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Topic: Discipline
Scripture: Luke 16:20; Luke 19:17; Matthew 25:21
Source: “This Coach Improved Every Tiny Thing By 1% And Here’s What Happened” by James Clear, published DailyGood.org, syndicated from jamesclear.com, Apr 04, 2014.
Author: James Clear / Illustration Exchange

“In 2010, Dave Brailsford faced a tough job,” reports James Clear for DailyGood.org. “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.”

Brailsford went on to revolutionize the British cycling team one tiny step at a time. He believed wholeheartedly that if the cycling team could just improve every aspect of their training and execution by as little as 1%, the gains would eventually be immense. His goal was a Team Sky Tour de France victory within 5 yrs. What he achieved was a Team Sky Tour de France victory in just 3 yrs.

In 2012, Team Sky rider Sir Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France … In 2013, Team Sky repeated their feat by winning the Tour de France again, this time with rider Chris Froome. Many have referred to the British cycling feats in the Olympics and the Tour de France over the past 10 years as the most successful run in modern cycling history.

How, specifically, did Team Sky achieve such improvement and success?

They started by optimizing the things you might expect: the nutrition of riders, their weekly training program, the ergonomics of the bike seat, and the weight of the tires.

But Brailsford and his team didn’t stop there. They searched for 1 percent improvements in tiny areas that were overlooked by almost everyone else: discovering the pillow that offered the best 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.

Application:

Clear offers the following lessons we can all learn from Brailsford’s 1% approach to success:

It’s so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making better decisions on a daily basis.

Almost every habit that you have — good or bad — is the result of many small decisions over time.

And yet, how easily we forget this when we want to make a change.

So often we convince ourselves that change is only meaningful if there is some large, visible outcome associated with it. Whether it is losing weight, building a business, traveling the world or any other goal, we often put pressure on ourselves to make some earth-shattering improvement that everyone will talk about.

Meanwhile, improving by just 1 percent isn’t notable (and sometimes it isn’t even noticeable). But it can be just as meaningful, especially in the long run.

And from what I can tell, this pattern works the same way in reverse. … If you find yourself stuck with bad habits or poor results, it’s usually not because something happened overnight. It’s the sum of many small choices — a 1 percent decline here and there — that eventually leads to a problem.

[James Clear is an entrepreneur, athlete, photographer, internet blogger, and self-improvement guru who writes about “the struggle that we all face to become better leaders, better workers, and better people.”]

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10).

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!'” (Matthew 25:21).

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