Marginal Gains & Achieving Goals

My students regularly hear from me that “if you aren’t actively trying to make your techniques better, you’re wasting your time.” I guess that one of Master Justin Koivisto’s students, Kent Olson, may have heard that. He forwarded an article to me – This Coach Improved Every Tiny Thing by 1 Percent and Here’s What Happened – and I found that it presented even more connections to training and improving. Often, I think, as martial artists read and study additional material to attempt expanding our knowledge (of our art and further) but we can miss the actual point. In Musashi’s Book of Five Rings, he states “do nothing that is not useful.” You can find illustrations of this in Japanese culture where tiny details are focused on as part of learning.

Something that comes up in the article is that point that decreases in improvement can happen in minuscule amounts that it goes unnoticed. Well, at least until the teacher calls you on it. At this point, it takes weeks or months to get technique back to where it should be. This brings us back to constantly striving to improve even 1% every time you train…deliberate practice (which is another piece of this whole topic).

Working  toward improvement can be helped through setting goals. We talk about this often as well. The examples shown in the article – How to Achieve Your Goals Easily – are common and illustrate the failure of the method most of us use. This is another place where, as martial artists, may not connect our development in training. Long ago, I heard “it is a journey, not a destination” as part of staying on track in training and development. From reading this article, it struck me that scheduling is how I’ve stayed on the journey. Others may use the terms discipline or focus to describe their training.

This is a big factor in any success. Regardless of the terms used, scheduling your efforts is a key to all of the work and achievement that you will ever have. This made more sense as I recognized that it is true even if some of the scheduling is set externally. The careers that we follow set the working hours but this should also be viewed as scheduling to meet your goals. Another opportunity for developing marginal gains and achieving goals.

Author: Master Robert Frankovich

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One reply

  1. Dave Kelly says:

    Continuing to enjoy your posts.

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