The aggregation of marginal gains

small-changesAnyone who was interested in last year’s London Olympics or in competitive cycling may be familiar with Sir David “Dave” Brailsford, British Cycling’s performance director and Team Sky principal. This is not a biopic of the man, but more a celebration of his ethos for a winning mentality and how we can transfer his formula for success to fighting depression.

I was reminded of his strategy by Sally, who applies the 10% rule to her recovery programme. I hope she doesn’t mind but I have included her thoughts here;

“The thought of getting better totally can just feel completely overwhelming, unrealistic and impossible.

But if I set myself the task of just feeling 10% better that somehow feels achievable – and is something to celebrate when you manage it.

10% is better than nothing … and all of those 10%s eventually add up…”

After GB’s amazing success in the Velodrome in 2012 Brailsford was quoted as follows;

It was attention to detail that gave us the advantage over the other teams. We considered everything, even the smallest improvements, to give us a competitive edge. It was the accumulation of these small details that made us unbeatable.”

This is what is known as the aggregation of marginal gains and you should never underestimate the power of small changes. Each and every small improvement adds up to a large impact and this is a great way to approach the changes which I am having to make whilst fighting my latest depression.

I will be making those changes, slowly but surely with the help of my GP, friends, family and colleagues and I will need a lot of help to keep me on track. My natural instinct is to be active and involved 24/7 but I need to rein in these tendencies and develop a calmer, more controlled way of life.

Mmm… that’s what I call a challenge.




13 thoughts on “The aggregation of marginal gains

  1. Don’t mind you including it in the slightest 🙂
    I have benefitted so much over the last few years from reading about other peoples experiences.

  2. Ps I thought I’d better introduce myself rather than just rudely bursting in 🙂
    Ive been reading Poppyposts now for quite along time but only left a few comments in the last few days.
    I’m in my forties and background is that until I had my children 14 years ago I had no mh problems. Unfortunately I then had severe PND.
    I’ve had long periods of being fine over those 14 years but also some really awful relapses – and I think I’ve accepted now that I need to take long term care of my mh to help avoid (or st least minimise) blips.
    I take a low dose ad long term and try and pace myself better than I used to.
    And that’s why I’m continuing my reading of blogs like this – because in the past I used to read everything I could when I was I’ll – and then completely ignore it when I was better !!!
    I have a lovely husband, two teenagers and a very busy career – and when I’m ok I juggle all of this quite happily. When I’m not – I feels like climbing a mountain just to get washed on a morning 😦

    • Hi there! Thanks for the intro 🙂 You sound very like me in that when you feel better you forget all the good preventative advice and think you are cured and can rule the world.
      Sadly, time and again this has proven my downfall and I really must learn from past mistakes. I can be a slow learner at times :(.

  3. Thank you, I am adding this link to a post about Sally’s suggestion of improving 10%. It was something I knew but forgot to use lately. I appreciate the reminder.

  4. Unlike typical brief depressions, clinical depression lingers due to ongoing thoughts and changes in the brain itself, requiring the patient to fight the illness with medication and therapy. Learn how to overcome clinical depression in this free video on depression.

  5. Pingback: Little by little… | The Project: Me by Judy

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