Let's shake things up a bit.
We are seeing more and more templated drivers in our paddocks nowadays, pretty boys with flashy toys who have backbones made of marshmallow.
They may have been racing for years since karting but they lack the minerals needed to make it all the way in sport.
For example many drivers are detatched from reality, they have never had to go out and find a job to pay their bills so consequence led demands are not part of their reality.
Most of them have never even helped prepare their own race car, they don't even understand the importance of that.
This isn't a stab at drivers like this, believe me they have paid to be here so they deserve it as much as the next guy. It is a Pay To Play sport after all.
But the problem comes when these drivers actually want to have a career in racing, they want to be world champion or get paid to race.
Oh well that's a different story because to pull that off requires a driver to have more about them. They need the correct mental ability and work ethic.
Getting to the top of any sport is full of pressure, disappointment and pain. If you have led a life that has protected you from this then you will struggle.
True champions in racing are ruthless beasts, they would do well in pretty much anything they put their mind to and have the mind-set that allows them to extract everything from themselves.
You just know when you meet a driver who is going all the way, even from the hand shake you can tell that they have something about them. They would be good as fighters as much as they are as drivers, it's in their demeanour, their eyes, their grip and you can sense that they will do anything to get what they want.
These type of people get places in life, they become top line drivers, they become F1 team bosses, they get to the top of their craft and are prepared to commit more than their competitors.
Two important qualities I have witnessed first hand between elite drivers and the 'also rans' are:
1) Champions Break The Rules
It's hell when you are in the beginning period of coaching a top top driver, they challenge you, they constantly try and prove their way is better and it's a struggle to keep them on a leash.
They are like rabid dogs.
This changes once the mutual respect is built and your relationship grows but it just shows that these sportsmen are so used to breaking the rules, they like to find things out for themselves and challenge the beliefs of the public domain.
On track they will try 5 different lines through a certain corner in the wet without being told to, they will not take what their engineer says as gospel and they are impatient for anyone who is not putting in as much effort as themselves.
Breaking the rules is as applicable in our sport as it is in business, when people tell you that you must do things a certain way this should be your trigger to ask "Why?".
They may well be correct but when the masses are only achieving mediocre results by living with certain beliefs why would you copy those beliefs / rules?
There are many exceptions to this because sometimes certain rules are undeniably correct but once again this is a quality that true champions have and as a knock on effect they are often the ones to find better answers whilst other drivers are just trying to improve their braking shapes because of what they were told.
On this front I used to work with a champion who is now at a high level and he beat everyone in the wet even though he had the most atrocious braking shapes possible (he was even stabbing the throttle in the braking area) but it worked, most drivers would never even think of doing this.
Breaking certain rules doesn't just hold up in the car but also out of the car, if you are a quick driver and you fully believe in yourself but people around you are saying things like "You cannot have this as a career" or "You will never get into F1 because you have no money" then these are the rules that you must spend your life breaking if you truly want this to happen.
Too many of us have let our dreams go by listening to other people's rules. You know deep down what you want and what you are capable of so live by your rules to prove it.
2) Champions Have Balls
Oh yes another basic quality is that they have balls, they have courage, aggression and hunger that forces them to drive and act differently to most drivers.
Again when you meet a true champion you just know that they will try and slaughter you if you get in their way.
They are first to go flat out at that risky corner, they will take risks when overtaking, they will be fast on out laps, they will argue their point if someone tries to prove them wrong and they will fight to the bitter end no matter what it will make them look like.
This is more than just confidence, this is conviction for doing things in the best possible way and they put personal safety or risk of failure at the back of their mind.
Compare this to a driver who is afraid to look bad in front of others and who doesn't like judgement and this champion would eat them for breakfast.
This Can Be Learned
Opposite to common belief (rules of the masses again) these two qualities are learned behaviours, you can learn how to build up this side of your charactor.
All you need to do is work on your mind and how you see things, the mind is a muscle that can be trained and conditioned in this area so you can turn yourself into the warrior that is required on your battlefield.
I love working with people on this because it is so rewarding all round and the results always improve when the driver takes control.
Take the time to look at the way you operate at the track and in life, spot the things you must work on in order to better yourself as a performer. Get mentors who are already the way you want to be to help you, they will raise your standards and help speed up the process.
Ask yourself how you can truly 'Show Up' at the next race weekend and how can you get even more from yourself and the people around you.
Become more than curious and make this your sole mission if this is an area that you know you need to improve.
People will notice immediately and over time you will be taken more seriously and you will advance as a driver and a person. That's what this is all about.
To kick you off listen to songs from Rob Baily & The Hustle Standard.
TURN THOSE SPEAKERS UP FULL AND AWAKEN THAT WARRIOR.
WARNING: Very bad language in these songs, not suitable for those under 18 years old.
Here are two to start you off....
Try 'n Hold Me Back: