You need to be doing fewer things for more effect instead of doing more things with side effects.

Location 103

The moon is reachable if you prioritize everything and put all of your energy into accomplishing the most important thing.

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The key is over time. Success is built sequentially. It’s one thing at a time.

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This is the story line for extraordinary success stories. Passion for something leads to disproportionate time practicing or working at it. That time spent eventually translates to skill, and when skill improves, results improve. Better results generally lead to more enjoyment, and more passion and more time is invested.

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As Henry David Thoreau said, “It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”

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While to-dos serve as a useful collection of our best intentions, they also tyrannize us with trivial, unimportant stuff that we feel obligated to get done—because it’s on our list. Which is why most of us have a love-hate relationship with our to-dos. If allowed, they set our priorities the same way an inbox can dictate our day.

Location 328

So, if doing the most important thing is the most important thing, why would you try to do anything else at the same time? It’s a great question.

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Researchers estimate that workers are interrupted every 11 minutes and then spend almost a third of their day recovering from these distractions.

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You can do two things at once, but you can’t focus effectively on two things at once.

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When you discipline yourself, you’re essentially training yourself to act in a specific way. Stay with this long enough and it becomes routine—in other words, a habit.

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The trick to success is to choose the right habit and bring just enough discipline to establish it. That’s it. That’s all the discipline you need. As this habit becomes part of your life, you’ll start looking like a disciplined person, but you won’t be one. What you will be is someone who has something regularly working for you because you regularly worked on it. You’ll be a person who used selected discipline to build a powerful habit.

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Think of willpower like the power bar on your cell phone. Every morning you start out with a full charge. As the day goes on, every time you draw on it you’re using it up.

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The more we use our mind, the less minding power we have.

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We lose our willpower not because we think about it but because we don’t. Without appreciating that it can come and go, we let it do exactly that. Without intentionally protecting it every day, we allow ourselves to go from a will and a way to no will and no way. If success is what we’re after, this won’t work.

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Willpower is depleted when we make decisions to focus our attention, suppress our feelings and impulses, or modify our behavior in pursuit of goals. It’s like taking an ice pick and gouging a hole in our gas line. Before long we have willpower leaking everywhere and none left to do our most important work. So like any other limited but vital resource, willpower must be managed.

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We hear about balance so much we automatically assume it’s exactly what we should be seeking. It’s not. Purpose, meaning, significance—these are what make a successful life.

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If you think of balance as the middle, then out of balance is when you’re away from it. Get too far away from the middle and you’re living at the extremes. The problem with living in the middle is that it prevents you from making extraordinary time commitments to anything.

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The reason we shouldn’t pursue balance is that the magic never happens in the middle; magic happens at the extremes.

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“Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you’re keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls—family, health, friends, integrity—are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.”

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Pursue a big life and you’re pursuing the greatest life you can possibly live. To live great, you have to think big. You must be open to the possibility that your life and what you accomplish can become great.

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Don’t fear big. Fear mediocrity. Fear waste. Fear the lack of living to your fullest. When we fear big, we either consciously or subconsciously work against it. We either run toward lesser outcomes and opportunities or we simply run away from the big ones.

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I discovered that we can’t manage time, and that the key to success isn’t in all the things we do but in the handful of things we do well.

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One of the most empowering moments of my life came when I realized that life is a question and how we live it is our answer.

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Most people struggle to comprehend how many things don’t need to be done, if they would just start by doing the right thing.

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When we start and continue a way of thinking or a way of acting over a long enough period, we’ve created a new habit.

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“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.” —F. M. Alexander

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One of our biggest challenges is making sure our life’s purpose doesn’t become a beggar’s bowl, a bottomless pit of desire continually searching for the next thing that will make us happy.

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Pick a direction, start marching down that path, and see how you like it. Time brings clarity, and if you find you don’t like it, you can always change your mind. It’s your life.

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To experience extraordinary results, be a maker in the morning and a manager in the afternoon. Your goal is “ONE and done.” But if you don’t time block each day to do your ONE Thing, your ONE Thing won’t become a done thing.

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“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.”

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Life doesn’t simplify itself the moment you simplify your focus; there’s always other stuff screaming to be done. Always. So when stuff pops into your head, just write it down on a task list and get back to what you’re supposed to be doing. In other words, do a brain dump. Then put it out of sight and out of mind until its time comes.

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The people who achieve extraordinary results don’t achieve them by working more hours. They achieve them by getting more done in the hours they work.

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Michelangelo once said, “If the people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem wonderful at all.” His point is obvious. Time on a task, over time, eventually beats talent every time.

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If you have to beg, then beg. If you have to barter, then barter. If you have to be creative, then be creative. Just don’t be a victim of your circumstances.

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Attitude is contagious; it spreads easily.

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One evening an elder Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us. One is Fear. It carries anxiety, concern, uncertainty, hesitancy, indecision and inaction. The other is Faith. It brings calm, conviction, confidence, enthusiasm, decisiveness, excitement and action.” The grandson thought about it for a moment and then meekly asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee replied, “The one you feed.”

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Put yourself together, and your world falls into place.

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