We were lucky enough to chat to Jay Papasan who has a very interesting book out which he co-authored with Gary Keller, called The ONE Thing. Another N01 Best Seller following their previous book, The Millionaire Real Estate Investor.
During the heart of the real estate recession, Gary wrote a short essay “the power of one”. Jay read it and saw it as the beginnings of their next book. It was not just a book but The Book!
The idea is to fundamentally find out what the one thing is that matters most to you and to give that your greatest focus.
They both felt that this was so important as we all live in a world of too much. They constructed an approach to doing it that’s very practical. It turned out to be a book that helped people filter through all the choices that they make everyday and arrive at better ones.
Most people have a strong sense about what their true priorities are, but they are so busy that they are not stopping to acknowledge them. They rush around doing all sorts of things that were not particularly productive in themselves, and feel guilty about not giving more time to the things that matter most.
Jay wants to get rid of things that are unhelpful such as multitasking and to understand that 80% of what you want comes from only 20% of what you do. What is the one thing that I can do, such that by doing it, everything else is easier and necessary. It’s quite powerful and when people answer it they nearly always arrive at the right answer or so close to it.
The next step is to time block it, which is simply to make an appointment with yourself to do your work. Most people use their calendars just to meet with other people. In Jay’s research the most successful people schedule appointments for themselves by themselves. They create rituals that happen every day and if people ask to interfere with those things they often say no can we do it another time.
If you can get between 2-4 hrs ideally between 8-12 am each day, and launch your day by doing your number one priority for that day or month – most of the other stuff will just fall into place.
The British Journal of Health Psychology took 3 groups of people and asked them to exercise for 20 minutes a day. The first group was the control group and 38% did the task. The next was a motivation group who were told the benefits of exercising daily and 35% of them did the task. The last group was the intention group who got told the same benefits as the motivation group, and had one other task. They had to write down a commitment that said at this time and at this place I will do the task.
Through that simple act of navigating their future time and identifying when they could do the task, they were 91% effective.
The simple act of making a commitment of when you can do the act, tripled the persons effectiveness. Protecting that commitment becomes the final step.
Creating a pattern where we have big blocks of time makes a very productive day. It gives you time to get into the right frame of mind. Top athletes never practice for just 30 minutes a day or whenever they can grab time. They have bigger blocks of time per day to do the thing that fundamentally matters to them the most.
It may work better if you start with shorter slots of time blocked out and keep the commitment of showing up and protecting that time. For many people, identifying an island of time in their day, that they have control over and realising that they can make that commitment, is a break through moment.
Confidence arises from realising that you are in control.
Not only do we choose to think of ourselves as accountable human beings that are in control, we realise that we can grasp the reins when we feel we are being swept down the river. It is amazing what that realisation can do for people and how they can then build on that for greater success.
Through the interviews that Jay did, he stumbled upon a common process that really extraordinary people follow either consciously or unconsciously.
After writing ‘The One Thing’ jay spent the next year promoting the book. When he sat down again to write the next book he found that he had left behind some of the good habits of a writer. He had to rebuild some of the habits when he started the next book. These habits are not gifts for life but they can be rebuilt quicker than most people imagine.
People choose to be extraordinary but it is also a commitment. The commitment takes a lot less energy than building it in the first place. Taming something is far easier than building it and this is how we bounce back quicker.
Listen to our full podcast with Jay Papasan who also talks about how to grow from your mistakes and fail faster, a trait of successful people.