Your One Thing to Accomplish

Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment.
Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated.”
~ Viktor E. Frankl

What’s your One Thing?

Your Magnificent Obsession?

What are you here to accomplish?

In the words of Frankl, what’s your “assignment that demands fulfillment?”

Do you know exactly what it is? Are you fully committed to its complete accomplishment and achievement?

The way you answer these questions not only determines your propensity to a level of mastery… they determine your quality of life, your energy and your fulfillment.

If you’ve been reading the blog for a time, you know by now that I’ve coined the term Innate Ability Development™ (IAD) (reference Innate Ability Development series) which I suggest is deeper and more rarified than traditional personal and spiritual development.

While both personal and spiritual development are important and powerful, they’re more general than IAD.

Mastery comes from knowing your unique genius and then developing and leveraging it fully in the service of mankind.

Your Innate Abilities are your unique genius; and genius comes from deliberate practice and mastery of the unique gifts you’ve been given. So that obviously presupposes that you foremost know what those abilities are. I’ve discussed this in great detail elsewhere so I won’t get into it again here. (reference IAD series)

This particular series, as the title suggests, is focused upon Mastery, Genius and Greatness. So while mastery is listed first, the formula actually unfolds in this fashion:

Find your unique Genius,
Develop it to a level of Mastery,
And then Contribute your Greatness to the World.

Do you want to understand and utilize our own Innate Ability and Unique Genius? or develop Mastery in yourself? Read here.

In installment 4 in this series we discussed that we needed to explore two things:

  • Solitude
  • Minimalism (reference MGG4)

We’ve explored solitude in great depth in the last two installments as well as its importance to your creativity and mastery.

Let’s get into minimalism.

Recent studies in willpower show that willpower is limited. Yes, you read that correctly. Even the most willful individual has a finite amount of energy in this particular line of development. Masters understand this fact, either consciously or unconsciously, and therefore design their life accordingly.

When you study the lives of the masters, those who achieve epic performance in their lives, it invariably proves that these individuals are minimalists.

These individuals have developed rituals and practices that often appear bizarre, or even as neurosis, to the masses. As we’ve already discussed, masters don’t care what others think.

Not that they don’t care for others mind you, they often really do. We’ve discussed this previously (reference MGG1). While there are often exceptions, it’s just that a master cares more for world class performance, mastery of their craft, and epic performance.

Laughter, ridicule, and/or lack of understanding are

a masters’ reinforcement that he’s changing the world.

This is why I’ve mentioned repeatedly that you must find your “Magnificent Obsession” your “One Thing,” and that you must become in the words of Drucker a “Monomaniac on a mission.”

When I personally mentor individuals, one of the questions I ask in our very first meeting is “Describe a typical day to me in detail.” Their answer speaks volumes about their level of mastery. Or lack thereof.

A large portion of them describe their day in broad general terms.

Mounds of research, as well as my own exhaustive personal experience, prove that the more masterful one becomes, the more they follow a specific daily system and routine. Why? Two straightforward inarguable reasons:

  • Efficiency
  • Effectiveness

A study conducted and published by Now Sourcing of the wealthiest people in the world, proves that 84% of these achievers follow a daily routine. Every single day! (reference Habits of the Worlds Most Wealthy)

If you leave your day and destiny up to chance,
There’s no chance you’ll master it.

I get up at 4AM. We’ve discussed this previously.

Why? A few reasons. First, because Circadian Rhythms tell us that the greatest most leveraged sleep we get is between 2-4AM as well as between 1-3PM. I want to get into those windows of deep sleep.

In my mind there’s no reason to sleep beyond the most leveraged window… that is assuming that I’ve gotten at least 6 hours of sleep total. Do the math. Something to ponder.

Stress is not the enemy. The enemy is lack of recovery

~ Life Unleashed

Secondly, we’ve discussed the power of solitude for creativity and flow (reference MGG4) and the undeniable fact is that there are just not that many individuals who want to get up early. Not in your household. Not in mine.

Not in any household for that matter!

Therein lies your automatic gift of silence and solitude.

