This month's Upgrade Society book club pick was The One Thing by Gary Keller. This fascinating book is built around the question, "What is the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?" Our special edition book club podcast episode is ready! Join me, Carolina, Rachelle, and Natalie as we chat about the book. We'll give you a run-down of the book and discuss what we learned as well as share some of our own reflections. You can read our conversation below or listen to the podcast. Be sure to join in the conversation by heading over to our Facebook page and telling us what you took away from The One Thing. What is your "one thing?" How has the book inspired you? Let us know!
I can't wait to hear your biggest takeaways from the book!
Leanne Peterson: Hello, and welcome to the Take the Upgrade podcast, where we talk about upgrading your life, and upgrading your experiences one decision at a time. I’m Leanne Peterson. I’m a therapist and life coach, and I’m dedicated to helping you shift the energy in your life to create the experience you want. I love this work, and while I’m passionate about helping other people, I’m also doing the work myself. I created this podcast so you can come along with me on my journey of exploration with the hopes that it’ll inspire you to see how these principles can be applied in a very real way.
Hello, and welcome to a special of Take the Upgrade. Today, we are doing our book club. Each month, we pick a new self-help book, and we dive into it, exploring in our own lives and sharing it with you. We have a group of amazing women who talk about this book, and it’s a great way for you to get inspirational quotes throughout the week. Then, here at the end of the month, this great compilation of what we think, and see if what we’re thinking matches with what you’re thinking. So stay tuned for a great episode with three other amazing ladies.
I’m so excited to talk about our book, The ONE Thing, and before we get started, I want y’all to know who’s going to be on our book club today, and kind of a little background on who they are. We’ll start with my podcast producer and self-help junkie, Natalie. So Natalie, go ahead and tell us a little bit about yourself, and what you bring to the book club.
Natalie Pyles: Hey, hi guys. I’m Natalie Pyles. I am a big fan of podcasts and books. I’m a mother of 2, and I love cleaning and colors.
LP: Did you just say you love cleaning?
NP: I do. I love it so bad.
LP: I’m like, do my ears deceive me? I think she just said she loves cleaning. Okay.
Rachelle Young: This surprises me not at all.
LP: I’m like, you’re putting us all to shame here.
RY: Having known Natalie for years. I’m not surprised in the least.
LP: That is awesome.
NP: Another one of the amazing members of our book club is Carolina Vennie. Do you want to introduce yourself, Carolina?
Carolina Vennie: Sure. So I’ll start off by saying that I hate cleaning, and if you want to move to Houston and help me out with that, that would be fabulous.
CV: But aside from that, I’m a yoga teacher. I’m the owner of Yogalina Studio, a little boutique yoga nook here in Houston. I would consider that my second baby. My first baby is my beautiful cockapoo, and then my third baby and probably the most challenging of all three is my 18 month old son, Lucas. So I’m also a mama. I love to read, and I love to read particularly books that are self-help meets entrepreneurship business, so that’s kind of my jam. Of course, I love yoga books, but I tend to gravitate towards the ones that are a little less, “Let’s be spiritual on a mountain,” and the ones that are more like, “How do we bring some yoga lifestyle principles to real life?” I’m super excited to be part of this group, and bring that perspective.
NP: And also holding down the Salt Lake City fort with me is Rachelle Young. Will you introduce yourself?
RY: Yes. I am a mother of 4. If I could afford more, I would have at least 4 more. I love my children. I love having babies. I just think being a mom is awesome, and I don’t know. I don’t enjoy cleaning, but….
LP: I’d think with 4 kids you’d be doing a lot of cleaning.
RY: Well, I enjoy running a household. I enjoy being a mom.
LP: There we go.
RY: I’m good at delegating. I don’t always enjoy the tasks that I have to do, but you know, I can teach a kid how to scrub a bathroom.
LP: I like your style.
RY: I’m also an avid reader, and I enjoy any kind of book that helps provide some introspection.
LP: I love that. Hopefully we’ll have a lot of great introspective books coming up for our book club, because it is so nice, I think, to have books be a way to look inside and look at our lives and see what we’re doing that’s working, and what we’re doing that’s not working.
