Jay Papasan - Figuring Out Your "One Thing"

It was almost called the “success habit.” Instead, Jay Papasan and Gary Keller released their popular book on purpose driven productivity as The ONE Thing, which went on to sell over 1.3 million copies worldwide, made 400 appearances on national bestseller lists (including # 1 on The Wall Street Journal’s hardcover business list), and was translated into 30 different languages.

The reason for the book’s success is clear: learning to ask the all-important “focusing question,” and figuring out your own “one thing,” can be a true game changer. While application of the books’ principles of highly leveraged action may be focused onto a different priority for each of us, the common starting point in everyone’s journey is a determination of purpose. In this episode, Jay goes into detail on how purpose driven priority helps reveal the road map for a productive life of fulfillment and meaning.

As Jay explains, it’s not as hard as you might think to get started in the right direction. In today’s podcast, Jay introduces us to the concepts in the book, and offers examples and insightful explanations that have no doubt been informed by the hundreds of hours he has spent speaking and teaching on these principles to scores of audiences worldwide.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The importance of taking failure out of the equation through practice of fundamentals, developing positive habits, and getting the basics right

  • How travel helps shape our perspectives

  • Application of the economics and quality management theory known as the Pareto Principle (also called the “80/20 rule”) to everyday life

  • What is the focusing question, and how does that reveal your own “ONE Thing”?

  • Why it’s more important to set a direction, rather than picking a destination, when determining purpose

  • The myth of a balanced life

  • Happiness - no, it’s really not about money

  • Building purpose driven culture as a leader

  • Daily techniques for protecting time and priority

  • Common thieves of productivity

I hope you enjoy this show as we ask Jay about the purpose in the process of figuring out your own “ONE Thing”!

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Links and More Information on this Topic:

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Jay’s curiosity about why some people get extraordinary outcomes and others do not helped fuel his work with Gary Keller to write The ONE Thing, which has sold over 1.3 million copies worldwide, has garnered more than 400 appearances on national bestseller lists (including #1 onThe Wall Street Journal’s hardcover business list), and has been translated into 30 different languages. Whether working with his wife Wendy to raise funds for Heroes for Children, inspiring others to take action toward their goals, or aiming to be the best husband and father he can be, Jay strives to remain awake and aware – with clarity and focus on his values and goals. Jay Papasan is a bestselling author and Vice President and Executive Editor at Keller Williams Realty, Inc., the world’s largest real estate company. He is also co-owner, alongside his wife Wendy, of Papasan Properties Group. They live in Austin, Texas with their two kids, Gus and Veronica, and their dog, Taco.

A link directly to the book on Amazon - just in time for Christmas:


Books by other authors mentioned by Jay during the podcast:

And here’s a link to Reid Hoffman’s podcast Masters of Scale - I love a good podcast, so I’m definitely going to subscribe!