Third, research proves that the worlds’ most epic achievers all agree that the hours between 4AM and 12PM are the most productive hours of the day. Therefore, Epic Achievers “frontload” their day.

So, if you choose to join the 4AM club you’ll automatically be gifted with solitude and greater productivity! Tremendous ROI.

“I love getting up early because I get so much more accomplished!”

~ Richard Branson

Finally the body, as well as your unconscious mind (UCM) thrives on routine; and once habituated, you most likely won’t even need an alarm. It might take a while but you’ll get there.

So what happens every morning at 4AM for me?

I come downstairs to the kitchen and instantly drink an 8 oz. alkaline drink. Every single day. No exceptions.

It’s imperative to hydrate and alkaline the body first thing in the morning. You’ve gone 6-8 hours without water; and therefore you’re invariably dehydrated.

Water is the number two nutrient of a healthy body. Water is only trumped by the number one nutrient of a healthy body… which is oxygen.

I won’t go on to describe the rest of my morning between 4AM and 6:30AM, (which is the time at which I go to the gym), but suffice to say that it’s automatic, habituated and nearly identical every single day.

There’s an extreme amount of power in a strict routine like this. To say that you get a lot accomplished is an enormous understatement. But maybe more importantly, going back to willpower, once something is habituated… you don’t have to think about it. At all!

This is the power of your amazing unconscious mind (UCM).

I can make my alkaline drink even on the days when I haven’t gotten my traditional 6-8 hours of sleep. Without even thinking about it!

… one 8 oz. glass of filtered water, one tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar, two pinches of sea salt, cayenne pepper, one tablespoon of organic lemon juice…

You get the idea.

Your UCM runs your body. Read that again.

Dr. Joseph Murphy’s research suggested it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. More recent research at the University of London suggests that it takes 66 days.

Which is more accurate?

Who knows?

But rest assured that somewhere between 21 days and 66 days you will have to use willpower (which remember is finite), to lock in the new behavior. After that is when the true magic begins. For after that time, the new behavior is locked in and concretized as a habit.

You see as a simple example, because my UCM is programmed to make my morning drink every single morning first thing (as well as many other things), as stated previously, I don’t ever have to even think about doing these habituated things. Therefore I conserve my willpower for grander less mundane things later in my day and life. Do you follow?

Quick quiz. What does Mark Zuckerberg wear when in public?

If you said a grey tee shirt, jeans and a hoodie, you’re correct.

If you didn’t, then you aren’t paying attention. For it’s always the same.

When asked in public if he, “only owns one shirt”, he laughed and replied:

“I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve the community.”

Even decisions that seem trivial and mundane, even like what to eat for breakfast, can actually be exhausting over time; and will definitely burn up your willpower. Please read that again.

I eat the same breakfast every single day.

We must learn to eat to live versus live to eat.

When you burn up all your willpower on the trivial and mundane… you’ll have none left when it matters most. This is not theory. This is science.

Are you thinking?

There’s a powerful concept in psychology called “decision fatigue,” when properly understood is a literal game changer.

Decision fatigue basically states what we’ve been discussing. There’s a finite amount of willpower. Even more importantly, research shows that we tend to make poor decisions after making a lot of decisions. Please read that again.

Your willpower and decision making muscles are much like your physical muscles in that when overused and spent, they don’t perform.

Muscle fatigue brings poor physical performance. Willpower fatigue brings poor decision making and life performance.


Are you beginning to see why masters are minimalists?

Is it becoming clearer why I encourage you to find your One Thing?

If you attempt to be everybody’s everything you end up as everybody’s nothing.

One of the most powerful practices I get my personal mentoring clients into is what I’ve labeled “The Master Protocol.” Given what we’ve discussed in this installment I’m sure you can imagine what it may consist of.

It’s not easy.

It takes extreme discipline and willpower to habituate this protocol initially. But once locked into your unlimited UCM you literally set your productivity and creativity on fire!

“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”

~ Barack Obama

Whether you like Obama or not (recent polls suggest that you probably don’t).Whether you agree with his decisions or not, is completely irrelevant. Pretty wise habit from a guy who’s in charge of making a lot of very critical and weighty decisions.

Think about it.

