Book Review:The One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do, by Phil Cooke

by Gary Gilles

One Big Thing BookI’m often asked, as most people are, what I do for a living. Sometimes I simply say I’m a therapist or mental health counselor. But, sometimes I want to frame what I do in a broader way. I could say: I help people work through areas of their life where they are stuck, need support or need to heal, and that would be accurate. But, when I step back and look at the bigger picture, what I am really doing is helping people to create more meaning and purpose in their lives. By getting unstuck or being able to achieve something that has previously been out of reach for them, they usually find life becomes more meaningful.

I feel privileged to be able to engage in people’s lives in this way. But I am also always on the lookout for resources that might help others find more meaning in life that they can pursue on their own. I recently read an interesting and inspiring book called, The One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do, by Phil Cooke that fits this criteria.

The One Big Thing challenges us to slow down and take an honest look at how we are spending our time and energy. It’s no surprise to anyone these days that life is filled with too many options. In this digital age, we are overwhelmed with information and opportunities on a daily basis and it becomes increasingly difficult to filter out the many good choices from those that are truly better. It doesn’t help if you are one of those opportunistic people who is always trying to squeeze more of life into an already finite amount of time. This often ends up creating self-induced stress and a schedule that feels out of control.

I liked this book because it prompts the reader to search for greater purpose and meaning in life. It provides sign posts to help the average person cut through a lot of the distracting clutter that fill our days.  It asks the bigger question: If you could only do one thing with your time, talent and experience, what would it be? To honestly answer that question, you have to sort through what occupies you most of your time and energy right now and if that is where you want to invest your future efforts.

Cooke implies that when you are clear on your purpose, you also have a have clarity on how to spend your time. It becomes easy to say no to the things that don’t fit in with the direction you are heading. These aren’t missed opportunities but prudent decisions that enable you to spend more time doing what you love and feel passionate about.

The first half of the book explains why you need to get clarity on your one big thing. The second half is full of practical and immediately applicable suggestions for finding and implementing what you discover.

Phil Cooke is best known as a filmmaker and has a production company in Burbank, CA. He’s also authored several books on different aspects of creativity and has helped organizations around the world find clarity of purpose for their personnel and mission. He works from a Christian value system but it is a subtle emphasis throughout. If you are a person of faith you will find some the integration of his ideas with faith a refreshing addition. If you are simply interested in the concepts of finding your passion, you will still find many gems of practical advice in this very readable and inspiring book.

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