The secret of small 1% improvement

A few days ago I had written an article about feedback which related to getting to mastery faster and also tied into business and many areas on improving faster. Today we take a look at the easiest way I believe into getting to mastery. It’s about making small consistent changes daily that over time creates an enormous  and everlasting impact in our lives. And in Jeff Olson’s book he calls it the slight edge.


The concept is really simple, let’s take whatever you want to be good at or something you want to achieve, and all you need to do on a daily basis is to improve by 1%. It’s not even the 1% that’s important, you could improve less than that, it’s the doing it consistently on a daily basis which is the real key to success and mastery.

The single most powerful factor behind Warren Buffet’s success is “compound interest.”

1% might sound small at first but you’ll actually improve 100% in 70 days not 100 days due to compounding interest. The Japanese had this approach and they call it Kaizen. What I want to really focus once again is doing it every day. The reason for this is because it will instill into us the power of habit and consistency. The aim is to start so small that doing it every day doesn’t feel like a challenge and hassle at all. And if it’s so easy to do on a daily basis, you will have no excuse not to improve or fail at all.


I learnt this when I was studying Physics and Astronomy in University. Start by using a line on a compass. Mark out 1 degree and extend it out for about 10 Cm. Not much visible difference right between the two end points right? Now do this for 100 Cm. You can see that the two ends start to create a bigger gap but not by much. So imagine if you were measuring the distance into space and how much 1% of separation can diverge out greatly over millions of kilometres. And here distance is the equivalent to time.

Can you now see, if you made a decision to make a small change every day, over time you can be a totally different person to how you used to be or the skill you were learning, that now you’re an expert on it over time?

Improvement like this is gradual and some days you might not even notice it. It’s about creating patience in yourself, it’s about just improving every day, or some might say grinding out every day to reach that 10,000 hours to get to mastery. The trick is starting small, doing it every day until it becomes a habit, that if you didn’t do it, it wouldn’t sit right with you. Consistency and patience is the key to success and mastery.

Action Plan


Find one other thing you would like to learn and improve. Set a task so small that it’s so easy to do that you have no excuse to not do it. Now do it every day for 66 days straight.

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