RY: So awesome.
LP: And I’m Leanne, and you all know me. I’m the host of Take the Upgrade podcast. I am a therapist, a mom, a business owner, and I love learning new information and trying on new things. So I love hearing about new ways to do things, and new ways to look at things, and how to improve things. And how do we incorporate little pieces into our day-to-day lives? So I’m so excited for this awesome group we have, and these awesome perspectives we have, and what we’re all bringing.
So I wanted to start out by hearing, you know, we read the book, The ONE Thing, and I know there are some listeners who haven’t read the book. So I want to start by talking about our biggest takeaway from the book, what each of us got, and really kind of, something that we personally love, but that we really want to share with others, and we think that others would find helpful. So anything that you think is really relevant for people to know about the book.
NP: I guess the first thing we should point out is the authors, Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. They have some good ideas. They clearly have experience leading motivating board room meetings, including whiteboard visuals, that are in the hard copy of the book. Did you guys listen to the book or read the hard copy?
LP: See, I listened to the book, so I’m like, I don’t even know. I didn’t look at any of the graphics.
CV: I read it. I saw lots of graphics.
RY: I have both an audiobook, and a hard copy to reference.
NP: Okay, perfect.
RY: So I got a bit of both.
NP: Okay, so I thought he had some good points. He starts off with a great visual of dominoes. Do you guys remember the domino section?
NP: Okay. So who wants to walk us through the domino philosophy?
LP: I will talk about that, because it’s something I love, and I’ve heard it before. If I miss something you're thinking, tell me. But basically the idea is that we have to let things build momentum, and they build momentum by continually sticking with it over time so that it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. So this idea that one small domino can knock over a bigger domino, which knocks over a bigger domino, which knocks over a bigger domino. When we line all those dominoes up, we can knock over huge buildings just by the force of these dominos kind of gaining over time. Is that what you were thinking?
NP: Yeah. Perfect. He even explained that a domino can knock over a bigger domino that is as big as 50% bigger. So how do we apply this to our lives, though, like with tasks?
CV: I’ll jump in. I mean, I really enjoyed that part of it, and a couple of other things that are sort of in the same vein. This idea that instead of focusing on that huge task, right, instead of focusing on, “How’m I going to knock over this ginormous domino?” you go small. He has a whole thing on going small instead of going big, which in our culture tends to be a little bit counterintuitive, right? We’re always sort of encouraged to think big, and go big, and dream big. But really, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I would prefer never to eat an elephant, because I think they’re beautiful, but it’s that idea of instead of getting overwhelmed by thinking about tackling this huge task, you know, can you maybe boil it down, take it all the back to, “What’s the one thing I need to do today so that one day I’ll have enough momentum to tackle that big task?” Or, build up to finally accomplishing that. But making it digestible, or something that’s actually something I can focus on today instead of getting overwhelmed with the big domino.
So I liked that idea of starting small and having faith that the small steps do eventually add up to that big, monumental step that you envision in the future.
RY: A quote that I actually highlighted in my copy that was my favorite takeaway from the book follows along that same line. The quote is, “Success is about doing the right thing, not about doing everything right.” I really liked that because it feels overwhelming to me to try and envision myself doing everything right. So I also liked the idea of the domino, where you’re starting with just doing the right, one thing, and then having that carry over to greater and greater successes as you move forward.
CV: That’s funny, I actually wrote that one down, too, when I was kind of taking notes, and just a comment on the highlighting—and these are like Carolina’s weird pet peeves—but it drove me nuts that he actually highlighted things that he thought were important already.
RY: I felt the same way!
CV: Where I’m like, “Okay, give me enough credit to know when something’s important. You don’t have to highlight it for me.”
RY: Yes. Give me a chance to do it myself.
CV: I just thought that was so funny. I’m like, “Dude. Okay.” Yeah, loved that quote.
RY: And it is one he had highlighted for us.
CV: Well, at least he was on point, but.
