What one thing could you do today, this week, this month, this year that would have the more impact on yourself, your company, your organization?

“One of the most empowering moments of my life came when I realized that life is a question and how we live it is our answer.” So states the theme of The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, Gary Keller with Jay Papasan.

Jim Truchard, known as Dr. T within National Instruments the company he cofounded, recommended this book last May when I was down in Austin at the company’s conference.

The journey toward the ONE Thing begins with a question. Keller says, “Voltaire once wrote, ‘Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.’ Sir Francis Bacon added, ‘A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.’ Indira Gandhi concluded that ‘the power to question is the basis of all human progress.’ Great questions are clearly the quickest path to great answers.”

Keller calls this the focusing question. What are you trying to solve? Where do you want to go in life? What sort of person do you wish to be?

Find your question.

Understand and believe it . The first step is to understand the concept of the ONE Thing, then to believe that it can make a difference in your life. If you don’t understand and believe, you won’t take action. Use it. Ask yourself the Focusing Question. Start each day by asking, “What’s the ONE Thing I can do today for [whatever you want] such that by doing it everything else will be easier or even unnecessary?” When you do this, your direction will become clear. Your work will be more productive and your personal life more rewarding. Make it a habit. When you make asking the Focusing Question a habit, you fully engage its power to get the extraordinary results you want. It’s a difference maker. Research says this will take about 66 days. Whether it takes you a few weeks or a few months, stick with it until it becomes your routine. If you’re not serious about learning the Success Habit, you’re not serious about getting extraordinary results.

Keller talked about habits, something I’ve discussed regarding Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit. Or as Keller puts it, “People don’t decide their futures. They decide on their habits. Their habits determine their future.”

What one big thing will double my sales next year?

What one big thing will stabilize financing for my nonprofit?

What one big thing will be the service that defines our organization?

I have the habit of rising about 5:30 am or a little before and writing these meditations. I didn’t make it yesterday. There had been a conference in Boca Raton and the flight home took me through Chicago’s O’Hare airport. The pilot tried valiantly to get us out to the runway before the storm hit. He didn’t make it. We rode out about 2.5 hours of storm delays in the plane on the taxiway inching our way toward takeoff.

Got to say, the two flight attendants (we were on one of those little regional jets) were fantastic. There were many children on board. Naturally they all had to use the lavatory at some point. The flight attendants worked with them to get them there during breaks when the plane was stopped. Kept everyone settled. The crew had had a long day and they were tired, but they kept everything calm. 

We can’t always choose our situation, but we can always choose our reaction to it. The crew and my fellow passengers were all outstanding. Oh, and I got home at 3 am. No getting up at 5:30. I chose to sleep.

4 Responses to “”

  1. Jon Swanson Says:

    Funny to read this this morning after having just read the beginning of James and thinking about wisdom. (It makes sense in my brain)



    +++ Jon Swanson I tell Bible stories


  2. Gary Mintchell Says:

    Interesting. As soon as I saw your name in the notification about the comment, I thought about your work on Nehemiah. “For I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.”

  3. josephruizjr Says:

    Thank you for the daily habit of writing this. I don’t travel by air much anymore, but stories like this bring me back instantly. I don’t miss this part. I love the idea of one thing. Thanks for the recommendation. Glad you are back safely. Enjoy the rest. 😉

  4. Gary Mintchell Says:

    Thanks. All travel is weather dependent. You just have to adjust. I’d rather fly than drive.

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