Ep36: Finding Your ‘One Thing’ | with Jay Papasan


Setting goals is easy. Everyone has done it.

“I’m going to make ten million dollars this year.”

“I’m going to lose 100 pounds.”

“I’m going to live life to the fullest!!!!!!”

Easy, right? I just set some goals. Yippie.

The hard part is achieving the goals we set for ourselves. In fact, over 92% of New Year’s Resolutions fail, and it’s largely because people don’t know how to properly set their goals. And even more importantly, once they do set their goals, they have no idea where to put their FOCUS so they can take the proper actions to get things done.

In today’s episode I chat in-depth about the concept of focus with Jay Papasan, a bestselling author who serves as Vice President and Executive Editor at Keller Williams Realty International. Jay has co-authored a series of books that have found their way to numerous bestselling lists, including those found on The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and The New York Times. His most recent work with Gary Keller on The ONE Thing has sold over half a million copies worldwide and garnered more than 250 appearances on national bestseller lists, including #1 on the Wall Street Journal’s hardcover business list.

If you’re wondering why I would have a realtor on a podcast all about optimizing creativity and work-life balance, I can assure you Jay knows his stuff when it comes to prioritizing life and focusing on the “One Thing” that will lead to your ultimate success. I learned a ton from chatting with Jay that went well beyond his book, and I hope you learn something valuable as well.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • The significance of focus and it’s relationship with goal fulfillment
  • Defining your priorities to understand your deeper why
  • Granting your needs exclusivity so that they can contribute to greater goals AKA The Domino Effect
  • Learning how to discipline your habits
  • Overcoming the “death valley” stage of your new activity
  • Finding your daily willpower peak and scheduling work for that time
  • Identifying the tasks that contribute to your priorities
  • Highlighting your “Big-impact” goals, and then ordering them by priority
  • Re-evaluating how much you can get done in five years
  • Feeling the pull of your “someday goals”
  • Confronting and defeating the fear of chaos

Useful Resources Mentioned:

The 1 Thing

1922 Article

OPT Podcast Ep35 Cal Newport

OPT Podcast Ep07 Shawn Stevenson

OPT Podcast Ep05 Joe de Sena

Our Generous Sponsors:

This episode is made possible by Ergodriven, the makers of the Topo Mat, my #1 recommendation for anyone interested in moving more at their height-adjustable workstation. Listen, standing desks are only great if you’re standing well, otherwise you’re constantly fighting fatigue and chronic pain. Not like any other anti-fatigue mat, the Topo is scientifically proven to help you move more throughout the day which helps reduce discomfort and also increase your focus and productivity. And they’re really fun and a great conversation starter.

This episode is made possible by the HumanCharger,  a revolutionary new light therapy device made specifically for people who spend long days in the dark and don’t get enough sunlight…i.e. You and me. Simply put in the earbuds for 12 minutes a day to receive your daily recommended dosage of UV-free white light. Doing so can drastically increase your energy, improve your mood, and increase mental alertness and focus.This device has literally changed my life and I use it every morning without fail. Use the code ‘OPTIMIZE’ to get 20% off your order.

This episode is made possible by StoryBlocks, my go-to resource for professional stock images for my sites. Use this link to download anything from their library of over 400,000 stunning photos, textures, images, and icons free for 7 days and get discounts on millions of more items.

Guest Bio:

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Jay Papasan is a bestselling author who serves as Vice President and Executive Editor at Keller Williams Realty International, the fastest growing real estate company in North America. Jay has co-authored a series of books that have found their way to numerous bestselling lists, including those found on The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and The New York Times. His most recent work with Gary Keller on The ONE Thing has sold over half a million copies worldwide and garnered more than 250 appearances on national bestseller lists, including #1 on the Wall Street Journal’s hardcover business list.

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared and published by Jakin Rintelman. Special thanks to Krystle Penhall and Sarah Furie for helping to spread the love!

The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).


Note: I believe in 100% transparency, so please note that I receive a small commission if you purchase products from some of the links on this page (at no additional cost to you). Your support is what helps keep this program alive. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, and the creator of the Optimize Yourself program. Zack helps ambitious creative professionals and entrepreneurs overcome procrastination, depression, and creative burnout so they can get sh*t done and achieve the most meaningful goals in their lives...without sacrificing their sanity in the process. If you’re interested in learning how to better manage your time, your energy, and develop ninja-like focus, download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”

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