NP: So the message that he’s trying to convey in this book is this question: what’s the one thing I can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary. So the reader’s job is to try to figure out as they’re reading, in their own life, what are all the things that I’m kind of going crazy, running in a hamster wheel over that are keeping me from the one thing that I really need to be doing that would make the biggest impact on my life?
It’s a good question. Did you guys have a chance to maybe do some soul searching, and life planning, and figure out your one thing?
LP: I feel like, with that, this book kind of threw me into a crisis, because you know, I get the concept, and he goes over it, like the importance of the one thing, we gotta find our one thing, all of the things. But having someone say that, it made me think, “What is my thing?” You know, because he talks about Jerry Seinfeld’s thing was writing jokes, and he kind of gives examples of what people’s things are. But I think it can be hard to identify what our one thing is. For me, in my professional life, there’s a lot of pieces I do, and I’m like, “What is the thing? What am I trying to build to? What will make the biggest impact?”
So I think the book started a really good question, but I don’t know if you guys got clarity on it, because for me, I almost need the prequel to the book. Like how do you identify your one thing? Or the sequel, maybe. Now that you know it’s important, how do you actually identify the one thing out of so many things? I think he makes a good point, if you're going to do something, do it with your focus and do that one thing that’s the most impactful, and then it also begs the question, do most of us even know what it is we’re trying to do, and where we’re trying to get to? Or are we kind of just throwing things at the wall hoping something sticks?
RY: I completely agree, especially in my situation where my life is so focused around my family. I’m mostly a stay-at-home-mom, and occasionally just to get out of the house and for a little bit of sanity, I work a couple hours a week in a pharmacy. But I don’t have a lofty entrepreneurial or business goal. What’s my one thing as far as child-rearing goes? I feel like as a mother, we’re often pulled in so many different directions that it’s hard to pinpoint the one thing that’s going to make everything easier.
CV: I had the same thought. Just like so many things. The theory is great, and then in practice, it’s really not that easy. Number one, yeah, there wasn’t, I mean, I think that definition actually makes it pretty hard. It wasn’t like a, “Here’s the process to finding the one thing.” It’s like just think about the one thing that makes everything else easier, and that’s actually really challenging.
And then I thought that he also maybe just kind of toggled a little bit between your overarching one thing, and then he’d say things like, “Make that your one thing when it comes to exercise,” or “Make that your one thing today.” So then I’m like, “Well, do you have a one thing per day that builds up to a one thing that’s like your overarching…?” There wasn’t that much clarity in terms of how to apply it to your day-to-day life. Because we’re not robots, and though a perfect routine, where you perfectly time block things so you have zero distractions sounds great. I don’t know. I don’t find that that’s how my life goes. There are other priorities. I found it challenging to be a human being with a lot of balls juggling in the air and then really implement what he’s trying to say.
RY: I completely agree. I felt like he talked a lot about not trying too hard to live a balanced life, but then he jumps in with making sure that you’re counterbalanced. So I felt like a little bit was contradictory. I mean, you do need some balance in some respects. But trying too hard to focus on the balance I guess is the thing that he said not to do. But it was hard to kind of make sense of how to find your one thing. I didn’t find a lot of clarity in the book as far as how to figure out what our one thing should be.
LP: Right. I think that, to me, is the hardest thing so I can time block, like you said Carolina, make it so there’s as little disruption as possible. I’m like, “What if I spend a year doing the wrong one thing?” [laughing] I get to the end of the year, and I’m like, “Oh, that wasn’t my thing. I just wasted all that time on the wrong thing.”
