This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The One Thing" by Gary Keller. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.
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How can you take small steps to success? How does the domino effect apply to accomplishment?
Taking small steps to success is a smart way to get there. When you attack your goals by starting with the one, right thing, it leads to bigger things—you build energy in a geometric progression. Success builds on success, sequentially, as you move from One Thing to another until you reach the highest level possible.
Read more to learn how to take small steps to success.
Small Steps to Success
When you prioritize so you’re focusing on the right thing at the moment, everything after that subsequently falls into place like a progression of dominoes. Each domino represents a small amount of energy and as your dominoes fall, the energy in the string builds so that your final results are astounding.
In 1983, physicist Lorne Whitehead determined that a single domino can bring down another domino that’s 50% bigger. Another physicist tested and confirmed this in 2001, using eight dominoes of plywood, each 50% larger than the one before. The first was two inches tall and the last one thirty-six inches tall.
The domino effect allows you to take small steps to success. When you attack your goals by starting with the one, right thing, it leads to bigger things—you build energy in a geometric progression like Whitehead’s progressively larger dominoes. To extend the math in his example:
- The tenth domino would be nearly as tall as NFL quarterback Payton Manning.
- The eighteenth would be comparable to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
- The twenty-third would be taller than the Eiffel Tower.
- The thirty-first would surpass Mount Everest by 3,000 feet.
- The fifty-seventh would be comparable in height to the distance between earth and moon.
To achieve success, aim for the moon. Getting there is doable when you create a domino effect in your life.
Success Is Sequential
Exceptional success, like a domino fall, is sequential, not something you achieve by multitasking or doing a lot of things simultaneously. You line up your priorities and focus on the first domino until you topple it. You begin with a linear process that becomes geometric; you build momentum as you do the first right thing, followed by the next and the next. You take small steps to success.
A wealthy person doesn’t become wealthy in a day; a champion athlete doesn’t start winning on day one. Money, skills, expertise, and accomplishments are built over time. Success builds on success, sequentially, as you move from One Thing to another until you reach the highest level possible.
Take small steps to success by leveraging the domino effect, allowing your achievements to build on each other.
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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Gary Keller's "The One Thing" at Shortform .
Here's what you'll find in our full The One Thing summary :
- Why focusing daily on one thing, rather than many, is the key to success
- How success is like dominos
- The six common myths about success