I just watched the Monaco F1 race and witnessed Max Verstappen schooling the other drivers around the streets of the principality.
He seriously stood out by the way he cleverly used the faster cars that were lapping him to gain back positions, by the way he was snapping at the heels of everyone possible and was driving well in dirty air for a long time. Not easy to do on this tight street circuit.
As you will have seen this all ended up in a crash with Romain Grosjean into Sainte Devote which destroyed both of their races. Max said that he was not going for a move but that Romain had hit the brakes earlier than normal, Romain said that Max hit him.....whatever the reason, it ended a great drive and it was a shame for everyone.
I’m not here to talk about who was right or wrong, who am I do even attempt that? I am here to point out the grand lessons from all this.
What people focus on.
'The Max Attack' drive gave us something to watch, for about 25 laps it was exciting the see this hard charger racing his heart out and for once it gave us a good show.
If you notice though most of the media (and other drivers) just want to talk about how he caused a crash and how he is too young to be in F1.
Let’s get something straight here – Max made hundreds of correct decisions in that race yet we criticize him for the one incorrect decision that he ‘may’ have made.
Ok maybe he was too close to Romain into T1 but come on people get over yourselves!
We often miss the big picture in life by focusing on the minor things that distract us from what's really going on and this is a great example of that.
Max is a very special driver who has been thrown into a snake pit early on but if there is anyone who can fight their way through then it's him.
He has had the kind of upbringing that most race drivers couldn’t cope with so rest assured that this is a driver that we will one day be praising.
Jealousy and worry.
It is obviously normal human behaviour for people to criticize those who are making waves.
People who used to race against Max will be jealous of his opportunity and deep down will like it when he messes up, so will his current competitors because he is a threat to them and challenges the system they have become accustomed to.
They will not like the fact that he is so young and will look for ways of validating their views, like a crash, and they will jump on that band wagon. Like in Monaco this happened and people ignored the fact that he pulled off a great race up to that point.
In this Monaco race Max probably out-drove most of them, not bad for a rookie.
We hate before we love.
Most sporting greats and leaders are hated before people realise that they are special. It’s a mental processing stage that the masses go through before they fall in love with you.
If you really want to be successful and stand out from rest then these 4 stages must be met:
You need to get attention
You need to get criticism
You need to get haters
Haters then become admirers
Many people loved to hate Senna until he passed away because he was the ruthless ‘baddy’ against Nigel Mansell, people loved to hate Schumacher again because he raised the bar and would do anything to win and people loved to hate Vettel until he drove for Ferrari this year. These are just to name a few.
Outside of F1 you just have to look at Muhammad Ali, he got so popular because people wanted to see if he would lose after shooting his big mouth off, now we love him. He manufactured this on purpose at the beginning of his career, he was actually a quiet kid until he realised that making people hate you would sell more tickets, a very clever man.
Outside of sport just look at Apple, they were super hated by people and the industry but now it’s as if they have a cult following. Some people still choose to avoid their products and go buy a Samsung but in reality Apple are dominating their sector right now. Who knows what the standard would be if they gave up or changed their ways after receiving their mass criticism early on.
What I am saying here.
What I am really saying here is if you are getting good results, if you are wearing your heart on your sleeve and like a gladiator you fight for what you believe in no matter what people think in the short term, then eventually people will see your inner light and end up giving you the admiration that you deserve.
Yes you learn from your public mistakes but do not ever let people’s views distract you when you know full well that you are doing the right thing, that you are performing better than most and live by your beliefs.
Soon this hate will turn in to love and they will call you a great.
This advice is to all the Max’s out there, keep chasing your dream and when the masses (who are not living their dreams) try and bring you down just remember what you are doing this for and keep going.
As for everyone else, who is doing the hating, just take a step back and see the big picture. I know it will make you see some horrible truths that will affect the way you see yourself but suck it up and raise the level in your own life. It’s freedom at its best.
NB. Cover photo from Paul Williams