If you think the small things don’t matter then just think about the impact that one match can have on the environment when it starts a wildfire, it can impact on the environment globally, devastate lives and ruin the habitats of many animals.
Let’s take care of the small things! If we look at the example of a ship sailing very slight off course, just one degree to the south of the correct path makes very little difference in the short term but by the time it has crossed the Atlantic it is way off course and miles away from its destination.
We talk a lot in these blogs about the impact of small things and the fact that one tiny action every day can build up to be a huge effect.
In the book Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about being 1% better every day – 1%? That is such a tiny amount it hardly seems worth it but he talks about the cumulative effect of building better habits and breaking bad ones, overcoming poor willpower and motivation and how the tiny changes can deliver big results.
Marginal Gains theory is something that grew out of sporting improvements, it is the theory that improving and optimising your performance by absolutely tiny amounts across a number of different areas leads to larger more noticeable improvements. This technique was famously used by David Brailsford when he took the British Cycling team from mediocrity to domination of many track and road disciplines.
After decades of under-performance they utilised the theory of marginal gains. Some of the things seem obvious and some are bizarre, they painted the truck floors white so they could spot and remove dust which may interfere with the bikes, they used wind tunnels to assess performance, they took their own mattresses and pillows everywhere to guarantee a good sleep, they stopped shaking hands to avoid bacteria….. the list of tiny things goes on and on but the accumulative total cannot be argued with. The team won over 100 World Championships, a multitude of Olympic medal and 5 out of 6 Tour de France races.
One of the most important elements of this theory was the fact that it became self-fulfilling by creating contagious enthusiasm. It is absolutely possible to create contagious enthusiasm within yourself, finding one thing that works means you want to find other things that work and this all helps to develop a sense of personal well-being and achievement.