What’s That “One Thing” In Your Life?

by on April 12, 2011

What’s That “One Thing” In Your Life?

 

Many years ago I enjoyed seeing the movie “City Slickers”.  In the movie, Billy Crystal plays a man named Mitch going through a midlife crisis.  As a way to get away from things, along with two of his buddies, he goes on an adventure which involves being part of a cattle drive.  While Mitch and the others on the drive are inexperienced in this type of endeavor, they are guided by more experienced ranch hands.  One of them is an old time cowboy named Curly, who is played in the movie by Jack Palance.  During one scene, Mitch is alone with Curly to go after some strays from the herd.  While camping down for the night, the two characters get into a conversation about the meaning of life.  Curly informs Mitch that the meaning of life is just “one thing”.  Crystal is confused and asks Curly what he means.  Curly indicates to him, that is what he has to figure out.

The Curly character subsequently dies in the movie, and Mitch is left wondering what the message his words are looking to convey to him until the end of the movie. By that time, after going through some very dangerous experiences, Mitch learns for him the “one thing” that is most important to him in his life is his relationship with his family.  He also realizes for each individual it is a different thing depending on where they are in their life at that moment.

The movie scene came back to me a few days ago.  There were a number of items I was looking to catch up on in my life.  However, at that same time I knew a venture that I had started about a month ago ultimately was going to have the most important long term impact on my business and the clients I am meant to serve.  While I could justify the time that I was spending by paying attention to the items calling for my attention, I also knew in my heart they were keeping me away from that one thing that was in need of my primary focus.  Since that point, I have made a commitment to allocate the time that I feel is most appropriate toward that top priority, and let secondary priorities be addressed as I am able to get to them.

Another point to keep in mind about that one thing that is most important to you is that it likely will require a supreme effort from you in giving it the attention it deserves.  For example, if your goal is to clean out your bedroom closet, and your desire is to have it done by the time the weekend is over, it’ not going to get done if you choose to address ten other errands before starting on the closet.  Or if you are actively looking for a job, just sending out a few resumes, or waiting by the phone for the head hunter you hired to call is not going to do the trick.  You will need to research the type of job you want, research companies that have that type of position, and make contacts with those who are part of those companies to get in and express your interest to those in a position to hire you.  The item that is that one thing that is most important to you deserves a majority of your time and effort until such time that it is replaced by another more important priority.  Yes, that “one thing” may change for you as you move from one phase of your life to another.   However, as long as you know at the moment the one thing that is driving your efforts, then you know the item that deserves your complete attention.  As such, anything you need to do to accomplish it or at least continue moving it forward, is where your time needs to be spent.

So when you feel distracted or uneasy ask yourself, what is the one thing that is most important which I want to accomplish at this point in my life?  Are the everyday tasks you are performing aligned to that purpose?  Or are you taking care of a number of other tasks which while helping you get things done, are keeping you from achieving what you have determined is the item you most want?  When you have a clear focus on that one thing, you are most likely to be happy and contented with the life you are leading and enjoying the experience of life for what it is at that moment.   However, it is up to you to define that “one thing”.

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