Like many followers of Jesus I often do battle and wrestle with the ungodly aspects of my life. Usually these matchups are little old me trying to get a giant pinned to the floor and submit. This used to be a huge focus for me as I sought to be more like Christ. Often I would momentarily glace at the smaller issues and quickly return my sights to the bigger battles. The smaller annoying things seemed to not offer enough win for the contest that was needed. So all my energies went to the grudge matches with the giants.
I recently read an article online about Sir Dave Brailsford, which made me readjust my sights somewhat. Sir Dave (love that title and name combo btw) is the former Director of British Cycling and current manager of Team Sky. Sir Dave has been instrumental in the rise of British cycling’s world domination over the past 5 years.
He oversaw team GB as they bagged 8 Gold medals at the Bejing 2008 games. He continued in his role at London 2012 where Team GB took 12 medals in the London Velopark and on the roads of the capital. This was an impressive doubling of the number of medals secured by the second placed Team Germany.
Sir Dave in 2010 stepped into the management role of the newly formed British based professional cycling team Sky. He oversaw the new team in its quick rise to the top of professional cycling. The pinnacle of this so far has seen Team Sky secure back-to-back Tour de France victories in the last two years with Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.
My errant assumption was that his success was down to huge leaps in sport science, psychology and technology. I was truly mistaken. Of course they seek developments in these key big areas along with all their rivals. They started by optimizing the things you might expect: the nutrition of riders, their weekly training program, the ergonomics of the bike seat, and the weight of the tires.
However, Sir Dave has taken on a different strategy of trying to accrue as many small improvements of 1% as possible, which inevitably add up to more significant overall gains. He says,
“The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1%, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.”
But Brailsford and his team didn’t stop there with the obvious areas of development. They searched for 1 percent improvements in tiny areas that were overlooked by almost everyone else: discovering the pillow that offered the best sleep and taking it with them to hotels, testing for the most effective type of massage gel, and teaching riders the best way to wash their hands to avoid infection. They searched for 1 percent improvements everywhere.
Brailsford believed that if they could successfully execute this strategy, then Team Sky would be in a position to win the Tour de France in five years time. He was wrong. They won it in three years.
Everything I choose, even the small little things, can create the possibility to bring gains in the Kingdom of Heaven. Just because they are small does not mean they are insignificant or irrelevant. If you do not believe me ask Sir Dave!