20 Nov 21

Aggregation of marginal gains

In this video, Alex, one of my favorite cooking Youtubers, demonstrates a principle from a book called Atomic Habits.

The principle is called aggregation of marginal gains. It argues that if you improve 1% in all the factors that are involved in accomplishing a task, you'll get significantly better at that task.

In the video, Alex shows that no matter how much he practiced, he couldn't chop an onion in under 30 seconds. But by thinking hard about all the factors involved in the task, he found many ways to optimize it: a better knife, a better cutting board, training with a blindfold, wearing protective gloves, and so on. With these changes, he is able to reduce his time by 10 seconds.

This principle is motivating because it gives you hope that you can get much better at something even if you've already been practicing and not seeing any improvement. It forces you to get curious and find new ways to improve your performance.


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