Review: The ONE Thing by Gary Keller

The ONE Thing is a single-minded approach to life that focuses on being intensely aware, constantly experimenting with new ideas, and not succumbing to the pressures of the moment. Keller draws upon his own experiences as an entrepreneur who has doubled down on The One Thing

The “the one thing gary keller pdf” is a book by Gary Keller. The book has been on the bestseller list for 17 weeks, and has sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. This is an interesting read that will help you to focus on what’s important in life.

Gary Keller, who is he?

Gary Keller is an entrepreneur and best-selling book. He is one of the most powerful persons in real estate as the co-founder of Keller Williams Realty. In terms of agent count, closing sales volume, and units sold, Keller Williams is the biggest real estate firm in the world.

Keller has taught millions of students the principles he’s learned as a giant in the field as the author of The One Thing, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, and The Millionaire Real Estate Investor. As an entrepreneur and CEO, he leverages his knowledge to create online material, educate and train his workers, and speak in public. More information about Keller and Keller Williams Realty may be found here.

All three novels listed above include Jay Papasan as a co-author. As a public speaker and the Vice President of Keller Williams’ training and learning, he offers his knowledge. Here’s where you can discover more about Papasan.


What will The One Thing teach you?

Keller opens the book by debunking several common misconceptions about success and productivity in today’s culture. Myths about Multitasking, our own willpower, and other topics are among them.


Keller, like many other great achievers I’ve interviewed, believes that multitasking is one of the most unproductive ways to approach your job. Keller mentions the origins of the term “multitasking” and how it has taken on a new connotation since then in The One Thing.

The concept was coined in the context of computers and numerous jobs sharing a single resource alternatively (the CPU). However, through time, it has evolved to denote a single resource doing numerous tasks at the same time (a person).

When we multitask, we are essentially splitting our attention across tasks. We just go back and forth between various things since we can’t concentrate on more than one thing at a time. This implies we’ll need time to A) make a conscious choice to switch and B) recover the focus and “rules” of the new work we’ve taken on. Multitasking, on the other hand, costs us both time and efficiency.

“It’s not that we don’t have enough time to do all of our tasks; it’s that we feel compelled to complete too many tasks in the time we have.”

Page 46 of Keller’s book

So, what should you concentrate on? Of course, it’s your ONE THING!

“You can’t buy into the notion that attempting to perform two things at once is a smart idea if you want to put The ONE Thing to work.” While multitasking is sometimes conceivable, it is never viable to do it successfully.”

Page 53 of Keller’s book

Our capacity to conjure willpower is one of our most valuable assets.

Keller discusses how we handle our own willpower or mental energy at work and at home in the book. Society teaches us that we may summon our willpower at any time, or that it is “on-call,” as Keller puts it. When we work on a difficult assignment for hours on end without taking a break, or when we attend five consecutive meetings, we assume that our capacity to make excellent judgments and concentration is always available to us. Keller, on the other hand, believes that this is a falsehood. 

Instead, we should regard our willpower like a phone battery, according to Keller. In other words, as a finite but renewable resource that we may use in little amounts but will ultimately need to recharge or plug in. This period of rest or downtime during which we do not utilize it will guarantee that it is accessible when we need it again. 

This understanding of willpower has significant consequences for how we spend our time and make choices. First, since willpower and mind power are finite resources, whatever willpower or mind power we utilize today will not be accessible later. This suggests that our 7th, 8th, and 9th choices will be less successful than our first. If you’re dieting, for example, this is a more personal example. If you can avoid bad eating during the day, you may not be able to resist a treat at night. 

Second, it implies that at the start of the day, we have the willpower to perform at our best. Mornings are ideal for working on your ONE Thing since you haven’t made any important choices yet. This second point corresponds to the practices of other great achievers I’ve researched!

As a result, Keller advises that you learn to control your mental energy like any other restricted resource. This entails taking enough rest and pauses in between work, as well as completing the most critical chores first. So, if you’re going to do your ONE Thing, do it first thing in the morning to give your willpower a boost.

“Don’t struggle with your willpower. Build your days around how it functions and let it contribute to the construction of your life. Willpower may not be on call, but you can always depend on it when you spend it first on what matters most.”

Page 71 of Keller’s book

The Focusing Issue

The fundamental concept of this book is that if we merely concentrate on our ONE Thing, we may boost our effectiveness and achieve exceptional achievements.

“Anyone who dreams of an uncommon life eventually discovers there is no choice but to seek an uncommon approach to living it. The Focusing Issue is that uncommon approach. In a world of no instructions, it becomes the simple formula for finding exceptional answers that lead to extraordinary results.”

Page 106 of Keller’s book

According to Keller, The Focusing Issue is as follows:

  • What is the ONE THING I can do that will make everything else easy or unnecessary if I do it?

You can use this question to develop a vision and direction for your life. It can assist you in creating long-term and short-term goals. Moreover, you can use this question to find what you should be doing today and right now. Keller references The Domino Effect throughout the book. The Focusing Issue will grant us the answer on how to knock over the first domino.

“The Focusing Issue is a great question designed to find a great answer.”

Page 110 of Keller’s book

Priority, Purpose, and Productivity

Keller describes the formula for extraordinary results as successfully combining Priority, Purpose, and Productivity. You need to live on purpose, by priority, for productivity. 

Luckily, you can use The Focusing Issue to find the answers for each of these things at any given time. You can use it to find a vision and direction for your life (purpose). Then, ask yourself The Focusing Issue to decide what task you should complete or focus on next (priority). Finally, you can use it to reserve the time necessary for what matters most, or your ONE Thing (productivity).

