Todd Olivas, CSR, Agency Owner

 The Secret of Court Reporting or Anything in Life is “Only One Thing”

Tip #2 – Make School Your “One Thing”

In the movie “City Slickers”, Billy Crystal’s character Mitch has this profound conversation with Jack Palance, a curmudgeonly old cowboy:

Curly: You know what the secret of life is?
Mitch: No, what?
Curly: This. (holds his finger up)
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean [anything].
Mitch: That’s great, but what’s the one thing?
Curly: That’s what you’ve got to figure out.

Curly never explains what his “one thing” is.  But that’s not the point of the conversation or the movie in general.  I believe the “one thing” he is talking about is not any specific, actual thing like – “be kind to others” or “go green” or “wash behind your ears” — but rather that there is only room for one “one thing” in your life. Applying that theory to the microcosm of your court reporting school career, there is only enough space for school to be your one thing. 

Let me back up just a sec.  When I attended South Coast College I crowded lots of things into my life.  These were all good things, I might add, like starting a business, being in a rock band, writing a screenplay, writing for a newspaper column, selling custom T-shirts, wearing Spandex.  And while those activities were important to me,  they competed for my time.  I hate to admit it but practicing on my steno machine or even coming to class suffered due to my diverse interests.  It wasn’t until I really buckled down, started setting aside my hobbies and distractions and proactively deciding – on a day-by-day basis – to make school my “one thing,”  that I completed the program.

Questions to ask yourself:

What distractions do you have? 

What hobbies and pet pursuits are encroaching on your main goal of becoming a court reporter?

What  are some ways you can intentionally make school your “one thing?”

Todd Olivas is a court reporter and agency owner.  He can be reached through or San Bernardino Court Reporters.

COMMENT By Jean Gonzalez

Not only did Todd recognize that he had to focus on one thing and practice in that one area, but he learned what practice is.  Many times students spend a great deal of time on what they think is practice, but they are not really practicing.