Renowned American race-car driver, Richard Heistand, summarized his love for motorsport by calling it “a place for drivers, teams, and equipment to engage in a good old fashioned battle to the finish line”
Heistand was right. Motor racing is a battle, and it is one in which only a select few excel.
Not your ordinary sport, it requires dedication, personal development, and most importantly, a high level of mental focus. In the same measure, drivers in motorsport teach us some vital lessons. Here are a few of them:
Focus on Winning; But Learn if You Lose
Experienced racers don’t compete in a race strictly for the thrill of the contest. Their focus is to win, to add another feather in their cap, another trophy, or another crown. But racers also know that losing is part of the game, and no matter how well-prepared you are for the race, winning is not guaranteed. This doesn’t stop the drivers from dedicating all their resources to the planning process and to keeping their eyes trained on the ultimate prize.
Heistand painted a clear picture of how winning and losing relate. “We don’t win them all, but there is always something to be taken away if we don’t win. It is important to apply the lessons that are gained in the race for the driver, team, and car preparation to the next event.” he said.
The vital lesson here is that even if you lose, you can learn something to apply to the next opportunity. Such is the attitude we ought to cultivate in business, school, work, and even family.
It’s Teamwork: Delegate and Trust Others with Certain Tasks
Nothing is more thrilling than watching a team of specialists repair a race car. In a matter of seconds – literally – a once-damaged car goes back on the track as if it never left. This is what a professional driver’s pit crew accomplishes at every race.
This organized effort by the crew certainly points to a lot of preparation behind the scenes and before the actual race. The coordination is the epitome of teamwork where everyone is a trusted expert who zealously handles their specific area of expertise and with only one thing in mind – winning the race.
Knowing the strengths of your team and delegating work to the most suitable individuals will ultimately lead to the flawless execution of tasks and with enviable results.
Things Change Quickly and Winners Adapt
All race drivers come to the track with the confidence that they can win. Some will bring an immense amount of experience and their very best skills. The conditions on the track, the conditions in the car, and a number of other factors can change quickly to test all of the skills that you have.
The most successful drivers in motorsport exhibit an ability to adapt quickly to a changing environment. This forward thinking allows them to gain an advantage on track over their competitors and keep them in the race. Simply said, humans are also a product of successful adaptation.
There are lots of important lessons to draw from motorsport teams. We might not go through life at the speed of a race car, but we must try to find our own operating window and to be the best version of ourselves. This requires constant evaluation of our skills, our relationships, and most importantly, a drive to shine whenever we have the opportunity.