CV: Yeah, it’s interesting because—and a little bit of background, so before I decided to go down this path of owning my own business and one that’s about yoga and that kind of lifestyle, I was in the throes of corporate America. I worked for Exxon-Mobile, wonderful company, but as you might expect, extremely conservative, not a lot of room for creativity. Everything was how to mitigate risk and how to control things so that there’s no surprises. This book felt to me like a speech I would have gotten while working at Exxon-Mobile from the leadership team. Although, again, it makes sense, I found that in my life, I thrive with a little less structure, because some of the biggest or best things that have happened to me or my business have happened because of maybe chance encounters. For example, if I’d been super rigid about my one thing being, I don’t know, I’m just throwing it out there, focusing on yoga teacher training, I might’ve said no to hosting Leanne’s workshops at the studio, because that doesn’t actually support teacher training. It’s a slightly different of the business to b doing podcasts and things like that. And I’ve found such joy in it, and I actually think that we can really gain traction in this direction, and it can totally compliment this one big thing that I’m trying to do. So had I said no, like I get the idea that you can’t say yes to everything and you have to be very focused, but sometimes we don’t know what the opportunities are until we try them. So unless you're 100% sure that this is the one thing, and everything else should be said no to, I kind of subscribe to the, “If you get a good feeling that maybe you should try a different direction, how could you shut it down before exploring it?” So you know, between my two lives, I pick this one because it works better for me. I’m not saying that it should for everybody. Maybe other people thrive on structure. But I don’t know, for me it would have been limiting, I think, to just stick with this.
LP: I love that point. I think, you know, one thing you said as you were speaking, it reminded me of the one thing I really got from this book was this idea that we need to limit our distractions and stop multitasking, because he’s talking about we can only do one thing at once, and studies show that we’re not good at doing multiple things at a time, as much as we think we’re good at it. So as you're saying, Carolina, I’m like, “Oh yeah, I’m remembering my one thing right now is to hold space for what is going to show up.” If I’m too busy, like you said, if you're too busy with teacher trainings and forcing that route, and not leaving space for what shows up, then you're not able to take those opportunities that might be your next step, that you don’t even know yet.
I find that in my life, when I’m too busy multitasking, and I mean, this is like motherhood, like the other day, I’m trying to get ready for work, I’m trying to get my son’s bed in my room because my sister was coming to stay in the other room, and then Kai, my son, falls off the bed. I’m like, “This is proof that we can’t do more than one thing well.” Yes, I’m watching him, and I’m rearranging the room, and I’m getting ready for work, but I’m not doing well at any of them, and I just feel frantic.
NP: Yeah. I think this is maybe the decade where we all have that awakening, realizing we can’t multitask as well as we think we can. I love multitasking because it makes me feel on fire, and I love it. But reading this book taught me that maybe I like it so much because I’m just switching tasks as soon as something starts to get hard.
NP: It’s like, “Oh, okay. I’m going to go do something else now.”
RY: That is the truth, Natalie. I feel like that is so me. I do that all the time. I am a multitasker. I don’t’ know a mother that isn’t. I mean, from the time you have an infant in your arms, how many times have you had to feed a baby while you're eating, yourself? You know, just those kinds of things. I tend to multitask with just about everything I do. I grew up with a mother that did the same. My mom doesn’t even watch a movie without reading the newspaper at the same time.
LP: Oh my gosh, we always say that my mom, she’s always in and out folding laundry, filing papers, like, “What happened?” We’re like, “If you were watching the movie, you’d know!” [laughing]
RY: [laughing] That’s the kind of mom I grew up with, and so I don’t know. I just think as women, and especially as mothers, we just tend to try and get as much done as possible. So for me, my biggest takeaway from this book was helping me to prioritize what’s the most important in my life, and also to put better focus on that one thing.
RY: So you know, for me that’s family, but it’s a very broad one thing. So I didn’t feel a lot of clarity in narrowing down anything beyond focusing solely on my family. So you know—
NP: But I think the sub-goals under that could be training your kids to, like you said, delegating with your kids, or developing a great relationship with each of them one-on-one. So I think he did kind of say you’ll have sub-goals, you know, under your main goal. I think the one thing in our personal lives is probably all the same, for the 4 of us and all of our listeners, is to just really have strong, amazing, happy, loving relationships, right?
LP: Exactly. And I like this. I think the one thing was, it’s actually funny, it’s what he said in the book, “The one thing is too big.” It’s like, I don’t know what my one professional thing is that will change everything. I’m not there yet. But I like this idea of the sub-goals, and one thing I wanted to do after the book is really write down what are the categories of my life that are important to me? So it would be my family, my spirituality, my time to check in with myself, my time to check in with others. Looking at those, my health, my physical fitness. Looking at those things, and then in each category just writing one thing, like you said, would yield the best result, and do that.
