The Wisdom of Curly: One Thing

one thingOne of the scenes practically everyone remembers from the movie City Slickers is when Curly (played by Jack Palance) is talking with Mitch (played by Billy Crystal) about his view on life.  The following conversation ensues:

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?   [holds up index finger]   This.

Mitch: Your finger?

Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean s***.

Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”

Curly: [smiles] That’s what *you* have to find out.

Curly, the old cowhand, knew it while the radio executive had not yet figured it out.

[SPOILER ALERT]  Eventually he does.

Busy Lives without that One Thing

What’s your schedule like?  Is it filled with focus or filled with events?  We book our calendar with things to do and it is typically a wide variety of things.  We may support a variety of non-profit organizations, take the kids here and there to piano lessons, dance class, Scout meetings, football or baseball practice, soccer, lacrosse.  We have committee meetings at church, the house needs straightening up, we have meetings in the office, a lunch appointment, gotta fix dinner, gotta check our Facebook page, gotta scan the news, attend a webinar we heard was good.  Somewhere in there we may decide to say hello to our Significant Other and then watch a little (or a lot) of TV.  What’s our One Thing?

We are busy, but are we really getting where we want to go?  Are we getting the most out of the moment?  Are we learning to focus our energy?

One Thing We Are Gifted For

The urgent message behind the Wisdom of Curly is that ONE THING.  To be truly effective, to utilize more of our potential, we must focus on the one thing that truly fills us.  It is the thing we were created for.  We were particularly and UNIQUELY gifted for this one thing and somewhere deep inside of us is a passion for the one thing.  The two must coincide; you cannot be gifted for something without having a passion for it.  It may have been suppressed or even trained out of you by your environment, but deep inside you is that passion for that ONE THING!

If you really want to get the most out of your life, you must draw more focus onto that ONE THING.  If you know what it is, you must devote more resources to developing it and exploiting it (exploiting in this case is a good thing).  If you don’t know what it is, you need to spend time searching and finding it.

“What?!” you say, “find time for SOMETHING ELSE to do?  I just don’t have any more time!”

You don’t have to time to NOT do it!  Anything else, if you are not leveraging your ONE THING, is wasted effort.

Focus Not Flurry

target - one thing focus not flurryThe secret, I believe, is in Focus and Not Flurry.  Stop being caught up in a never-ending flurry of activity and start being concentrated on establishing or optimizing that ONE THING.  Now, some busy things in life are unavoidable; shopping still needs to get done, meals still need to be cooked, some meetings are inevitable, charities still need our help (although this could use focus too), and the kids still need to go places.  But the last two are good examples of flurry instead of focus.  I see many people get involved in a wide variety of charitable activities, dabbling here and there but never really digging in to one.  Pick ONE, maybe two at the most, and focus your energy on serving them as best you can.

Additionally, in our earnest ambition to give our kids the best opportunity to succeed, we overbook them in an expanse of activities that we end up investing a lot of time and money into and become a shuttle for moving them around from place to place.  And so, we ingrain in them also the mindset of FLURRY instead of FOCUS.  They become a jack of all trades and we wonder why they don’t settle down and DO SOMETHING as they get older.  They have had no time to develop a real passion for anything before we moved them on to the next conquest.  They need exactly what we need: FOCUS NOT FLURRY.

They need that ONE THING.

You need that ONE THING.

Go get it!

Action Plan

  1. Do you know what your ONE THING is?  If not, start today to identify it.  Seek help from a coach.  They can help you identify strengths and passions that may be hidden.
  2. If you know your ONE THING, decide on something you will do daily to work on it.