“What’s Your One Thing?” – By Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

Building the Soccer Players of Tomorrow.

“What’s Your One Thing?” – By Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

January 3, 2018 Book Reviews 1
"Wha's Your One Thing?" By Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

Let me start off by saying that this book completely blew my mind and completely became one of my all-time favorites. Absolutely amazing book to kick off the new category “Book Reviews” here on Soccer Venture! If you don’t want to miss an article, click here to be able to receive email updates to when an article drops!

If you want more information on this book, visit their website here.

Before we begin the review, I want to say that the ideas and theories captured are all from “What’s Your One Thing.” I have no intention of copyright or claim original content. I am simply breaking down Gary and Jay’s content into smaller chunks for a more convenient read. Contact me for further credit and/or removal.


Narrow Your Focus to One Thing

We all have time. Different people with different successes all have the same time as others. So how are they able to use that time more effectively than others? They go small. “Not all things matter equally.” (p.g. 10) Focus your efforts on small tasks that are the most important to you.


Focusing on those small important tasks is better than to focus on a whole list of small matters is inefficient because then you deal with overloaded calendars and to-do lists.

“Success is built sequentially. It’s one thing at a time.” (p.g. 16)

“The Lies that derail us”

(p.g. 27)


  1. “Everything matters equally.”
  2. “Multitasking”
  3. “A Disciplined Life”
  4. “Willpower is Always Will-Call”
  5. “A Balanced Life”
  6. “Big is Bad”

Page 30



“Everything Matter Equally”

(p.g. 32)


In a world where results are everything, no task has equal significance. Especially in a world of success and achievement. There is always going to be a winner and a loser. One less talented and one more talented. As we get older, the more responsibility we gather and the more opportunity there is to make choices. When every task seems “urgent and important” we feel the need to treat them at the same equal level.

Identify what task is more important. Always look to complete tasks that demand higher priority. 

Here’s a little trick mentioned in “What’s Your One Thing?”

Create a To-Do list.

Find 20% of those tasks that are must-dos. 

Keep narrowing your list down until you hit one task.

Do that one task.

That simple.

“Doing the most important thing is always doing the most important thing.” (page 42)



(p.g. 43)

We always feel the need to do lots of things in the small given amount of time. That’s often the reason why we multi-task.

Multitasking is a huge lie when they say it provides benefits in a shorter range of time.

Focusing on different tasks all at the same time deprives the focus and effort put into that task, to begin with.

You actually lose time when multitasking and it actually takes less time to complete tasks when you are focussing on one task at a time. That’s because of the time it takes to refocus from the possible distractions that wouldn’t appear if you weren’t multitasking. 

Research even suggests multitasking can cause more errors in your work.


“A Disciplined Life”

(p.g. 54)


Success is not about maintaining discipline when performing tasks that carry you towards your goal. Achievement is reached through the creation of doing the right thing which often means creating the right habits to reach your goals. A habit is believed to be created in the first 21 days of performing the habit. However, research shows that it takes an average of 66 days to fully implement a habit into your life.


Those 66 days are full of discipline, but once you complete them, you build a habit that can’t be easily dispelled.

“Willpower is Always On Will-Call”

(p.g. 61)


“Willpower has a limited battery life.” (p.g. 65)

“You make doing what matters most when your willpower is at its highest.” (p.g. 70)


“A Balanced Life”

(p.g. 72)


Think of balance as the middle of the spectrum. When we focus too much on a certain aspect of our lives, we go off to the “extremes.” Most people attempt to balance their life by going to other tasks to divert their time to the middle of the spectrum where the balance lies. Here’s the catch: “magic happens at the extremes.” (p.g. 76)

Counter-balance is key to an appealing desire for a balanced life. Never neglect an area of your life where you are so far off the middle balance. Counterbalance different areas of your life by spending more time doing tasks relating to those areas.


“Big is Bad”

(p.g. 84)


The biggest theory you can gather from this chapter is that thinking big is a fantastic way of setting goals.

No one truly knows their limits. Imagine when you can decide that a big outcome is realistic and that you are truly capable of achieving it? How much does your mindset change?

My favorite passage from the book comes from this chapter: “Everyone has the same amount of time, and hard work is simply hard work. As a result, what you do in the time you work determines what you achieve.”

Gary and Jay also mention the importance of evolution, and how your old methods or personality may hinder your achievement in the near future, thus the need for you to evolve.

Thinking big requires growth on your part, and that’s what makes you big in the end!


The “Focusing Question”

(p.g. 106)

Question: “What’s the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” (p.g. 106)

This question allows you to collect broad tasks, and narrow them down to more specific, tasks that you can focus on one at a time.

The focusing question is recommended to be asked in every aspect of your life. Whether it’s soccer, family, studies, relationships, job, or your personal life, apply the focusing question and narrow down the tasks.

