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The Difference in 1%

By Jillian Broaddus and Chuck Cusumano


Wrap your head around this stat: The world’s roughly 2,000 billionaires hold more wealth than 60% of the planet’s population combined, or – in other terms – 4.6 billion people. That’s less than half of a ten-thousandth of one percent, holding more power than the rest!

The bottom line: A small amount has great influence over a lot more.


This is true in our everyday lives as well. In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear shares the story of Dave Brailsford, Performance Director and General Manager for Great Britain’s professional cycling team, Team Sky. In 2010, Dave’s job was to help Team Sky win the Tour de France – a feat never before achieved by Great Britain. Dave’s approach was simple: “Be 1% better in everything we do.” They would win by a combination of incremental advances that altogether would create remarkable improvements; or, as Dave later referred to it, the “aggregation of marginal gains.”


Within a few years, Team Sky had not only represented the winner of the Tour de France, but also won 70% of the gold medals at that year’s Olympic Games. By 2018, Brailsford had overseen the victories of six of the last seven Tour de France champions!


Unfortunately, today’s society and our modern news cycle is dominated by celebrations of the big, bold changes that result in large, visible, instant rewards. We live in a world where social media has created a culture of instant gratification, and pursuits that take gradual, ongoing, concentrated efforts are often abandoned. However, consider this: consistent gym routines and reduced calorie intake have been proven as the most effective weight loss methods, while crash diets result in regaining the full weight in 95% of cases!


At the end of the day, small decisions over time do lead to the best, most enduring results. If you want to achieve your goals for 2020, adopt the “aggregation of marginal gains” mentality – as well as the reverse “aggregation of marginal losses”! After all, eliminating the bad is just as critical; the sports teams who make fewer unforced errors are usually the ones who win the day! So, make a conscious choice to improve your good habits and have less bad habits every day – even if your improvement is only 1%.


“Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgement, repeated every day.” - Jim Rohn

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