Jim Denison: Surprising Tour de Force at Tour de France

While the globe was fixated on Sunday’s World Cup final in Moscow between France and Croatia, the world’s largest annual sporting event is taking place more than 1,600 miles to the west. According to organizers, 3.5 billion people in 190 countries tune in to watch the Tour de France each year. Twelve million roadside spectators will cheer the cyclists.

Britain’s Geraint Thomas is currently in second place, just three seconds off the lead. Prior to 2012, a British cyclist had not won the race since its inception in 1903. In the last six years, Great Britain has won the title five times.

What explains their extraordinary success?

The “aggregation of marginal gains”

James Clear is “an author, photographer, and weightlifter focused on habits and decision making.” I read his email columns with great profit.

His latest article is titled, “This Coach Improved Every Tiny Thing by 1 Percent and Here’s What Happened.” He profiles Dave Brailsford, who took over the British cycling team in 2010.

Brailsford called his approach the “aggregation of marginal gains.” He began a strategy to seek a 1 percent improvement in everything his riders did, from nutrition and their weekly training program to the ergonomics of the bike seat and the weight of the tires.

He focused on areas others overlooked: the pillow that offered the best sleep, the most effective type of massage gel, the best way for riders to wash their hands to avoid infection, and so on. He believed that if his team would successfully execute this strategy, they would be in position to win the Tour de France in five years.

He was wrong: they won it in three years.

The peril of the status quo

God’s purpose for his people is that we be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). His Spirit is working to manifest Christlikeness in every dimension of our lives and will settle for nothing less.

We often see sanctification as a process requiring monumental changes and sacrifices in our lives. In fact, God does sometimes call us to make significant alterations, as when we’re engaged in habitual sin or being led in an entirely new direction.

But most of the time, his Spirit works incrementally to make us more like Jesus. He uses the events of our daily lives to mold us, lead us, and motivate us.

The problem is not that he asks too much of us–the problem is that we settle for too little for ourselves. We become satisfied with the status quo and leery of God’s plan for us.

We then mask our complacency in an ingenious way.

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Source: Christian Post

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