything makes sense. The best lives aren't led this way.”

(29) “Secret to getting ahead is getting started.” 

(30) “Growth happens when you focus on taking the right action.”

Ayrin Saleha Ria works at Future Startup as a full-time Research Associate. She has a background in Applied Sociology. Before joining the FS team, she worked and volunteered with a number of social organizations. As someone who comes from a social science background, she takes a deep interest in research around important social-economic challenges in our society. A voracious reader, Ayrin is passionate about working for the betterment of society, takes a deep interest in human society and behavioral science, and loves books.

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