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The Marginal Gains Mentality

Sir David Brailsford used the principle of marginal gains when coaching the incredibly successful Sky cycling team. He realised that if you make tiny improvements in lots of areas, over time it accumulates into a big positive effect.


It’s a bit like a single drip of water, it doesn’t seem like much. But if you put a bucket underneath, it won’t be long before you have a full bucket, not just a drip.

We can apply this concept to our personal growth and mental wellbeing. We could view it as the grounded pursuit of tiny shifts in lots of areas such as self-belief, belonging, nourishing relationships, self-care routine, diet, self-talk, meditation, exercise, sense of purpose and emotional regulation. Marginal gains in all of these areas will have an accumulative positive effect.


You might wake up one day and look back and realise just how much has changed. This would be a realisation of the effect of marginal gains over time.


I have noticed in myself sometimes chasing the fireworks of huge breakthroughs or eureka moments. What's the external catalyst that will get me a big win, pronto ?!


Marginal gains tempers this chase. It reminds me to trust that whatever I’m doing on a regular basis is going to have an accumulative effect over time. It’s a commitment to the gradual, the inevitable. It is especially important when I’m not able to perceive immediate results of therapeutic and self-practice endeavours.

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