How To Get The M.O.S.T. Out Of Your Life

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Two years ago, I got to know a young UX designer via a social networking app, and we decided to meet up over coffee. He was about a decade younger than me, but he spoke with the drive and conviction of a seasoned entrepreneur – and damn right he was!

At that time, he had already co-founded and exited a startup. It wasn’t a big, radical idea; it was a simple online platform that allowed friends to co-create travel plans and itineraries for their holidays. Within two years of its inception, it was acquired by a travel-tech company based in Indonesia.

Last I checked, he had since gone on to lead a design team for a fintech startup while also co-founding a global mentoring platform that had recently raised $1.3m in pre-seed funding.

He did all these before his mid-20s. What the hell was I doing when I was his age??

I was inspired, but if I’m being honest with myself, there was a tinge of guilt as well. I reflected deeply after our conversation. What did he do differently that got him to where he is now?

Photo credits: bernardbodo

Perhaps I’m doing too many things at the same time

It wasn’t until months later did I start to have an inkling of the answer to that question. I came across this simple yet powerful diagram in Greg McKeown’s Essentialism:

Scattered efforts make little progress as compared to focused efforts

When our focus and attention is spread out over multiple directions, our overall progress in each way is limited. However, if we could consolidate the efforts into one single direction, we could go so much deeper and make so much more progress.

The question is, what should we then focus on?

My One Simple Thing

In the book, The One Thing, authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan describe the concept of “The Focusing Questions”, which goes like this:

"What’s the ONE thing that I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?"

CLICK. The lights turned on in my head.

We are often inundated by countless notifications and alerts from the omnipresent devices in our lives today, and everything that grabs our attention appears to be as important and urgent as everything else.

However, how often have we stopped and evaluated if that is really true? Is everything really equally important at any given moment?

Guess what, it really isn’t.

Whenever you can, try slowing down to evaluate what you truly want to prioritise and invest your limited energies into. If you’re like me, you’ll realize that some things are simply not that important, and others will be resolved if we fix something else on the list.

I call this “My One Simple Thing”, or M.O.S.T. for short. It is the one thing that I should and must do on my list that will make everything else easier or unnecessary. 

Every time I feel stuck or overwhelmed, I’ll pause and ask myself, “What’s my one simple thing that I can do right now?”. I might now be doing much less, but I’m definitely feeling much more productive and effective. More importantly, it helped me to be kinder to myself because I’m no longer pressured by the lack of progress.

Now that you know my secret, how would you go and make the M.O.S.T. out of your life now?

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About the author
Terry Toh

Terry Toh

Terry is an aspiring life coach working towards his accreditation by the International Coaching Federation. He loves to read about personal development and entrepreneurship, often with a nice cup of coffee or G&T in hand.
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