YOU CAN Reach the Next Level with Marginal Improvements
Posted on July 20 2018
What stands between us and achieving our most ambitious dreams isn't the possession of some magical skill or talent. It's how we approach our problems and make decisions about how to solve those problems. Because of the compounding nature of all the millions of decisions we face on a regular basis, even a marginal improvement in our processes can have a huge impact on our end results.
You want proof? Stephen Duneier illustrates using the example of tennis great Novak Djokovic. In 2004 Novak was ranked 680th in the World. It wasn't until after 2007 he jumped up to 3rd in the World. Novak went from making $250k to making $5 million per year. How did he do this? By winning more matches. In 2011, Novak became the number one ranked tennis player in the World. He was earning an average of $14 million a year just in prize money alone. He dominated, winning 90% of his matches.
Stephen says the most interesting point about all these impressive stats is Novak doesn't control any of them. What he does control are the tiny decisions he needs to make correctly along the way. Stephan says we can quantify and track Novak's progress by looking at the percentage of points he wins. In tennis, the typical point involves one to may three decisions, tops. Stephan calls this Novak's "decision success rate." Looking back to when Novak was wining about 49% of the matches he played, he was winning about 49% of the points he played.
In order to jump up to number 3 in the World and actually earn that $5 million per year for swinging a tennis racket, Novak had to improve his "decision success rate" to just 52%. Then to become number 1, Novak had to further improve his "decision success rate" to just 55%.
However, Stephan says, don't let the use of the word "just" imply this is easy to do. Clearly, it's not. But, this type of marginal improvement is easily achievable by everyone. To achieve the outcome you desire, sometimes you have to change your approach. So, go ahead and make that marginal improvement. You'll be glad you did.