Will it Make the Boat Go Faster?

“An Olympic gold medal is a crazy thing to want, and a crazy thing to work towards. The odds - even if you are a world-class athlete

- are stacked against you. I discovered that the only way to reach our crazy goal was with concrete, everyday habits." 

~ Ben Hunt-Davis

At the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, the British men’s eight rowing team finished in 8th position.

Four years later in Sydney 2000, they won the gold medal.

How did they improve so much in such a short space of time?

The philosophy behind their transformation is relatively simple, but profound in its own way.

Making things complicated and complex is easy. It doesn’t require considered analysis and goal setting. You just think up a whole bunch of stuff and loads of ideas and eventually you confuse yourself. Often you move too slowly or worse, not at all.

Making something simple is MUCH harder... but that’s just what they did.

They went back to the drawing board with the simple question ‘will it make the boat go faster?’ Then, every decision, habit and action they took after that was easier to justify because if it didn’t work toward the ultimate goal, they could discount it as noise.

Creating a solid business and marketing strategy can work in a very similar way.

‘Will it make the boat go faster?’


‘Will it sell our products?’

‘Will it delight our readers?’

‘Will it make people trust us?’

... the list is endless.

Choose your boat and work out how you want to make it go faster. Then, make sure all your actions and decisions contribute to that.

Simple. But very effective.

Inspired by the brilliant book ‘Will it Make the Boat Go Faster?: Olympic-winning Strategies for Everyday Success’.

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Neil CainsComment