“Only ONE can exist.” The ONE Thing you can do right now to assist you accomplish what matters most to you is your most essential priority. You may have a lot of “priorities,” but if you dig deep enough, you’ll find that there is only one that really matters: your top priority – your ONE thing.”

Page 154 of Keller’s book

Blocking Time

Keller contains what I believe is one of the most effective planning approaches I’ve learned to ensuring that you’re productive with whatever time you spend on your ONE Thing. Keller has had the good fortune to work with and spend time with a number of accomplished individuals during the course of his career. He saw a trend among them in how deliberate and guarded they were about the time they set aside for their ONE Thing.

Specifically, Keller references a method he uses called Blocking Time. This is where you reserve a block of time in your day to focus on your single most important task – your ONE Thing. During this time, you forget everything else and focus squarely on this ONE task. Once this block of time is complete/you have completed your ONE Thing, you can devote the rest of the day to anything else that needs your attention.

According to Keller, there are 3 things you want to time block for. These are 1) your time off (vacation time), 2) your ONE Thing, and 3) your planning time (where you do more Blocking Time). Since rest is so important to reaching your full potential and you know you’ll need it, that is first on your list of things to time block for. Next, you create a time block for your ONE Thing. A task that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary (see The Focusing Issue above). Specifically, for your ONE Thing, Keller recommends this time block to be 4hrs long, at a minimum.

Lastly, you want to reserve the time for planning and blocking out these times in your calendar. Blocking Time your planning time ensures a) you spend an adequate amount of time thinking about your upcoming commitments and b) that it gets done!

Crucial Note: It’s equally important to secure your time blocks after you’ve successfully time blocked. Successful individuals value their time and commitments, and they do not allow distractions to prevent them from accomplishing remarkable outcomes!

“If one action produces disproportionate outcomes, you must devote disproportionate time to that activity.”

Page 161 of Keller’s book

The Four Thieves are a group of four thieves that live in a cave

In The One Thing, Keller describes what he calls The Four Thieves are a group of four thieves that live in a cave. These are things in our lives that rob us of our productivity and keep us from reaching our full potential. They are:

Our incapacity to say “no” is number one.

We must keep in mind that whenever we say “yes” to a request or accept a new obligation, we are also saying “no” to something else. Say no to everything until your ONE item is finished to protect your time blocks (see above). 

Those that are asking for your assistance or time will understand if you communicate! If they don’t, look for the fourth thief down below.

2. Anxiety about chaos

When we concentrate on what matters most and devote a disproportionate amount of time to our ONE Thing, other things begin to build up. Don’t be frightened of a little mess and a few loose ends in other aspects of your life. This was bound to happen! Expect them to show up and deal with them appropriately without jeopardizing your ONE Thing.

“Recognize that pursuing your ONE Thing pushes other priorities to the side… This level of disorder is inescapable. Accept it and move forward. “Know how to cope with it.”

Page 206 of Keller’s book

3. Negative Health Habits

This concept is self-evident, yet it needs repeating since so many of us believe we can put our physical health and bodies on the line for the sake of future outcomes. Keller really prioritized your health practices above your book’s ONE Thing. 

He, like so many others, recognized that one cannot expect to do their best work without sleep, rest, vitality, and so on. As a result, your health is the one thing that matters more than your ONE Thing.

“Your body is a fantastic machine, but it doesn’t come with a guarantee, can’t be traded in, and repairs may be expensive. It’s critical to control your energy so that you can do what you need to do, accomplish what you want to do, and live the life you want.”

Page 207 of Keller’s book

4. An unfriendly atmosphere

Your surroundings have a greater impact on you and your performance than you may realize. This will hinder your productivity, whether it’s because of the attitudes of coworkers or family members, their negativity, or a lack of satisfaction.

Aside from our performance habits, the individuals we spend the most time with have a significant impact on our health (see the 3rd thief above). The ramifications might be life-changing! The behaviors we pick up from our companions will decide our future, whether it’s unending partying or drinking, bad eating and obesity, or even our wages.

Numerous studies have shown that as we become older, we grow more like our friends. As a result, make sure you’re surrounded by people who will support, keep you responsible, and drive you to achieve your maximum potential. This always implies you’ll have to show those who don’t the door.

“Take charge of your surroundings. Ensure that the people around you and your physical environment are supportive of your objectives.”

Page 207 of Keller’s book

Final Score: 9.75/10

The One Thing is as crucial as ever in a society replete with diversions, useless work, and other stimulation. A guide to finding, developing, and focusing on your ONE Thing might be the wake-up call that so many of us need. What Keller and Papasan discuss in this book has the potential to alter your life’s trajectory.

By limiting Multitasking and the societal clutter of our lives, you can focus on the development of your ONE Thing and reach your true potential. Since focus and time are needed to reach mastery in any skill, you will need to narrow your focus to choose and develop your ONE Thing. Start by asking yourself The Focusing Issue and figuring out what you can do today to knock over your first domino.

All aspiring high-achievers, entrepreneurs, and anybody who feels like they have too many responsibilities stealing their time should read this book. Focus on your ONE Thing if you want to accomplish remarkable outcomes.

If you liked this book review, you’ll appreciate my review of Angela Duckworth’s Grit!

The “The One Thing” is a book by Gary Keller that has been reviewed on Goodreads. The book promises to make the reader’s life easier and is written in the form of a self-help guide. It was released on April 26th, 2016. Reference: the one thing goodreads.

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