So for me, one thing I really want to do with my son is, in that morning time with him, I don’t have all day with him, but I have 2 hours in the morning, and I want that to be his time, but I so often find myself getting my breakfast around, showering, getting dressed. It’s like if I can just do that stuff before, and give him that 2 hour block, that’s one thing I can do with my relationship with my family that would make me feel a lot more present, and I think would go a lot further than trying to be around him for 8 hours distracted the whole time.
NP: That’s kind of where we find ourselves in a little bit of trouble. He talked about 6 lies. Do you guys remember this section of the book where he—
NP: I loved this, because these are things that we all think will bring success, and the first lie that he talks about is that everything matters equally. We see this in our mindset when we have a to-do list, and we feel good about crossing off all of these things on our to-do list, but not everything on that to-do list matters equally, and we feel just as good crossing off a little thing as we do a big thing. So I’ve been thinking about that and trying to do the things that are important, and not just do anything that I need to get done. So, Leanne, you could feel good about, “Oh, I got my breakfast done, I got dressed, and I got showered,” and all of those things you’d be crossing off your to-do list, and you’d have this false sense of feeling good about your morning when what you really wanted to do that morning was spend time with your son. You know, so we need to maybe restructure our to-do lists or something, so that we don’t fall for this trap that everything matters equally.
LP: Yes. I love that. It’s just like to me why pro/con lists don’t work. There could be one huge pro, or one huge con, but if we try to weigh them all equal, it doesn’t make sense.
LP: Like, just because there’s ten on one side and twelve on another doesn’t mean it’s really better because there might be one on one side, but that means everything, versus all the other pros or cons.
CV: Based on what you guys are saying, I just want to make a point in a slightly different direction. Kind of going back to that multitasking. I think the problem we have in modern society is that we can’t just multitask when we feel like it, and single task when we feel like it. Because it becomes, multitasking in a way is a wiring of your brain. It becomes a habit. So to efficiently or effectively multitask through most of your professional day, and expect your brain to, as soon as you get home, completely switch gears, and be like, “Okay, well now I’m done multitasking. Now I’m going to single focus on my son,” I find that that’s not possible. Right? Because your brain is so, you’ve trained it to always need to be doing something else, so sure, you might want to now single task on your son, but all you are actually doing is sort of pretending, and in the back of your head, your mind’s still going with all the other things that you need to be doing, or should be doing, because that’s sort of how we’ve trained it. I see this a lot in the yoga room. People come to yoga from their crazy days where they’ve been multitasking for eight hours, to ask them to then sit in meditation is almost impossible, because throughout their day, they’ve trained their brain to work in a certain way, and we can’t just switch it off. So I’m not saying that I have a solution for this, other than we need to practice single tasking a little bit more in our regular lives if we ever pretend to fully single task when it comes to the things that matter.
I don’t know, this is not science based, I don’t think, but it’s Carolina-research-based.
RY: I agree. Just as a person who loves to go to a yoga class, just getting there, and then sitting there holding a pose, focusing on my breath, it is the most difficult thing. Just after getting 4 kids in the car and then off to the gym daycare before I walk into the studio is, it feels like it’s impossible to focus on one thing. You know, so yeah, that definitely resonates with me. I’ve experienced that. It’s almost impossible to focus on meditation or correct form and good breathing after my mind’s been pulled in a million different directions.
CV: Yeah, and I think, again, not to make this a yoga discussion, but I think that explains a lot why modern society, that I’m so glad is getting into yoga, but they prefer, most people prefer fast paced, sweaty, heated kinds of yoga. Because in a weird way, yes we can label it as yoga, but you’re still moving. Your brain and your body are still moving at the same pace that you’ve been moving the whole day, and that feels more comfortable than moving super quickly through your day, and then being like, “We’re going to do a slow, restorative practice.” That sends people into complete, “I can’t do this.”
