One Thing Principle: Use What You Have
In thinking about the One Thing Principle, I recalled my experience as a missionary in Morocco.
Missionaries come from the first world, but many of them live in the second or third world. In other words, they know what they’re missing.
What that means is that they cherish any little token of home that they can’t run down to the local shop to buy.
So for instance, when someone sends a can of oatmeal, that baby is meted out in teaspoons to be sure none is wasted. You won’t find left over oatmeal sitting in a pan congealing until it’s scooped into the garbage pail at the end of the day. By golly, that oatmeal will be eaten right away or stirred into oatmeal bread dough to be eaten later.
Likewise, a few tubes of fabric paint will be used until they are dried up and rinsed out with water for the final residue of color.
Books in English are passed around through the “missionary lending library” (meaning traveling missionaries will schlep books in their bags from city to city via the “missionary trade route” to be sure that everyone gets a chance to read the great books that they can’t get in their towns).
How does all this apply to the One Thing Principle?
What I discovered on the field is that we milked “one thing” for all of its value. We didn’t simply taste it and rush off to the next thing. One of my missionary friends shared with me that she used one book of crafts for six months with her kids. They did every single project in the book. That was the only book they had! Have you ever done that?
Think about how much fun it would be to actually use the books we already own, to follow each page and not flit away to the next idea before thoroughly enjoying the one in front of us?
If we have a problem in America, it’s that we have an abundance of good ideas and materials clamoring for our attention all the time. That means we never quite delve all the way into what we already have.
So for the next few months, think like a missionary. What Brave Writer-y thing have you already got in your home that you can thoroughly use up before moving on to the next thing?
My suggestion: Do that!
P.S. The One Thing Principle is a great remedy for times of overwhelm as well, as explained in this broadcast.