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#59 - The Theory of Aggregation of Marginal Gains — Difference between success and failure.
We don’t achieve success on a bright Monday morning. Success can be in anything, be it in losing weight, or running a startup, or writing a book. As Jim Rohn, famous entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, would say,
“Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day. While failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day”.
When you aggregate gains on a lot of smaller things, over a period of time, it will be the difference between success and failure. It is very similar to compounding of wealth.
This theory has been around for some time and is called “aggregation of marginal gains”. It was made popular by Sir Dave Brailsford during his stint in Team Sky and British Cycling Team.
Sir Dave Brailsford was the Performance Director of British Cycling. He adopted a methodology wherein if you start improving 1% on everything and anything that goes into riding a bike, those small gains would add up to considerable improvement.
He was proved right when Britain went on to win two cycling gold medals in 2004 Olympics, their highest tally in a cycling event in any olympics since 1908. In 2008 and 2012 Olympics, they dominated the proceedings by winning eight gold medals.
In 2010, he joined Team Sky, a cycling team as General Manager and Performance Director. He faced an arduous task of turning things around and ultimately winning the coveted ‘Tour De France’. He applied his ‘aggregation of marginal gains’ practise and orchestrated consecutive Tour de France victories of Team Sky in 2012 and 2013.
Often, these smaller things are ignored and ridiculed. We think that these smaller things will not impact on a larger level and don’t give its due importance. We strive for things that have a big bang impact with minimum effort and time. But in reality, aggregation of marginal gains over a period of time, practised with discipline will make us successful.
I first heard about “Theory of aggregation of marginal gains” from here (above image is taken from that link). One can apply this in any realm of life. Let us say, you have set a goal to reduce weight. You start practising daily fitness exercises combined with disciplined dieting. You don’t lose weight overnight. It happens daily but it’s not noticeable. Over a period of time, you start aggregating the gains i.e. you start noticing the loss of weight.