Example: For Soccer

  • What’s the one thing I can do to score more goals on match-days?
  • What’s one thing I can do to become captain next season?
  • What’s one thing I can do to become a better team player?

By answering these questions, you find tasks that help you reach your goals.

Now, as Gary and Jay mention, there are 4 quadrants that are based on the focusing question.

  1. Big and Broad
  2. Big and Specific
  3. Small and Broad
  4. Small and Specific

(p.g. 120)

Here are some soccer-related questions of each quadrant.

  1. What can I do to be the league top-scorer this season?
  2. What can I do to score +30 goals by the end of the season?
  3. What can I do to help my team more in games?
  4. What can I do to get an assist in our next game?


Broad questions are there to get you brainstorming and coming up with possible tasks that are aimed towards your goals. Specific questions allow you to narrow your tasks down a lot more.


Priority + Productivity + Purpose = Results

“The more productive people are, the more priority and purpose is driving them.” (p.g. 133)

You can only ever see the productivity of a person or a company. But that is driven by their priority or their purpose that serves as their base.

3 P's

(Fig. 23. Page 134)


Our purpose is the base of all 3 P’s.

An excellent way to describe it: “Our purpose sets our priority and our priority determines the productivity our actions produce.” (p.g. 138)

What we want to achieve ultimately decides what we prioritize which then determines the course of our actions. Purpose doesn’t have to be all that big of a deal. It can simply be a small statement like:”I want to become a regular goalscorer for a professional team.” Then you start building down from there.



Priority is your arranging for the tasks that will get you towards your goal; your one thing.

“Purpose without priority is powerless.” (p.g. 147)

Line up your goals in chronological order.

Goal Setting

  1. Ultimate Goal: What is the one thing I want to do someday?
  2. Five-Year Goal: What is the one thing I want to do in 5 years?
  3. One-Year Goal: What is the one thing I want do I want to do in 1 year?
  4. Monthly Goal: What is the one thing I want to do in a month?
  5. Weekly Goal: What is the one thing I want to do in a week?
  6. Daily Goal: What is the one thing I can do today?
  7. Right Now Goal: What is the one thing I can do RIGHT NOW?

(Figure 24, p.g. 150)

You line up your goals like dominos and eventually lead to your ultimate goal. Such an effective way of going about goals.

Domino Effect

(figure 25, page 153)

To read more about how you can make better, more specific goals click here!

Writing down your goals can have a better effect than imagining them or talking about them.




“Productive action transforms lives.” (p.g. 156)

“The most successive people are the most productive people.” (p.g. 158) This passage is so true in terms of soccer. How much you put in work determines how much quality you bring on match-day.

People are always on about how they don’t have time to get working on their goals. Time blocking is the solution to that. Time blocking is where you block off different parts of the day or days in a month where you solely focus on your ONE thing despite all other external factors.


Time Blocking

  1. Time block your time off. Make some room for rest days or recovery days. Without these days, you may feel burned-out or a need for rest. Plan these days first.
  2. Set some time for working on your ONE Thing. You plan this time after you plan your time of rest because your time of rest can sustain your happiness. If you happen to complete your time block of doing your ONE Thing, don’t call it a day. Keep working. Don’t quit until you ONE Thing is complete. Jay and Gary recommend blocking at least 4 hours a day, to work on your ONE Thing. 
  3. Time block your planning time. “This is where you reflect on where you are and where you want to go.” “Block an hour a week to review your annual and monthly goals.”

(p.g. 164-170)

Protect Your Time Blocks

  1. Find somewhere to work where it takes you out of disruption and interruption.
  2. Keep any materials you would need handy. Anything from snacks, materials etc.
  3. Eliminate Distractions!
  4. Tell others of your unavailability.

The 4 Thieves of Productivity

(p.g. 190)

  1. “Inability to say No.”
  2. “Fear of Chaos.”
  3. “Poor Health Habits.”
  4. “Environment doesn’t Support your Goals.”


  1. Whenever you say yes to something, you are saying no to everything else.
  2. Creativity creates chaos. Period. Learn how to deal with that chaos.
  3. Manage your energy wisely. Big projects and achievements take up a lot of energy.
  4. The people and your surroundings have an impact on you. Make sure they align with your goals.



That’s a wrap for this book review! Hope you enjoyed the first article on “Book Reviews!”

Gary and Jay did an amazing work in putting this book together. By providing so much valuable information to take on board, they convince me that this book is simply a masterpiece.

If you have enjoyed this article please do share it with your friends and family to share this valuable content. Also be sure to read the whole book! This is just a small glimpse of the most important topics but I’m sure there’s more value in it!

A fantastic read.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

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One Response

  1. Nancy Sanchez says:

    I like the new book review section.

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