In Depth

Two rabbits, one rabbit : Focus on ‘the ONE thing’


If you have already read Subroto Bagchi’s ‘The Elephant Catchers’ you would have, in all probability, given up on carrying a dead rabbit as the trophy back home, and gone chasing scale, instead. But what about those who haven’t caught even the rabbit? Here is ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan (Hachette), to help.

The book opens with a Russian proverb, thus: “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” Meaning is simple: Focus on one thing to achieve success. That is the answer to a series of questions the authors pose: “If everyone has the same number of hours in a day, why do some people seem to get so much more done than others?” “If time is the currency of achievement, why are some able to cash in their allotment for more chips than others?”…

The secret is that the successful people make getting to the heart of things the heart of their approach; they go small, the authors aver.


’Going small’ is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do. It’s recognising that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. It’s a tighter way to connect what you do with what you want. It’s realising that extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus.

The authors rue that most people do just the opposite and think big success, which leads to the overloading of the calendars and overwhelming of the to-do lists. “Success starts to feel out of reach, so they settle for less. Unaware that big success comes when we do a few things well, they get lost trying to do too much and in the end accomplish too little. Over time they lower their expectations, abandon their dreams, and allow their life to get small.”

Success is an inside job, the authors remind. Put yourself together, and your world falls into place, they advise.

When you bring purpose to your life, know your priorities, and achieve high productivity on the priority that matters most every day, your life makes sense and the extraordinary becomes possible. All success in life starts within you. You know what to do. You know how to do it. Your next step is simple. You are the first domino.

Taking inspiration from the book, let me suggest a quick exercise for startup entrepreneurs, to try this weekend, in case you haven’t done that previously: “Can you describe your entrepreneurial pursuit in one page, and then condense it to one paragraph, and further compress it to one tweet to @dmuraliYS?”

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