RY: It’s difficult. It’s difficult to force your mind to focus on one thing, especially when that one thing is meditation, or your body, or your breath. It’s very difficult for me.
LP: We get in this habit, too, I think, the habit we spoke about earlier, is letting go of the harder thing to find the easier thing. It’s like we train our brains to default to easy tasks. So it’s easier for me to flip through Instagram when I’m writing an email that I don’t know how to finish than sitting with it and just pausing and checking in, like, “How do I want to say this?” It’s easier for me to check out and go somewhere else. In yoga, it’s easier for me to think about my next task than to sit with my body and feel it and do something different. As we’re not training ourselves to single task, we’re also training ourselves to let our brain pick whatever the easiest route is. Then from a therapy perspective, we get in this bad habit of defaulting to the worst beliefs about ourselves, because they’re our habit and they’re easy, and we’re not used to being mindful and choosing where to send our brain.
NP: Yeah, controlling my thoughts has ended up being, I think, one of the greatest trials of my life. I never really realized that it would be, but it’s everything. Controlling our thoughts, or at least—well, first, like Leanne, I always defer to you, you’re the therapist in the group so you would probably say first, being aware of your thoughts, right? First being aware of your thoughts.
LP: Awareness to me is like all of it.
NP: And then learning how to redirect, or you know, then ultimately control our thoughts is huge in how we’ll develop ourselves and learn these skills, like focusing, that we just really don’t have right now, I don’t think. So yeah, I think this has been eye-opening for me to learn how important that is.
I wanted to bring up another point of the book, if that’s okay with you guys.
NP: Okay, so towards the end, he was talking about the three commitments to your one thing. The first step he talked about was the path of mastery. This kind of bothered me a little bit, so I wanted to throw it out there and see what you guys thought. But he says, “In 1993, psychologist K. Anders Ericsson published the role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance as the benchmark for understanding mastery. This article debunked the idea that an expert performer was gifted, or a natural, or even a prodigy. Ericsson essentially gave us our first real insights into mastery and birthed the idea of the 10,000 hour rule.” So he’s saying that if you practice hard enough, and focus for 10,000 hours—we’ve been hearing about this 10,000 hour rule all over the place—that you can become a master of something. But I didn’t like that he said that it debunked the idea of someone being a natural, or having an actual gift or talent. I feel like there are lots of things in my life that I wish I had or could do, but I just don’t have the talent for them. Or I realize that I’m at a huge disadvantage for trying to develop that thing in myself, like singing for example. I could sing for 10,000 hours and I’d never become an amazing singer. I feel like some people do have talents or gifts for things, and they’re going to practice 10,000 hours and become a master at it, but you can’t hand me a pogo stick and tell me that I’ll become a really good pogo sticker in 10,000 hours. I think some people just don’t have the talents. Am I wrong? Am I just using that as an excuse to become mediocre?
RY: I completely agree, Natalie. I think you're right on. I know there are people that have taught themselves, that were completely tone deaf, that with practice and perseverance have taught themselves how to carry a tune. They’re not going to become the next Beyoncé. You know?
RY: So I agree that natural ability does play a part. I think it’s helpful to look at our one thing as an individual choice. So when we’re trying to find our one thing, we’re not going to randomly pick being the pogo stick champion of the world.
RY: We’re going to choose something that resonates with us.
NP: Okay. But then people, when they do arrive, and they are giving their Academy Award winning speech, they love to throw out there that they don’t have any talent. Like Will Smith will say, “I don’t have talent. I worked for all of this.” You know? I’m like, “You do have talent. Don’t try to make it sound like you’re a self-made man.” I think we need to admit that we do have talents and gifts, and like you said, that is where you’ll choose your one thing, in that area, because that is where you have a calling. I just don’t like it when successful people try to say they don’t have any talent.
RY: Right. I think a calling and a passion. So your natural inclination would lead you towards that path over something else.
