Gary Keller’s ONE Thing sets the focus for 2013

Feb 17, 2013 2:32:18 AM

Family Reunion attendees had only ONE thing on their minds during the “Special Saturday” session yesterday afternoon. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, the latest book from bestselling author and Keller Williams Realty co-founder, Gary Keller to be exact.


Joined onstage by co-author Jay Papasan, Keller began the session by breaking down the success habits that he has used to grow his business and coach countless others to remarkable success - from entrepreneurs to top sales professionals, from college students to rock stars.

“After looking back at my successes and failures I discovered an interesting pattern,” Keller explained. “Where I’d had huge success, I had narrowed my concentration to ONE Thing, and where my success varied, my focus had to.”

Ultimately, it starts by getting small. As small as a single domino.

The science, as Papasan clarified, lies in the geometric domino progression. “Everyone has seen a domino fall – that one flick of a finger that creates an amazing chain reaction. You knock over the first domino and the rest follow. Here’s the interesting part: one regular sized domino can actually knock over a chain of progressively larger dominoes.”

It’s called a geometric progression, and was first tested in the 1980s. During the experiment a physicist successfully knocked over a line of dominoes where each was 1.5 times larger than its predecessor. By the end, the last domino toppled was about three feet – or the size of a headstone. “If you kept going,” Papasan continued, “by the 23rd domino you’d knock over the Eiffel Tower. By the 31st, Mount Everest, and by domino 57, you’d be knocking over a domino as tall as from here to the moon!”

Highly successful people not only know how to line up the dominos, they know how to line up the right dominos.

“Why does this work?” asked Keller. “Because success is sequential, not simultaneous. It’s ONE Thing at a time.”

Success also leaves clues. The list of businesses and people who have achieved extraordinary results through the power of ONE Thing is endless.

“Proof of the ONE Thing is everywhere,” said Keller. From products, to people, to passions or skills, it boils down to ONE. “No one succeeds alone,” he added. “There is always ONE Thing or ONE person behind the person.”

Star Wars' ONE Thing? Movies or merchandise? If you guess merchandise - you'd be right and you'd be wrong. Revenue from toys recently totaled over $10 billion, while combined worldwide box office revenue for the six main films totaled less than half that, $4.3 billion. So movies are the ONE Thing because they make the toys and products possible.

Warren Buffett’s ONE person? Charlie Munger, his long-time investing partner.

Albert Einstein had Max Talmund, his first mentor.

Keller and Papasan cited many more examples of the ONE Thing at work. They then surprised the audience with two special guests who embody the principals of The ONE Thing - Pat Matthews and Angelo Amorico .

Pat Matthews, one of America’s great impressionist painters, says he turned his passion for painting into a skill and ultimately a profession, by simply painting ONE painting a day.

Angelo Amorico, Italy’s most successful tour guide - Oprah taps him when she needs a tour - says he developed his skills and ultimately his business from his singular passion for his country and the deep desire to share it with others. “I love my country, and I want to share its beauty with the world,” he told Keller.


Having set the stage for the concept of the book, Keller and Papasan presented the lies that block success and how to identify (and thwart) the thieves that steal our time. They modeled the laws of purpose, priority and productivity, and finally, they taught that the ONE Thing can radically change the way we work, the choices we make and the results we get. Throughout it all, Keller asked attendees to think big. "On your way to living a life worth living, doing your best to succeed at what matters most to you not only rewards you with success and happiness but with something even more precious. No regrets," he said. “Go live a life worth living where, in the end, you’ll be able to say, ‘I’m glad I did,’ not ‘I wish I had.'”

Attendees left the session with lots of AHAs, but here was really only ONE priority: set a big and specific someday goal, and then use the focusing question: “What’s the ONE thing I can do such that by doing it everything will be easier or unnecessary?”

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