During the early 00’s, the England rugby team were beating every team in their tracks on course to winning the World Cup. But, as an impatient teenage supporter, there were times when they were frustrating to watch. It was fun watching them win, but they were professional and pragmatic. They made clinical decisions to kick for points rather than go for the try every time they were awarded a penalty in the opposition territory.
It did make sense. They had one of the greatest goal kickers of all time playing in their team. With Jonny Wilkinson on kicking duty, they were guaranteed the three points every time they won a penalty. Rather than rolling the dice and going for the try, they’d take the three points.
This was reliable source of points was a relief when England were playing in a tight game. But, when they were up against a team they were expected to wipe the floor with, you wanted them to go for try after try. But they wouldn’t change strategy. They’d only go for tries from a penalty if they were 20+ points ahead on the scoreboard.
Moving ahead, point by point
The coach, Clive Woodward, believed in building the score. Slowly wearing down the opposition. Take the three points then go again. The lead gradually builds, you wear down the opposition, suddenly you’re 9 points ahead. Create enough distance and the opposition has to change tactics to take more risks and score tries. That means they leave themselves exposed, and you can take advantage.
You can apply this concept of building the score in most areas of your life. The temptation is always to go for the try. Hit the home run. You want to do one thing that has a fundamental impact on your art, your work, your business. Create one piece of work that earns you all of the attention you’ve craved. But, that rarely works. Businesses aren’t built on the impact of one action. It’s a series of small successes that compound. It’s the repetitive and hard work that delivers success.
You don’t see it as a big success up close, in isolation. One blog post that’s read by ten people today doesn’t seem like a great investment of your time. But, you write a blog post every day, that’s 3,650 times your work has been read. If it’s good, those people share it, and the same post read today by ten people will get read by 15 people this time next year.
Whether you’re dieting or working on tactics to build website traffic. The impulse is to spend all your time going for the try. But World Cups are won by building the score, as is everything else.