RY: So I’m not going to become an accountant. I am not the type of person that sits at a desk and is going to pore over numbers. I have to have personal interaction. That’s a very big part of my personality. I felt, I did a desk job for 6 months, and my 8-hour days felt longer than the 13-hour shifts that I had come from. It was torture to me, sitting at a desk and not having that interaction. So, you know, I’m not going to choose accounting as my one thing. I’m going to choose something that will allow me to interact with people. Maybe I could develop a talent for that, but I’m not going to be—
NP: A master.
RY: —I’m not going to force myself down that path, you know, because it’s not where my passion is. It’s not where my gifts are.
LP: And I think it’s that, and I’ve heard this idea that we need to be careful about writing things off as natural talent, and I think that’s probably what that study is saying. Like, my husband, he’s a really good soccer player, and I played soccer. I played soccer from Kindergarten to high school, and I was a terrible soccer player. So we both played a lot of time, and he had more of a natural ability, but he put so much more into it than I did. I think he was drawn to that. So it went with his passion, it went with his ability, but also, there was so much more behind-the-scenes stuff. I think the problem is, it’s kind of like those big dominoes, when we just see someone do something great, and we’re like, “Well, they just were naturally able to do that,” we discount the domino that it takes to get there. Bradley Cooper, he’s in one of my new favorite movies, which is A Star is Born, and it took him three years to get his voice up to standards to sing in that movie. Like, three years of voice lessons to become that person. And while, like you said, I’m not, three years wouldn’t get me there, it’s also like, we have to acknowledge that whatever it is that we’re already kind of maybe do have a talent and/or natural ability, we have to continue to focus on it and do those things that are going to develop that, versus just kind of being like, “Welp, you either have it or you don’t.” Because I think that’s where we start selling ourselves short, because we don’t actually access the fullness of our potential.
RY: I agree. I tell my kids a similar sentiment all the time. My oldest son especially is very naturally intelligent, and school comes very easily to him, and I said, “You know what, when you get up in higher education, it doesn’t matter how naturally smart you are. It’s about how hard you work, and the hard work is what’s going to pay off in the long run. It’s not going to be your natural inclination to learn well, or to figure things out easily. That plays a part, definitely, but you’ve got to put the time in. You’ve got to put the effort in.”
LP: Right. That’s a good reminder for all of us, find out where we’re naturally going, but then again, find that thing you’re ready to commit to and put the time in. Because to develop that mastery, it’s what he said, too, right? Okay is a great killer. When you have something that you’re naturally good at, you can be okay at it, you might be good at it, but you're not going to be great at it until you put the time in and the commitment to it.
RY: I think that’s where the marriage of the natural ability and the 10,000 hours come into play.
LP: Yeah. Because like you, Natalie, with me with singing, it would be 100,000 hours.
NP: But you’re right, there is still room for improvement. Just because I’m like, oh my gosh, some of these famous singers were singing better at age 5 than I will ever sing after years of lessons. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t still try and develop that talent in whatever capacity I might have. So I like that.
CV: The reality is that 10,000 hours, in a weird way for me, doesn’t sound like that much, but if you really think about it, it’s a long time. So there’s zero chance that unless you had some natural, not talent necessarily, but passion for it, that you would realistically devote 10,000 hours to singing. So maybe you would be an amazing singer if you did 10,000 hours. The thing is, I don’t think a single person without, like I said, or like you guys have been saying, a natural affinity for it would actually, realistically spend that kind of time fine tuning a craft that they’re half-ass interested in.
NP: Yeah. When you’re thinking of 10,000 hours over the course of a lifetime, you have to be a little bit choosy with the things that you’re going to devote that kind of time to, to develop mastery in. So that was neat how he talked about priorities and how that word used to actually mean something and now it doesn’t. Do you remember that part of the book?
RY: Yeah, I loved that. He said that priority was never a plural word until modern day.
RY: Yeah. I thought that was really interesting, that it was only ever “priority,” never “priorities.”
LP: Mm-hmm. Exactly. It’s like in this world where we’re trying to do so much and multitask, we’ve ruined the idea of priority to include this broader definition that was never there.
