Stop Focusing on One Percenters

One percenters. Marginal gains.

They’re touted as the solution to all our problems.

We search for these ‘hacks’ in our lives. Tiny things we can do that will push us towards better health, more financial success, greater happiness.

And sure, these one percenters can be amazing powerful. They’re the compound interest of self improvement. But there’s a problem.

People spend so much time chasing these one percenters that they forget about the 20 percenters. They forget about the big picture. They rely on the ‘compound interest’, while forgetting that before interest can begin to compound, you have to first have an initial investment.

Imagine you buy a car.

It’s a rusty old piece of junk from somewhere in the mid 80s. It’s got four flat tyres. The exhaust pipe is scraping the ground. The windows won’t wind down. Oh, and there’s no engine.

And to make it drive faster you paint two bright red speed stripes down the middle.

You’ve made the mistake of focusing on the one percenter (the speed stripes), instead of getting the REAL problem fixed. There’s no bloody engine!

So where do we see this?

People ask if they should try intermittent fasting… and yet they don’t eat vegetables.

People search for supplements that will help them sleep… instead of building consistent sleep/wake patterns.

People exercise in target heart rate zones… but they don’t exercise regularly.

Start with the big picture. Get the important things right first. They are much more important than getting caught up in tiny details that may only give you tiny gains.

Focus on the things that will give you the greatest return on your investment.

Sure, one percenters are important, but only at the tip of the spear. One percenters are great at getting you from a 9/10 to a 10/10 (on whatever it is we’re trying to measure). But let’s be honest. Most of us are no where near a 9/10. What we need is to move from a 5/10 to a 7/10. And to do that, focus on the big picture.


Dan Williams

Dan Williams


Dan Williams is the Director of Range of Motion and leads a team of Exercise Physiologists, Sports Scientists, Physiotherapists and Coaches. He has a Bachelor of Science (Exercise and Health Science) and a Postgraduate Bachelor of Exercise Rehabilitation Science from The University of Western Australia, with minors in Biomechanics and Sport Psychology.

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