Recently, I came across a blog entry about a British gentleman by the name of David Brailsford, the General Manager and Performance Director for a British Tour de France team.
As the blog entry indicates, Brailsford is an advocate of the concept of “aggregation of marginal gains.” Simply put, it’s the 1% improvement of everything you do. As the entry indicates, he implemented this philosophy with great results, resulting in a Tour de France win in 2012.
Brailsford may call this “aggregation of marginal gains.” Some others call it the “process.” I alluded to this philosophy in a previous post:
Attention to detail is often the key to either philosophy and while it’s grinding work, it is the path to success. Too many people want instant success. The truth of the matter is that success comes only after years of painstaking work and attention to detail. Very rarely does success occur overnight.
While a beginner student can initially expect to large improvements in the first couple of years of training, once you get past that stage, are you willing to work for the 1% improvement? Often this means making good daily decisions as the aforementioned blog indicates. I like the following observation:
“In the beginning, there is basically no difference between making a choice that is 1% better or 1% worse. (In other words, it won’t impact you very much today.) But as time goes on, these small improvements or declines compound and you suddenly find a very big gap between people who make slightly better decisions on a daily basis and those who don’t. This is why small choices (“I’ll take a burger and fries”) don’t make much of a difference at the time, but add up over the long-term.”
From the martial arts perspective, it can encompass everything from diet, exercise, performance of kata, partner work, attending classes, seminars and camps on a consistent basis. Daily attention to detail is key. I like the quote by Bruce Lee. A martial artist who is willing to practice a single kick 10,000 times and with attention to detail is going to be a more fearsome opponent. The more you practice that kick, the law of diminishing returns may kick in. But I believe that the 1% improvement here and there will lead to great results in that one kick. It’s worth it.
Unfortunately, too many people do not have the self discipline to strive for the 1% improvement. There is much value in striving for this.