Team Sky, a British professional racing team, once had the goal of winning the Tour de France within five years. They won it within three. David Brailsford, General Manager and Director of Performance, had a very simple approach - an approach that if you use it correctly, can get you to the CrossFit Games.
The approach that Brailsford took is called "the aggregation of marginal gains." In other words, he looked for ways to make improvements by just 1 percent. And along with the typical tweaks to nutrition, the training program, the weight of the bikes tires, etc, his team looked for 1 percent improvements in EVERYTHING that they did. What pillow offered the best sleep? Most effective type of massage gel? How to best wash your hands to avoid infection? They searched for a 1 percent change in absolutely everything that could possibly be related to bicycle racing.
The theory is that if you improve in a lot of areas by just 1 percent, then the sum of all those small improvements would add up to remarkable gains, and would also lead to exponential changes over time.
Marginal Gains in Everyday Life
It is so easy to underestimate the decisions we make throughout the course of a day, and the value of creating good habits through practicing better decisions. Every habit we have – whether good or bad – is the sum of a lot of decisions added up throughout time.
There really is no such thing as luck. All that exists is the sum of all the moments that we choose to do things 1 percent better or 1 percent worse.
We like to convince ourselves that changes are only important when there is one big, obvious difference in our performance. Whether you want to lose weight, lift more, build a better business, or write a book, we tend to look at one huge goal and then get lost in the process of how to get there.
Meanwhile, making a 1 percent change is not noticeable. It's not exciting at first and for a while it may not seem worth it. However, in the long run, that small change is multiplied on top of itself over and over and the aggregate shows an exponential gain/loss.
Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. -Jim Rohn