CV: But you know, to circle back to something Leanne said at the very beginning of this, where was the, either the sequel or the prequel to this book? Because again, I think there has to be a period of time in your life where you are free to investigate, explore, discover as many things as possible in order to then figure out your one thing. Just because I see a movie and I’m inspired by a singer, like, “Okay, that’s my one thing, and I’m going to devote 10,000 hours to it.” That doesn’t work. I have to have some period of time at least in which I am so free to just dive into as many different things as I possibly can to then narrow down to the one thing that truly is my calling. That’s how I would want Lucas to feel as he’s growing up, that he can try acting, and dancing, and soccer, and whatever the heck he wants, and then maybe be able to hone down on the one thing. If we don’t give ourselves that room, I don’t think we’re actually going to be happy because I don’t know, you don’t know what’s out there unless you actually go explore.
NP: Yeah. That’s where the evolution comes in, like throughout our teens and 20s, we are still evolving and still, like you said, trying out new things. Some people do luck out and they know their thing right away so they get a little head start. Then as we all change our things, they might see it as quitting, and we’re just like, “No, I’m just, you know, learning more about myself every day.”
LP: Someone made this great point, and we see it show up in this book, that people go through their own process, and then it’s almost like they look back and they can make sense of it. They try to tell us, “Hey, this is the process,” and he’s like, “Hey, this is the thread that was going through my whole life.” But like you’re saying, Carolina, he missed out on a big piece of this. Joyce Meyer says that life has to be lived moving forward, but only make sense looking backward. I think when we look back, we can see, “Oh, that was my one thing.” But we have to leave, you know I think the one thing can be really great in the moment of like, “What’s the one thing I need to do in the moment, right now, to explore this new option? What’s the one thing I can do for my health to explore something new and see if it fits.” But I think for most of us, our one thing answer would be a look back, and we can’t necessarily use it to project forward, as much as we want to project forward into the future and kind of use it to guide us. I almost feel like, you know, we want to be in touch with our priority in the moment, we want to be looking each day, “What’s my one thing today? Do I have time and space to explore something?” But I don’t know if this book is as helpful, and this idea of the one thing is as helpful to pull us toward something. It’s more can it be helpful to find focus in the moment, so that as our things show up, and as our one thing emerges, we’re able to pay attention to it and give it attention in the moment.
RY: I’ve found that for me, one of the things that stood out a lot in this book was the coincidence that I decided to take a social media break for a period of time during the time that I read this book. It was eye opening to me to se how often social media became a distraction in my life. So that helped to clarify where my priorities need to be, and to help eliminate some of the multitasking I tend to do while parenting, and social media, or whatever. So.
CV: As I was reading this, I know he’s not really into the balance thing, but I think that for me, I do need some balance and the way that I rationalized sort of what he was trying to say, which I thought were good points, was I think it’s okay to multitask in being a mom and doing operational things, in doing functional things. The reality is that we live in a world where you kind of have to. We’re not going to eliminate that completely. But try to limit that so then when it comes to what our one thing is in terms of our real purpose, our real priority, our real passion, we can be more single tasking that. So maybe allowing for a little bit of both is the most realistic way to move forward with some of what he was trying to say. Sure multitask some things, but then be really focused and try not to when it comes to, you know, whether it’s your relationships, your family, or any kind of creative endeavors, where you really have that desire to multitask almost, because it’s a habit, but where you’re going to get the biggest bang for your buck if you really try to stay focused.
LP: I love that. So what we’re inviting all of our listeners to do is to think about what’s that one thing you can do right now to bring a little bit more something to your life, whatever it is you’re looking for. If you’re looking for more peace, what’s one thing you can do each day to bring more peace to your life? If you’re looking for better relationships, what’s one thing you can do to improve the quality of your relationships? If you’re looking for better health, what’s one thing you can do to improve the health in your life? Just think of one area you want to play with, and then pick one thing you can do in that area, and focus on right now, in this moment, and what’s realistic for you in this time, and then do that. See how it goes. Build upon that, to use this principle of one thing to start giving you more clarity and more energy flowing in the direction you want it to go in one of these areas.