The One Thing My Dad, Curly and Gary Taught Me

It was the year a guy named Armstrong took one small step and landed in a sea of moon dust. My ride was a gold dragster, complete with banana seat, 3 speed T-bar gears and chopper handlebars. Mrs Brown was my grade three teacher.

It was 1969. I was 8 years old.

My favourite part of the week was Friday night. Dad, after a big session at the pub, would sit on the edge of my bed and tell me bite-size chunks of wisdom.

Things like… 

  • Don't dribble when you talk to girls, you'll look desperate.

  • If you are driving a car and cause an accident don't admit fault.

  • If your mouth is dry in the bush and you don't have water, suck on some pebbles.

Good stuff to know for later in life.

But the chunk of wisdom that stuck with me like a burr to Velcro was how to succeed in life.

Dad told me to be successful I needed to specialise in ONE Thing.

Be known for ONE Thing. Focus on ONE Thing.

I decided my ONE Thing would be kangaroos. Remember I was 8!

Google wasn’t going to be a thing for another 28-years, so I had to consult the family encyclopedia. We had one full set and three volumes from different brands only covering the letter A. In those days’ encyclopedia companies would send you the first volume as a free sample. We couldn’t afford the other 25 letters, so our library was full of A's

But, my first mistake in becoming an expert was to pick a subject that starts with K. I should have become an Aardvarks expert

My dreams of being the world's expert on kangaroos evaporated, but the message of "ONE Thing" stuck.

Twenty-two years later three middle-aged men put on cowboy gear and rode off into the desert to go find themselves. In the movie City Slickers, crusty old cowboy Curly, played by Jack Palance gave Billy Crystal’s character, Mitch the secret to life. He extended a leather gloved finger in the air. The secret? “Just ONE Thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean shit.”

Invest 3mins and watch the clip.

In 2013, Gary Keller wrote the business book The ONE Thing. Published by Bard Press it went onto become a bestseller. If you haven’t read it I suggest you get a copy.

Dad, Curly and Gary all gave me the same advice. ONE Thing.

And now I’m giving it to you.

  • The ONE Thing is about strategy.

  • The ONE Thing is about focus.

  • The ONE Thing is about picking ONE good thing and saying NO to a hundred other good things.

The path to my current ONE Thing began 24-years ago when I watched a forklift driver with a Ned Kelly beard cry. It was the day the bank changed the locks and put 25 good people out of work. It was the day my boss, friend and mentor John Connor, lost his business. It wasn’t the bank's fault, it was because John lost his way. He started chasing many things. And doing them badly. An easy thing to do in business.

So, what’s my ONE Thing?

I help courageous small business owners grow their businesses.

How I help depends on what’s holding the business back.

Why? Because I never want to see a bank change the locks on a small business ever again.

Until next week,

Work hard. Have fun.

Craig Arthur

PS. What’s your ONE Thing story?

I’d love to hear it.

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