Entrepreneur, weightlifter and travel photographer James Clear once wrote this on his blog where he shared ideas for using behavior science to improve life performance and master the habits.
In 2010, Dave Brailsford faced a tough task.
No British cyclist had ever won the Tour de France, but as the new General Manager and Performance Director for Team Sky (Great Britain’s professional cycling team) Brailsford was asked to change that.
He started simple.
Brailsford believed in a concept that he referred to as the “aggregation of marginal gains.”
He explained it as “the 1 percent margin for improvement in everything we do”.
What he meant was that if you improved every area related to cycling by just 1 percent, then those small gains would add up to remarkable improvement.
They started by optimizing the things you might expect: the nutrition of riders, their weekly training program, and the ergonomics of the bike seat as well as the weight of the tires.
But Brailsford and his team didn’t stop there.
They searched for 1 percent improvements in the usually ignored aspect: discovering the pillow that may enhance quality sleep and taking it with them to hotels, testing for the most effective type of massage gel, and teaching riders the best way to wash their hands to avoid infection.
They searched for 1 percent improvements everywhere.
Brailsford convinced that the strategy could bring a victory to Team Sky in five years’ time.
He was wrong. They won it in three years.
In 2012, Team Sky rider Sir Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France. The same year, Brailsford coached the British cycling team at the 2012 Olympic Games and dominated the competition by winning 70 percent of the gold medals available.
In 2013, Team Sky triumphed the Tour de France again, this time from rider Chris Froome.
Many have referred to British cycling feats in the Olympic and the Tour de France over the past 10 years as the most successful run in modern cycling history.
Starts small and keep it simple, let’s work on the 1 percent improvement and see what’s going to happen next.
Quote of the day
“Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.” – American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker Emanuel James “Jim” Rohn (September 17, 1930 – December 5, 2009)