Patton's Picks from the PMA Library: The One Thing

August 2020

The One Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results (Gary Keller) 


Despite pressures to master all possible skills, author Gary Keller emphasizes the need to identify and pursue one vitally important part of one's life in The One Thing. By focusing on specific goals, one can gain longitudinal growth in specific subject areas which delivers real results, whereas spreading one's energy often results in unmet goals and only modest improvement.


"What is the one thing I can do that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?"

Three Takeaways:

1.  Prioritize Goals. Identify one thing you long to achieve (regardless of how "big" the goal appears). This should be the focus of your time and energy. Otherwise, focus on seeking mastery in key areas of your life. 

2. Eliminate Distractions. Do not be afraid to say no to tasks that are no longer priority actions. Keller references the often applicable 80/20 rule, or the Pareto Principle, which illustrates in economic terms that 80% of the outcomes result from 20% of the causes. In this instance, Keller uses the rule to indicate that a small percentage of your efforts, the "one thing" you NEED to be doing, can impact the entirety of your life and have huge results. 

3. Structure Time. In order to effectively pursue prioritized actions, Keller suggests that you strategically schedule blocks of time when your energy and productivity levels are at their highest. Knowing that willpower diminishes as energy levels decline, he urges readers to prioritize their work and goals early in the day or in designated time slots.  


In summary, Keller's book suggests that the distractions in life, which take the form of both deterrents from one's work and the endless possible areas for achievement and growth, are preventing people from achieving their true goal, which can often be condensed into one specific thing. Keller urges readers to identify one specific goal so they can achieve more success than they ever could by attempting to multitask, and that by organizing one's work during the day they will never have to compromise their personal lives. 

Gary Keller is an American entrepreneur and best-selling author. He is the founder of Keller Williams, which is the largest real estate company in the world by agent count, closed sales volume, and units sold. Keller founded Keller Williams through training and education and later brought his teachings to print.