COMMIT TO DAILY SELF-IMPROVEMENT
Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. — Jim Rohn.
It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis. Too often, we convince ourselves that big successes require big actions.
However, what if I told you that one percent (1%) is a great win in itself, would you believe that?
Well, the story that comes to mind is the fate of the British Cycling team that changed for good in 2003. The organization, which was the governing body for professional cycling in the UK, had recently hired Dave Brailsford as its new performance director. At that time, professional cyclists in the UK had suffered almost a hundred years of mediocrity. Since 1908, British riders had won just a single gold medal at the Olympic Games and they had fared even worse in cycling’s biggest race – the Tour de France. In 110 years, no British cyclist had ever won this event.
In fact, the performance of British riders had been so underwhelming that one of the top bike manufacturers in Europe refused to sell bikes to the team because they were afraid that it would hurt sales if other professionals saw the Brits using their gear. Brailsford had been hired to put British Cycling on a new trajectory. What made him different from previous coaches was his relentless commitment to a strategy that he referred to as “the aggregation of marginal gains,” which was the philosophy of searching for a tiny margin of improvement in everything you do. Brailsford said, “The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike and then improve it by 1 percent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.” Brailsford and his coaches began by making small adjustments you might expect from a professional cycling team. They redesigned the bike seats to make them more comfortable and rubbed alcohol on the tires for a better grip, but they didn’t stop there. Brailsford and his team continued to find 1 percent improvements in overlooked and unexpected areas. They hired a surgeon to teach each rider the best way to wash their hands to reduce the chances of catching a cold. They even painted the inside of the team truck white, which helped them spot little bits of dust that would normally slip by unnoticed but could degrade the performance of the finely tuned bikes. As these and hundreds of other small improvements accumulated, the results came faster than anyone could have imagined.
Just five years after Brailsford took over, the British Cycling team dominated the road and track cycling events at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where they won an astounding 60 percent of the gold medals available. Four years later, when the Olympic Games came to London, the Brits raised the bar as they set nine Olympic records and seven world records. That same year, Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France. The next year, his teammate Chris Froome won the race and he would go on to win again in 2015, 2016 and 2017, giving the British team five Tour de France victories in six years. During the ten-year span from 2007 to 2017, British cyclists won 178 world championships and 66 Olympic or Paralympic gold medals and captured 5 Tour de France victories in what is widely regarded as the most successful run in cycling history.
From this, you can see how small improvements accumulate into such remarkable results and how you can replicate this approach in your own life.
Here are 3 steps to help you get started:
- AMPLIFY WHAT ALREADY WORKS
“Unless you continually improve your skills, you are quickly becoming irrelevant”- Stephen Covey.
What are you committing to that helps you in improving yourself on a regular basis? Consistency is what amplifies little efforts into greater results.
Moreover, we often waste the resources and ideas at our fingertips because they don’t seem new or exciting. Sometimes, you don’t need new information or techniques. You just need to do more of what already works.
So, focus on improving the skills you already possess and identify diverse ways of applying them.
- TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
“What gets measured, gets improved”- Peter Drucker.
The truth is, what you don’t record you can’t evaluate; so, commit to tracking your progress. Whilst, it is important to make reasonable progress within a reasonable time, always remember to stop and look back at where you’re coming from, to truly appreciate the progress being made.
So, commit to tracking your progress.
- TAKE NOTES AS YOU GO
It is important to “track your small wins to motivate big accomplishments” -Teresa Amabile.
You must take time to document this journey called life. Take note of your process as you progress. This will make it easier to see patterns and identify the little steps that are contributing to your daily improvements.
For little progress everyday adds up to big result. Hence, the success you achieve at the end of the day, is the result of the deliberate effort you put in getting better daily.
Thus, by being 1% better every day, you’ll attract significant outcomes in your life.
Remember You Have Only One Life to Live, MAKE IT COUNT.