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The most mentally tough people apply the 1% ‘marginal gains’ rule, says performance expert—here’s how it works

By | Kumar Mehta |

People who are mentally tough and successful at what they do understand that the cumulative effect of small changes leads to significant outcomes.

And while they set out with big goals, they improve using systematic and surgical precision.

In my 30 years of researching and writing about what motivates people to be exceptional, I’ve found that most of us also set big goals, but we try and tackle them all at once because we want immediate results  and invariably, end up failing.

The 1% marginal gains rule

Sir Dave Brailsford, former performance director of British Cycling, revolutionized the sport using the theory of marginal gains.

Brailsford believed that if you make a 1% improvement in a host of tiny areas, the cumulative benefits would be extraordinary. The theory of marginal gains (or, as I sometimes call it, “microexcellence”) has been credited for vaulting the British cycling team from a mediocre performer to 16 gold medals over two Olympics and seven Tour de France wins in eight years.

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