I am always talking about achieving huge goals. I am also the first to believe that anyone can achieve big goals. Whilst it’s vital to have and articulate a big vision and mission, actually achieving what you set out to do is another story. This is why we need to recognise ‘The Aggregation of Marginal Gains’.
So, what is the Aggregation of Marginal Gains? It means the identification of a number of areas in which you can make small gains, which all add up to something much greater.
A phrase coined by one of the finest elite sports coaches in the world – Sir Dave Brailsford – this philosophy was used by the UK cycling team to win most of the medals at the recent Olympics in London, and by Team Sky to win last year’s Tour de France. British Cycling has risen from nowhere to lead the world in a relatively short space of time, building a platform for lasting success.
They appear to have achieved the impossible, but inside the machinery, there is a remarkably simple yet all-consuming approach at play. They look at the tiniest detail, from the air pressure of a bicycle tyre or the shape of a spoke, to the aerodynamics of a helmet or the fabric of cycle clothing; each action looking to shave off milliseconds in speed: altogether improving overall performance. And it goes further than that – lifestyle changes and things apparently unconnected to cycling: looking at the mattresses they sleep on, the way they wash their hands. No stone is left unturned. Everything can be improved upon for optimal achievement.
Whilst most people look for a few big improvements, the smart thinker looks for lots of small things to take action on, to finesse their performance. I personally use this philosophy to great effect – even without a bike!
It is so simple, it can be used by any individual or business. What tiny thing can we do to optimise one aspect of our performance? And then, what else? Every detail of life and work can be improved. If you improve every single thing you do in a small way, those tiny improvements can all add up to achieve something incredible over time.
If you read the 60 (and more) blog posts in this series, you will find that every one of them is about an edge I have developed. And these are just the ones I have written about. There are literally hundreds more little things I have improved, that all add to the foundations of my success.
From the shoes I wear, to what I eat for breakfast, to how I train, to the way my business card is designed, to the way I smile at everyone. Every single thing I do is with purpose and designed to give me a small edge, all to contribute to the overall goal of making a massive difference in the world. No individual improvement is the answer to everything, but all these small changes add up to something pretty remarkable, judging by the speed my life is progressing. And you can do the same. (click to tweet)
I am constantly testing out new ways to get an edge. First, because I enjoy it, and secondly, because I know the benefits of this approach. The breadth of things I focus on improving makes me different: I have the desire to work on things that others might think are trivial, but I know they all add up to making my vision a reality and achieving my mission.
I am not saying that whatever works for me will work for you – but it can. A mentality of constantly looking to make many small gains will get you more in the long term than one big shortcut.
What small things can you change to optimise your performance?
What will they all add up to, so that you can achieve the impossible?
Whether it is winning the Tour De France or changing the world, the aggregation of marginal gains is taking people places they’d never dreamed of. It can really take you places, too.
In the long term, small things really do count.
As always I would love to hear your experiences, thoughts and feedback. Speak Your Mind below.