Do not try to do everything. Do one thing well.
Creativity,  Empowerment,  Happy Life

ONE Thing: Using the domino effect to life a healthier and happier life

What’s the ONE Thing in your life?


Have you ever raised the question “What ONE thing can I do, such that by doing it, makes everything else easier or unnecessary?”? If the answer is no, you are probably not stumbled upon the book “The ONE Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. In this book the authors tell the reader how focusing on fewer things, help you to maximize your results. The promise: not only can you increase your success, but you can use the domino effect to life a healthier and happier life.


On my blog, I already discussed how to “keep your focus” and that to “Unplug & enjoy time offline” helps you to come back to yourself, recollect your energies and set the right intentions. I dedicate my Yoga sessions to find focus and keep my balance throughout the day. In addition, I try to minimize the influence of my phone and other devices. “Do less, gain more” as a path to fulfilment and a happier and healthier life.


Nevertheless, it is not always working. It is not a secret that we humans tend to distractions a dispersion. I am no exception. There are days, I accidently look on my phone on my way up to my desk and get distracted by an email I immediately need to answer. After 30 minutes I find myself stuck in answering emails and preparing stuff which hadn’t been on my priority list before. The list which says “writing time” first thing in the morning for 1 and a half hour. Only 90 minutes and still I often can’t manage to set this time of undisturbed creativity apart for myself. Instead, I switch from one task to the other, feeling unsettled and restless. At the end of the morning, I feel I have nothing really done at all.


There must be a better way!

I came across the book “The ONE Thing”. Here, the author Gary Kellar describes how at some point in his life, he was so caught in the spiral of doing more and more every day, switching from one important task to the next, that not only got his business stuck, but also his health conditions suffered, and he had no time for his family. So he started to ask himself this one big question:


“What you want your life to be about?”


He searched for professional help from a coach and together they redefined his focus. His approach was very simple: to go small, focus on fewer things to achieve extraordinary results.


How often do we try to do more and more, spread our energy widely over several projects, only to realize that our to-do lists become overloaded and overwhelming? At the end of the day, we are working like crazy, but achieving too little. But how can we break this downward spiral? What is the best approach to recollect our focus?


Using the domino effect

“Every great change starts like falling dominoes.” -BJ Thornton


Kellar describes that to achieve extraordinary results you simply use the domino technique. You line up task by tasks, like dominos in a row, all representing a small amount of potential energy, and with a simple flick, you can start a chain reaction, which lead to results much bigger than you would have expected. You can even top this, if you know, that a single domino can bring down another domino, which is 50% larger than the first one. In 1983, Lorne Whitehead set up an experiment, where he lined up dominos each 1.5 times larger than the previous. The amazing results are shown here.


As you can see, one single domino can obviously not bring down the largest domino in the row, but the chain reaction of lining up domino by domino, growing by 50% each time, could eventually topple a domino with 280.000.000 times the energy of the first one.


If you apply this rule to your daily life, you clearly see that the route to success and to a healthier and happier life is not to concentrate on the “final goal”, but to narrow down the focus on the next important task. Step by step you can topple the next project, which is bigger than the first one without being scared or overwhelmed by it. In using the domino effect future actions that seem daunting are suddenly easier to achieve or even unnecessary.


Kellar recommends asking yourself “What ONE thing can I do, such that by doing it, makes everything else easier or unnecessary?” for all important areas in your life.


  • What can I do this morning to reach more customers?
  • What can I do this week to increase the sales by 50%?
  • What can I do this evening to deepen the relationship to my beloved one?
  • What can I do this weekend to spend more time with my family?


Narrowing your focus to the most important priority for this moment helps you to fully concentrate on the next important step without constantly looking at the over next tasks, which still is too huge to topple. Not only will you reach better results, but you will also take better care of your health – as the constant spiral of doing more and more is stopped – and have more time for your friends and family, if you have set the right dominos into action.


Applied correctly, using the domino effect is a simply, but effective technique to stop the depletion of energy, be more successful and live a healthier and happier life.


I have not worked with the technique for long, but I’m willing to give it a try and see how far I can come by setting a clear focus every morning, scheduling just one priority at a time and giving it my full attention.


Funny enough, while writing this post, my daily motivation from the London’s writer Salon (check out the link for further information) dropped into my inbox. After finishing the first part of this text, I clicked the email to read today’s inspiration – see, how perfectly it’s matching:


"My approach to what I do in my job—and it might even be the approach to my life—is that everything I do is the most important thing I do. Whether it’s a play or the next film. It is the most important thing. I know it’s not going to be the most important thing, and it might not be close to being the best, but I have to make it the most important thing. That means I will be ambitious with my job and not with my career. That’s a very big difference, because if I’m ambitious with my career, everything I do now is just stepping-stones leading to something—a goal I might never reach, and so everything will be disappointing. But if I make everything important, then eventually it will become a career. Big or small, we don’t know. But at least everything was important."

More info’s about the One Thing principle and free download on the Website: 

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