The One Thing

Gun Dog Chases A Rabbit, 1948 By Bert Hardy

The One Thing

Nelson Cuadras


If there is ONE thing we can be so certain of, it is that uncertainty is inevitable.

The uncertainty I speak of is within ourselves. The feeling that strikes us quickly, asking ourselves the question, what am I doing or why am I doing this? When these questions come at our most vulnerable moments, such as losing a job, failing a project, or breaking up with a partner, it can be hard to get back on track. A recent swing of momentum in my life has brought me to ponder 2 ideas: One through a book and the other through a quote.

The book:

The ONE Thing

The quote:

That which hinders your task is your task – Sanford Meisner

The book, The ONE Thing has us pose a simple question to ourselves daily and as often as possible. The question:

What is the ONE thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

The power of this question is simple. It helps us focus on what is most important at each moment of every day, month, year, and the totality of our life in order to live a GREAT life. I must admit that living a great life and accepting it as a possibility, rarely seems achievable for me. I have experienced moments of this greatness and the possibilities that my life can achieve. I feel it within my grasp but I still lose myself to limiting, self defeating thoughts. The ONE thing has me remembering that this power is always available for me to claim. I can see it again. It is as clear as the days of childhood, imagining myself touchdown on the moon as a proud astronaut.

Hearing the title, The ONE Thing, might have you imagine that you distill your life down into one question. This is the thought I had when I originally heard of the book and it struck up intense anxiety. Was this book going to pose to me the same question I ask myself almost everyday, sending me into a panic attack? Was it going to nag me with the question, ‘How am I going to do something great in my time here on earth?’ In ways, it did ask me this question, but the question was asked with intelligence. The ONE Thing recognizes that we are not motivated by a singular question but rather a set of questions, a set of lives, that complete our being. The 7 lives are categorized as:

  • Spiritual
  • Physical Health
  • Personal
  • Key Relationships
  • Job
  • Business
  • Finances

The one thing then becomes the answering of many things but the many things become easier because each of them can be confronted with the single question, What is the ONE thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary? When we ask ourselves this question consistently, throughout our life, in each of these categories, we can focus our attention on the work that matters and not waste any precious time. The author reminds us that this attention and focus is what it takes to live a GREAT life. The authors words are not gospel, much like the multitudes of ‘self help’ books out there. It should be noted, however, that the author is Gary W. Keller, the founder of one of the biggest real estate companies in the world. Surely, he has been able to create something many would consider great. I propose you dig deeper into this book and find some time to sit with the contents of each chapter. Some of my favorite chapters break down embedded societal norms he considers myths such as the idea that ‘willpower is always on call’ and that we should live a ‘disciplined and balanced life.’

I also propose that you consider this quote from Sanford Meisner as you apply the idea of the one thing:

That which hinders your task is your task – Sanford Meisner

When you are trying to find the one thing that you should be focusing your time on, go a step deeper and ask yourself if there is something that is top of mind that you should take care of first before you can proceed any deeper towards your purpose. Going this extra step will tell you what the one thing you really should be working on is.


I created a spreadsheet in Google Sheets for you to use as a template every morning for honing in on the one thing you should be working on. Please feel free to share it and create a copy to modify as you like. I would love to know how you would change it for the better or how it is helping you.

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