Are you addicted to the complexity of the masses?
Or are you committed to the simplicity of mastery?

What’s your One Thing?

If you attempt to be everybody’s everything you end up as everybody’s nothing. Something to ponder.

More on minimalism and mastery next week. This topic is broad and deep.

And the journey continues…

Stay Awake, Love Life, and Be Epic!

james arthur ray



Permission to re-post my personal articles is granted with acknowledgment of the author, James Arthur Ray and a link back to this website. Thanks and Enjoy!

11 Responses

  1. The Facebook plug-in is new! I wonder what the differences will be.

    The wonderful thing about getting up at 4am is after awhile you do awake to shut off the music just before it comes on. When I afforded the opportunity to break from my routine, like a vacation, it takes as long to recover from the vacation as the vacation. Living in paradise makes any vacation a challenge. I can bring some of my routine with me but I have only carved out my day here and only after years of practice and an unwillingness to bend on certain issues.

    Just yesterday, I planted a command in my UCM and this morning sure enough the trigger I wanted occurred for a small addition to the morning routine. My agreement and praise for the 'subby’s' alarm made it easy. In this case, it may not need any more days to produce the 'habit' since it is in alignment with my intention. I have struggled with habits where after three months of daily effort take only one day 'off' to end it. Sometimes I go back and start over but have come to see there is another way to accomplish the intention and I only need to wait for it or look elsewhere for it to appear.

    I have seen some research that appears to indicate there is no will power except in the creation of a habit. Virtually all decisions we claim to make were made by some part of the mind and the rest is justification, remorse or happenstance all based on years of programming and habits most of which we accepted and never inserted by our choice, by our will. Cutting out as much 'tube', TV, internet and 'smart' phone running automatically programming you is necessary and perhaps a required first step.

    If you attempt to be everybody’s everything you end up as everybody’s nothing. – JAR

    What's my 'one thing'?

    It has changed and evolved. Earlier it was finding that one mountain to climb. Then it was finding a mountain with no top and loving to climb was there for me to continue. As I have gotten closer to some pinnacle, a new one appears that to capture it I must continue past what brought me there. What began asking the question each morning, what is my source for 'notoriously' happy today has become more. What is the stand, position or perspective that provides notoriously happy always and all ways no matter what. How long can I keep it going? Leaving the comfort zone is not an answer for me but expanding it moment to moment works better. Goldilocks and the Three Bears over and over again for the first time.

    Thank you James for more than you know.

  2. Michael, Insightful as always. Two things to ponder: the difference between "personal will" and "Universal Will" and what that "mountain" really means to you and why ? In the words of Rumi, "be notorious" my friend. #LIVEBIG ~ JAR

  3. Thank you James! New image!

    Thanks for the lesson, as usual it arrives at the right moment, I was beginning to wonder if I was falling into a mechanical routine. I have been having the same breakfast for three years and I was asking myself why I wasn't getting bored of it. I have too many daily rituals and yes I am able now to begin and accomplish more stuff.

    But what happens is suddenly you get bored of one of those "necessary routines"? How can you continue a healthy routine if you just feel you are tired of doing the same thing?

    Well thanks once more James! and I´ll re-read this lesson a couple times more!!

  4. Hey Hector! If you find yourself getting bored it means you lost sight of your vision and purpose. Life is not about what you eat for breakfast… it's about what your bring to the world. Habituate the mundane things so you can focus your energy on the important things. #LIVEBIG ~ JAR

  5. Hi James,
    I have a very important question (to me at least), Why so many of these personal development books say the same thing over and over again with no real world application? It's just things like "you can do it!", "you are great",…..! Basically it's like many of them are just stories. They are just some fairy tales and couple of testimonies.

  6. What hurts is that they don't give the meat, the juice, the real thing and just go on and on about their experience. The books should not be about how they live, It should be about how we can "develop".

  7. Thank you so much for providing individuals with remarkably remarkable opportunity to read in detail from this website. It’s always very nice plus full of fun for me personally and my office mates to search your site more than three times every week to see the new things you have got. And definitely, I’m so at all times contented for the breathtaking information you give. Certain two areas in this post are undeniably the very best I have ever had.

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