Evan Carmichael wrote the book Your One Word, a simple, profound concept that can at once organize and inspire your life. Here’s my interpretation of the exercise intended to help readers find their one word.

The Five Questions Evan Carmichael wants you to ask yourself the following questions.

1. What makes you happy?

What’s your favorite movie?

one-word-book-evan-carmichaelRemember the Titans – because Herman Boone, the coach of this newly integrated black/white high school football team accomplished something profound. He took a racially divided, volatile and dysfunctional team of teenagers and brought them together.

My favorite scene was at the Battle of Gettysburg site, where coach Boone drew upon the suffering of those soldiers as if to say, “We owe it to them!” The nearly miraculous true-story and real-world results of Boone’s efforts came from a repositioning of the issue in the minds of his players. He reframed their sense of themselves and the real world has never been the same.

Words: Profound. Enlightened. Mindset. Determined. Individual.

Another movie I love with a similar theme: Freedom Writers. And there are others. The hero accomplishes something nearly impossible through determination, a rebellious streak, and psychological intervention. The ideas introduced are fresh, counterintuitive, and controversial.

Words: Counterintuitive. Rebellious. Psychology. Intervention.

Favorite book?

carmichael-one-word-favorite-bookThe Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck.

He came right out and said it in the very first line, didn’t he? Life is difficult. And the rest is history. In the midst of thousands of shallow self-help books, M. Scott Peck shot an arrow of truth into the heart of every honest human being. When I read the first page of this book, my whole life suddenly made sense, as has been the case for millions of readers.

It’s not just about admitting life is difficult, though. The Road Less Traveled gives you the essential tools to succeed in life while honoring those difficulties. There’s no other book like it.

Words: Truth. Simplicity. Humility. Courage.

Favorite song?

No single favorite, but I have some that top the list:

Kansas: The Wall. To me this song is about crossing over to a life that you cannot imagine what is or how to get to, but cannot help but want. You’re afraid to go there out of fear of losing yourself. Moreover, there is a “dark and silent barrier” between all you are and all that you were ever meant to be.

The profound words: And though it’s always been with me, I must tear down the wall and let it be. This song talks about a moment that’s a masterpiece, in which the hero makes a choice to cross over. I don’t see that as a single moment, but as a lifetime’s journey. There are many of those moments in which your eyes open a little at a time and you give yourself a little more permission to be yourself.

Words: Profound. Enlightenment. Journey. Crossing over. Shadow. Self.

Best friend?

I can’t say that I have a best friend that is a typical best friend. My wife is my best friend. Will discuss her in that section.

Favorite quote?

A well-defined problem seeks its own solution.

Like to hang out with?

Why are with your significant other?

Who was your favorite teacher?

What do you love most about your parents?

What do you look forward to most in your week?

Who was your favorite boss?

What activity makes you come alive?

When was the last time you felt overwhelmingly happy?

2. What connects your happiness?

On the list above, there is one common theme running through your happiness.

What trait do you hate?

What’s your constant?

Is this really who you are?


It’s too bold

What do you think

Someone else is doing it

It’s too simple

Finding your one word, as inspired by Evan Carmichael.

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