Many people have hopes and dreams that they wish to accomplish during their life. The desire for happiness and a better life is a natural part of life, after all. However, achieving that happiness and better life is a lot harder than we think. Many of us struggle to try to find how to reach the goals we set up for ourselves. The more ambitious the intent, the more work it will require.
During this all-too-common struggle, a typical occurrence is that we begin to believe that there's one single thing - a silver bullet or magic formula, so to speak - that would solve all of our problems instantly. If you've ever found yourself asking the question "If only I had this..." or "If only that happened...", you've fallen into the trap of trying to finding what I call "The One Thing".
The reality is that "The One Thing" is rarely the solution you need to reach your goals. It might push you closer towards your aims and objectives, making what you want to accomplish a bit easier. But it won't magically get you to the result, which is what you might be expecting. When caught in the thought of finding "The One Thing", you spend vast amounts of energy trying to get it. Eventually, it will end up in one of two ways - you'll burn yourself out before getting there, or you'll find it and realize that it wasn't the magical answer you were seeking.
The real path to success is often a combination of multiple things. It can be doing different types of tasks, using past experiences, obtaining necessary resources like time or money, and more. By focusing on one single thing, you will eventually overlook other ways that are necessary to reach your objectives, slowing you down or blocking you altogether. It's as if you put blinders on your head and can't see anything besides the one single thing right in front of you, potentially missing something that might be the key to your dreams.
Any massive goal will require you to deal with different areas that combined will take you where you want to go. As an example, imagine you want to lose 30 pounds by the end of the year, and you focus on going to the gym. Regular exercise is an essential key to achieving weight loss, but training alone won't help you lose the amount of weight you want. If your "One Thing" is going to the gym, you might lose a couple of pounds, but it'll make reaching your goal much more difficult than combining it with other tasks, like changing your diet to eat healthier. A combination of regular exercise and a healthy diet is almost guaranteed to help you reach that weight loss goal.
You don't necessarily have to do multiple things simultaneously as in the example above. You can also focus on one thing at a time, as long as you don't believe that the thing you're focusing on is "The One Thing" that will magically get you to your result. For instance, let's say you're an author and want to write a best-selling novel. Your single area of focus should be on writing the book - a lengthy process that will require lots of consistency and patience. Focusing on the act of writing is necessary, but writing alone won't make you a New York Times Best Seller. You'll eventually need to find a publisher and promote the book, among other actions. Those tasks can be isolated points of focus after completing the writing process.
One of the main problems with focusing on "The One Thing" is that it will make you ignore something precious: your experience. Everything you've done in your life shapes you into the person you are now and has built a wealth of knowledge that can be useful for what you want to accomplish now. Even if you think that something you've done or experienced in the past is entirely unrelated to your current goals, you can be confident that there's at least a small part that can help guide you to where you want to go.
This problem often manifests itself when you feel like you've done a lot of things and because you're not at your goal yet, that nothing has worked and you need to try an entirely different approach. The issue is that while you might think your efforts have been a waste, all that experience is useful and can teach you many things. If you tried something and it was a failure that set you back, you learn not to do it again. If something else you tried seemed to work but was missing something, you have a chance to look at the problem from a different perspective and try again. As the great Roman Julius Caesar once said: "Experience is the teacher of all things".
Always remember that there's never one single path to success. Focusing on finding "The One Thing" will hinder your progress, so always keep looking around you for other routes that will help guide you towards your dreams.
Small steps for your Practical Good
If you suspect that you're holding yourself back because you have a one-track mind, here are some small steps to take that will help you find the different paths you need to use to hit your goals.
- If you're trying to find "The One Thing", stop now: As explained, there's not going to be one single thing that will lead you to where you want to go. It's best to take that idea off of your mind as quickly as possible so that you don't continue to get bogged down.
- Create a multi-layered plan for your current goals: Whatever you're trying to accomplish, think of all the different things you need to do to get there. Once you have a clearer picture of the various tasks you'll need to get there, you can combine some or all of those tasks, or start prioritizing and make a roadmap of what you need to do to tackle them one by one.
- Use something from your past that will help you with your present: Use your vast wealth of experience to help reach your goals. You can pick something you've done before that is similar to what you want to do now and shape it to fit your current needs. Don't forget to think about past failures as well, as they can help you figure what you shouldn't do and what you can do differently.