One Thing


Do you remember the movie City Slickers with Billy Crystal (as Mitch) and Jack Palance (as Curly)?  There is this point when Curly tells Mitch about the secret to life being “One Thing”. When Mitch asks what the one thing is, Curly simply tells him “that’s for you to figure out.”

You may be expecting me to post about the value of finding your one thing. Fooey. If I tried to live my life as some human just focusing on one thing, my head would explode. No…no…seriously. Just thinking about the possibility has me contemplating running a lap while I write this. I know that doesn’t make sense, but I’m trying to keep my head from exploding here.

Still with me? Good…Here’s my novel idea: Add One Thing! I don’t mean switch to the Jack Palance one thing, I mean take what you’re doing and Add One Thing! You may have to cut back on something else, like TV or sleeping (please don’t add TV or sleeping as your new one thing).

What could this be? Here are a couple of ideas:
1. 10 minutes of stretching per day
2. 20 minutes of reading (mostly non-fiction) per day
– Note: If you want to finish The Lost Symbol first, I understand
– Note2: My blog should take less than 2 minutes per day, if you are so inclined
3. 20 minutes of writing each day (you don’t have to post your writing on-line)
4. Listen to books or audio lessons on CD during your drive to work instead of Rihanna
5. 15 minutes a day with Rosetta Stone (learn a language)
6. 90 minutes a week to join a Toastmasters club (you had to see that coming)
7. The number one thing on your “I’m waiting for such-and-such so I can do so-and-so” list (we all have one). Stop waiting …and just do it.

Of course, I practice what I preach. No score and four weeks ago, I began the (possibly insane) task of posting my Talk to the Human™ blog on a daily basis. I did this for a variety of reasons:
1. To see if I could really write (results are a bit mixed so far)
2. As a method to capture my ideas and compel me to at least try to refine them
3. To encourage feedback
4. Because people I respect kept using sentences with “hey you”, “should” and “blog” in them
5. As a way to become instantly rich (4 out of 5…you know the joke)

Around the third day, I thought, “at the one week point I should change this to a weekly blog, and see if anyone notices.” Do you know what happened next? Oh…duh, of course you do. But do you know why? I kept posting each day because I started to get used to posting every day.  I’m not saying it became easy to gen out content. But I am saying I’ve become used to the process, and now I capture two or three potential ideas per day, and I’m usually able to come up with a coherent (!) post at home in the evening. In fairness, if you could see my drafts you would see six or seven posts with less than a paragraph done because I had writers block. I just changed subjects and posted on something different.

One of the draft posts began as an idea for preparing readers to ace their next interview. I actually feel like a dork for not getting through the second paragraph. Hopefully some inspiration will hit in the next few days and I’ll finish that one off. Rats! I think I just said that I’m waiting on something before I do something with that idea. Okay…ignore that whole paragraph. Read this next one instead:

One of the draft posts began as an idea for preparing readers to ace their next interview. I actually feel like a dork for not getting through the second paragraph. My plan is to work on this one again this weekend so that you can have a few ideas before you need them to ace your next interview. Ahhh…better.

If you’ve made it this far, there’s no doubt that you’ve begun thinking about the one thing you could add to make a small, but useful change in your life. Don’t try to implement all 7 (or more) ideas I gave you at one time. Just pick one and add it this next week, then make a promise to yourself to keep doing it regularly for the next month. At that point, see if you have made any progress. For my example, of course my writing wasn’t going to transform into novel-quality work in just four weeks, but my writing is getting written each day, instead of just churned uselessly in my head again and again. It may not be a Lotto-Winning caliber achievement, but just maybe it means I’m not the same exact person I was a month ago.

Think about it. What will your next One Thing be?

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