Instantly 10X Your Ability Focus Using This Simple Question

2 Years ago I started my first blog.

After the initial honeymoon period, I soon realized that there was an insane amount of work that needed to get done. In an effort to do everything, I created massive (100+ item) “to-do” lists.

I even developed to-do lists for all of my to-do’s. 

The Result? 

I felt like I was riding a wave of productivity and doing “way more” than my peers. In reality, I was producing crappy work, doing it fast and getting no where. 

Although I did spend 80+ hours designing a logo that I no longer use.

 

Narrowing Your Focus (watch the 30 second video)

Curly: Do you know what the secret to life is?

Curly: This (holds up one finger).

Mitch: Your finger?

Curly: One thing, just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean shit.

Mitch: That’s great, but what’s the “one thing?”

Curly: That’s what you’ve got to figure out.

— City Slickers

Finding Your ONE THING

Here’s the problem, most of us spend our time looking and feeling busy, instead of narrowing our focus and working on the tasks, actions and projects that actually matter. 

After reading the biographies of the most successful entrepreneurs, scientists, and athletes of all time (Buffet, Jordan, Schwarzenegger, Weintraub, Branson, Jobs, Einstein, Walton, and Bezos), I made a new realization. 

Top performers have a knack for knowing EXACTLY what to focus on. 

So…. the next question: How do you know what to focus on?

 

The Focusing Question:

In his book the ONE THING millionaire real estate mogul Gary Keller of Keller-Williams Realty presents the following question:

It’s a simple question that produces extraordinary results.

 

It works for 3 reasons:

  1. Makes you decide which actions have the most value: Asking the question forces us to focus on the work which produces the greatest result. 
  2. Acts like a filter: By narrowing our focus and removing all of the extra noise, we eliminate much of the work that would just keep us busy.
  3. The Domino Effect: When you focus on the highest value work, the smaller stuff can become obsolete and no longer necessary. Take my logo example above. 
Feel free to save, share and distribute.

Feel free to save, share and distribute.

 

You Can Use It To

Gary Keller used this question to turn Keller-Williams into the largest real estate agency. Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger used this same question (not necessarily the same wording) to grow Berkshire Hathaway at a 22% annualized growth rate. Bill Gates used it to focus Microsoft into the industry leader in PC software. 

If it’s good enough for these top performers. It’s good enough for you. 

 

The Habit Of Focus

Since reading The ONE THING, I’ve made it a way of life.  I ask myself every morning, while at work, when planning my weekly goals for Stop. Start. Do. and before bed.

It can be applied to every area of your life.

Ask yourself: What’s the ONE THING I can do such that by doing it everything else will become easier or unnecessary?

  • For my Spirituality 
  • For my Physical Health
  • For my Mental Health
  • For my Relationships
  • For my Business
  • For my Personal Finances
  • For my Education

Continue to ask it until you find yourself doing fewer things for more effect, instead of doing more things that help you “feel” busy. 

 

Putting It to Work

If you want your life to matter, approach everyday with this question and focus on accomplishing what matters most. 

Implement the focusing question as part of your morning priming routine (you should have one) and apply it to your BIG GOAL

Whenever you feel scattered, unsure or are looking at a “to-do” list of 10+ things.

Just ask yourself:

What’s the ONE THING I can do such that by doing it everything else will become easier or unnecessary?

— Gary Keller, The ONE Thing

 

Sources:

  1. Keller, G., & Papasan, J. (2012). The one thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results. Austin, Tex.: Bard Press. 
  2. Munger, C., & Kaufman, P. (2005). Poor Charlie’s almanack: The wit and wisdom of Charles T. Munger. Virginia Beach, VA: Donning.
  3. Isaacson, W. (2007). Einstein: His life and universe. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  4. Stone, B. (n.d.). The everything store: Jeff Bezos and the age of Amazon.
  5. Schroeder, A. (2008). The snowball: Warren Buffett and the business of life. New York: Bantam Books.

 

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About Ben Austin

My friends call me the illegitimate love child of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Nye. I’m a bodybuilding-yogi-science loving-foodie bringing an engineering approach to lifestyle design. Join me as I analyze the systems that go into optimal mental and physical performance and explore the stories and tactics of people who set the standard for the rest of us.
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