Acoustic Post - Aggregation of Marginal Gains

By Prateek Pratz

“Stuck in the wrong Job?” this used to be the punch line of one of India’s leading job search portals.

As a matter of fact, in spite of most of the hunky-dory timelines and social media status which floods the social media space, the feeling of “being stuck” is the major thought during private conversations with people who are leading a wanna-be life virtually.

But this feeling of being stuck is not domain specific.

One can feel stuck with their job or feeling of being stuck in a relationship, or in a particular situation or in life as well, the term Mid Life Crisis is too clichéd 🙂

Every thought or emotion arises as a consequence of something. One feels angry while reacting to a stimulus. Meeting a toddler or a puppy playing around is most certainly followed by a smile or happiness. So what is the root cause of this feeling of being stuck? When we feel we are not able to contribute or add any tangible meaning to the cause. In short, when we are not growing in that sphere of life or maybe life as a whole, we realize we are stuck. This seems a fair analogy, and everyone who is stuck wants a one-shot remedy to escape this phase. I will come to that in a bit.

But why is this modern-day issue requires a lot more attention than it usually gets and why it snowballs into a serious problem if unaddressed?

The issue with being stuck in life (or any aspect of it) usually does not becomes obvious in its initial stages and it follows the whole process of what can be best referred to as a Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC): Initially, this feeling faces the resistance of procrastination, the eternal thought process of “I will do it from Tomorrow” and denial, the pseudo-state of mind which says it’s Ok.

These two very strong emotions cast their shadow on you not acknowledging you are stuck in life until deep scars are embedded in your system and then you feel helpless and are actually stuck!

The solution to what to do when your life seems to have come to a screeching halt is rooted in exactly what we avoid doing while being in that state! We tend to avoid talking to people about the actual problem rather than talking to feel miserable, how everyone’s life is going as per plan while you are left behind. We stop reading books, appreciating positive actions happening around us, being hopeful for a better tomorrow, even forgetting why we are doing what we are doing now, drowning in self-doubt, cursing that nothing good will ever happen to me!

Imagining a gloomy picture? The Aggregation of Marginal Gains is the ointment to this inflammation.

To sit back and think about every problem is overwhelming but when we break down the structure and think about improving even 1% in each component is the magic potion, the elixir which will pull you out. You want to change your job but stuck, learn a new skill, give 1 hour a day to that new skill.

If you want to increase your stamina, start running for 5 minutes a day. Feel like your communication skills are down, start talking in front of a mirror for 2 minutes and repeat it every day. Your relationship is not going anywhere, take one at a time and build it back. The list is endless, the problems might vary but the principle is the same. One small action towards your desired goal may seem minuscule currently, but if you do it over time, that will be all that will make the difference.

The Aggregation of Marginal Gains preaches, relentless baby steps towards the realization of your true potential. You always wanted to read books (Also you have mentioned it under hobbies in your resume but never read one in years! Happens with all of us) but simply can’t find the time or cannot complete one if started? Apply this principle, read 1 page a day, only one page, no more no less, EVERYDAY. Let some weeks flow by and you will find not only you have completed that book, but you have also already picked up a couple of others.

If there are 10 problems in your life, you break them into 10 focus areas and improve 1% in each of them every day, by the end of the month not only you would have vanquished the problem, you would have mastered those situations!

Small things when done repeatedly creates a big impact. May be positive or negative. Being stuck in life is a reality we all face at some stage. But one who will keep aggregating minuscule gains, on a daily basis, relentlessly, making it a habit will be the guy who right now we say “just got lucky” when the opportunity arises.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by the author are personal only.

2 Comments

  1. Amazing and very very relevant article…good articulation and thoughts by Prateek. Very nicely written

  2. very inspiring!!!!!!! I have been thinking about exercising for a long time. this post motivated me to start with 10 push-ups and 10 squats a day. I know it’s not a lot but I can increase it gradually and in long term can reach my fitness goals.

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