The One Thing: (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #26)

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. Gary Keller & Jay Papasan notes By Kingston S Lim

Below are my personal notes of The One Thing These highlights were what I used to write my personal development book, Wiser Next Week, a condensation of many different self improvement books.


  • Where I had huge success, I had narrowed my concentration to one thing
  • Extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus

Myth: Everything matters equally

  • Go small: don’t focus on being busy, focus on being productive. Allow what matters most to drive your day
  • Go Extreme: Once you’ve found what matters, keep asking what matters most until there is only 1 thing left. This is your core activity
  • Recognize that checking off a to do list leads to attempting to accomplishing everything and achieving nothing. 

Myth: Multitasking

  • You can do two things at once, but you can’t focus effectively on two things at once
  • If you try doing too much at once, you end up doing nothing well. Figure out what matters most and give it your undivided attention

Myth: A Disciplined Life

  • You need discipline just long enough for habit to kick in so we don’t think about it
  • Habit makes the hard stuff easy
    • It is the mental barriers, the perceived difficulty, rather than the task that is difficult. Mini habits lower this barrier

Myth: Unlimited Willpower, Willpower at Will Call

  • Every decision drains our mental capacity
  • Do what matters most first when willpower is at its highest, ie. in the morning

Focusing Question:

  • Life is a question and how we live it is our answer
  • What is the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
    • Your actions become a natural progression of building one right thing atop a previous right thing, a domino effect
  • The Focus Question is 2 fold:
    • Big Picture: Finding the right direction in life (Leadership)
    • Small Focus: Finding the right action (Management)
    • It keeps you focused on what’s most important

Living With Purpose:

  • Happiness is found on the way to fulfillment
  • Purpose is the one thing you want in life found through the Focus Question

Living By Priority:

  • When you’re purposely going somewhere, there will always be something you “should do”

Goal Setting to the Now:

  1. Someday Goal: What’s the One Thing I want to do someday?
  2. 5 Year Goal: Based on my Someday Goal, what’s the One Thing I can do in the next 5 years.
  3. 1 Year Goal: Based on my 5 Year Goal, what’s the One Thing I can do this year?
  4. Monthly Goal: Based on my 1 Year Goal, what’s the One Thing I can do this month?
  5. Weekly Goal: Based on my Monthly Goal, what’s the One Thing I can do this week?
  6. Daily Goal: Based on my Weekly Goal, what’s the One Thing I can do today?
  7. Right Now: Based on my Daily Goal, what’s the One Thing I can do right now?
  • Everything worthwhile that was ever accomplished required through planning, begin achieving now by reverse engineering your biggest goal into the smallest actionable step
  • Create your domino effect, one step, one punch, one round at a time
  • Connect today with all your tomorrows. It matters
  • Train your mind on how to think, how to connect one goal with the next over time until you know the most important thing you must do right now. Think big, but go small

Live for Productivity:

  • Block out a portion of your workday dedicated to exclusively working on your One Thing
    • Preferably in the morning, when your willpower is highest
    • You need just enough discipline to make it a habit and keep it a habit

Commitment and Master

  • Time on a task, over time, eventually beats talent every time
  • The path of mastering something is the combination of not only doing the best you can do, but also doing it the best it can be done

Saying No:

  • Remember that when you say yes to something, you’re saying no to everything else.

If these brief notes, peaked your interest in The One Thing, you can check it out on Amazon here.

And be sure to check out my book, Wiser Next Week.


All Previous Entries:

The Magic of Thinking Big: Ultra Condensed Cliff Notes #1

Millionaire Fastlane: Ultra Condensed Cliff Notes #2

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #3

30 Lessons for Living: Tried & True Advice from the Wisest Americans: Ultra Condensed Cliff Notes #4

Awaken the Giant Within: Ultra Condensed Cliff Notes #5

The End of Jobs: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #6

Slipstream Time Hacking: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #7

Think and Grow Rich: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #8

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #9

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #10

The Obstacle is the Way: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #11

Meditations: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #12

Why Loyalty Matters: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #13

Walden: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #14

Self Reliance and Other Essays: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #15

Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #16

Letters From A Stoic: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #17

On the Shortness of Life: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #18

Principles Life & Work: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #19

As A Man Thinketh: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #20

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreements without Giving In (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #21)

The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking: (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #22)

Man’s Search for Meaning: (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #23)

Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results: (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #24)

Unlimited Memory: (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #25)


3 thoughts on “The One Thing: (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #26)

  1. Pingback: You Are Not Your Brain: The 4 Step Solution for Changing Bad Habits: (Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #27) – Kingston S. Lim

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