As most of you know, my wife, Anna, is a Realtor with Keller Williams in Langhorne, PA. In just her first year, she is really kicking ass and has done a ton of business for a newly-minted real estate agent. It’s obvious that she can attribute a lot of her success to the Gary Keller way of doing things. I had a short stint in real estate right around the market crash with Century 21. Granted, I didn’t do much with the opportunity, but KW is light-years ahead of other real estate companies (and many companies in general) with how they approach the development of their people.
Needless to say, when the opportunity came to hear the man himself Gary Keller speak at the Temple Performing Arts Center today, Anna and I jumped at the chance. As I came to find out, he’s also a Wallflowers fan — so he’s the man in my book. Anyway, I know I have been neglecting this blog, but I thought this was a way for me to renew my commitment to post more. Gary talked about his new book, The One Thing, and the lessons learned throughout a lifetime of extraordinary accomplishment.
However, what I enjoyed most about Gary’s talk (aside from the fact that he took a page out of the Steve Jobs style guide) was that it wasn’t about the success in and of itself. It was more about the journey in becoming the successful person you desire to become. Currently, I am on a “self-help” kick you could say. I bought the Think and Grow Rich CD collection for my drive to and from work. I have about an hour drive time each way to Philadelphia each morning, so it helps. On top of that, I have been trying to further develop my spiritual life and relationship with God. It’s a constant work in progress, but as John Maxwell’s Failure Forward explains — failure is just a part of success.
My point here is — and Keller admitted this in his talk — that this book isn’t about anything we don’t already know. Gary wasn’t giving us this earth shattering knowledge today. What he did do (for me at least) is SIMPLIFY things. One quote I took away was “Extraordinary success is sequential not simultaneous.” Another book I am reading is MJ Demarco’s Millionaire Fastlane – and this concept of success being sequential and not simultaneous fits right in with MJ’s doctrine of success / wealth being a PROCESS and not an EVENT.
Something else Gary stressed involved SIX LIES we tell ourselves or that the world tells us. Here they are:
1. Everything matters equally (it doesn’t)
2. Multitasking is important (wow do people get obsessed with this concept)
3. We must lead a disciplined life (no, we must train properly and form correct habits)
4. Willpower is always on will-call (how true is that at 9 pm when you want that chocolate cake?)
5. A balanced life (focus rather on BALANCING your life and center in on the right things)
6. Big is bad (only for those with weak minds and no desire)
We came to find out that the underlying question from all of this is —
What is the ONE THING I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
1. Everything doesn’t matter equally, so what ONE THING can you do to be a success each day?
2. Multitasking is bull shit and doesn’t work well on humans. It is actually a term derived from computers, but a bunch of “employee training” hacks turned “multitasking” into an overused buzzword. It doesn’t work. Your brain is NOT wired that way. You truly cannot focus on more than one thing at a time. But, trust me, your boss will demand that you MULTITASK tomorrow. What ONE THING should you be doing?
3. What ONE THING or ONE HABIT should you be developing? Think 10,000 hour rule or 10 years. Do it for 4 hours per day, 5 days per week to truly MASTER it.
4. Willpower is as much about TIMING as it is about your character. What ONE THING will you say YES to each day so that you can say NO to everything else? Gary teaches that you should focus on doing your best work (your 4 to 6 hours) before noon. That way, you have the rest of the day to deal with the rest of life … or relax.
5. There is no such thing as a “balanced life.” Focus on the ONE THING each day and you will have more time for your friends, family and health.
6. There’s a great quote in the booklet we received for the talk. It’s from Robert Brault and it goes like this: “We are kept from our goal, not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal.” What is the ONE BIG THING you can desire to attain and what ONE SMALL THING will get you there at each point of your journey? Yes, there will be many “ONE SMALL THINGS” that get you to your ONE BIG THING. That’s OK.
Basically, it’s about ACCOUNTABILITY. Do you have somebody to hold you accountable like a coach or mentor? Or do you trust that you can hold yourself accountable? Per Keller, it takes 66 days to form a habit (not the 21 to 30 days you will hear from other sources). That’s a long time — and that’s on average for things like diet and exercise. For other people or other situations, it may take 365 days. The point is, though, that you start. Take that first step (as cliche as it sounds).
You have 7 areas to choose from in which to focus on that ONE THING:
2. Physical health
3. Personal life
4. Key relationships
5. Job / Career
You identify that ONE THING and find out what you are ignoring. Then, it has a “halo effect” on the next habit — and that next habit will be easier to make a part of your life.
Let me end this post with this: By not making a choice, a choice is made for you. To start the talk, Keller explained that the default choice (from not making a choice) is your own personal average. It’s not the average of everyone in world. It’s the average you — you have not reached your potential. Don’t fail yourself like that. For extraordinary results (as Keller says), live with purpose, live by your priorities, and live for the productivity. Happiness comes not from the pursuit, but from fulfillment. Figure out your ONE THING, set your daily to 5-year goals and attack it.
Good luck and check out The One Thing. Should be out soon.
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