What One Thing?


A few weeks ago I asked my readers what the most important topic in their business was. Hundreds responded with a variety of answers, but one of the most common was, “How can I do everything I need to do?” Fortunately, I have an answer to this question, but like many things in life, it brings both good news and bad news with himself. The good news is that if you’re one of the lucky few who have access to unlimited resources, you can do anything. But that’s really bad news, isn’t it?


Because of all the people I know, none of them, not one, has access to unlimited resources. Even the executives I work with, whose budgets are in the hundreds of millions, even they don’t have unlimited resources. You even have to make decisions and make concessions. Earl Nightingale once asked, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” And Jack Palance’s Curly on City Slickers asked a similar question, “What is that one thing?


Your questions contain seeds of the answer to this dilemma. Because not all things on your plate are the same. Not all are important. Not all have the same effect, the same dependencies, the same reward options. And even if you think so, upon closer inspection you’ll find that you don’t.

The trick, of course, is to figure out what matters most… now… and focus on that. Of all the ideas that I have explored in my role as an executive advisor and management consultant, the victim concept is the most relevant. My definition is giving up something valuable for something even more valuable.

Sacrifice is the key. You need to let go of your attachment to most things on your plate and find out which things are of greater value. One can and cannot do everything that is important. .If you choose well and are willing to sacrifice the rest, you can do the most important things. Apart from the rest, you can do anything essential, anything vital, anything transcendent.


Can you imagine what life would be like if you only worked on transcendental things? While this may seem simple, even obvious, most of us have struggled with it our entire lives. Day by day what will make the biggest difference. I bet if you take a look you probably can’t even figure out what the criteria are. So back to Earl Nightingale’s question: what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail in

Think of things on your to-do list like this: What will have the biggest impact? What brings the highest sales and profit? What opens the doors to the future for you?