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The ONE Thing

The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results

By Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
  • Read in 18 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 12 key ideas
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The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
Synopsis

The ONE Thing (2013) helps you to discover your most important goal, and gives you tools to ensure you can use your time productively to get there. The book reveals that many of the maxims we accept as good practice are actually myths that only hinder our progress. It also provides advice on how to live your life with priority, purpose and productivity without sending other aspects of life out of balance, because this is the way to perform the kind of focused work that leads to great success.

Key idea 1 of 12

Failing to think big can limit your opportunities.

When Arthur Guinness set up his first brewery, he clearly had grander plans than producing a few barrels of stout: he signed a 9,000 year lease on the building. Similarly, when J. K. Rowling conceived the idea of Harry Potter, she envisioned seven books about life at Hogwarts before she wrote even the first chapter of the first one.

Both of these people went on to be extraordinarily successful, and this was in no small part because they were not afraid of thinking big: starting out with a grand vision of success before even beginning to work toward it. It’s hard to imagine that they would have achieved such great success had they failed to think so big in the first place. 

Yet, for most people, the thought of big ideas or big achievements is daunting and has negative associations, such as feeling overwhelmed and intimidated. These negative thoughts often prevent people from thinking big.

When we fail to think big and allow these negative associations to dominate us, our thinking shrinks and we lower our trajectories. We actively limit our potential achievement, condemning ourselves to mediocrity.

Consider science and how much of its progress would have stalled if someone hadn’t dared to think of previously unimaginable possibilities, like that humans could breathe underwater, fly through the air or explore space. History tells us that we’ve done a remarkably poor job of estimating our limits, so we should not let the limits we perceive constrain our aspirations.

Success requires action, and action requires thought. But in order to achieve extraordinary results, our actions have to be based on big thinking in the first place.

Failing to think big can limit your opportunities.

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