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Hello and welcome to Episode #14 of The Race Driver Coach Show.
If you are a race driver then you know all about man and machine but today I want to talk about - You Vs Machine
Now this is all going to be figuratively speaking, no scientific experiment has taken place here…yet.
I am using the robot metaphor to get my point across in a way that will help me describe to you the amount of potential you have as a driver (as a person) and how we let parts of our Human character let us down and cause us to perform underneath our potential.
The reason I want to go down this route is to blanket answer a lot of questions that I get that are based on the same issue that people have, they are questions like:
How can I warm up for a race better?
How can I repeat my Free Practice form in qualifying?
How can I stop procrastinating?
How can I bet better on the first lap?
How can I overcome my mistakes quicker?
How can I remain focused in the car?
How can I drive well when under pressure?
How can I improve my confidence so I can lead my team more?
What do you notice about all of these questions?
Well non of them suggest that we are not capable of doing the actual activity of driving or performing away from the track.
They just suggest that we have trouble accessing our skills, our ‘talent’ and our driving technique when needed.
To keep things very simple we have this problem because we often allow those little things called emotions / feelings to become part of our performance.
We allow our current mental state and the thoughts that contribute to that to have their say when we are in the heat of battle.
Now this is where things get a bit screwy.
Because as humans we are very emotional, we base most of our decisions on our feelings.
We can have all the logical reasoning and calculations that should make certain decisions very easy to make, yet when we allow the way we ‘feel’ about the decision come into the equation we can often go a different way.
Or performance wise we can self-create pressure to a situation so it mentally locks us and prevents us from performing freely.
This can be seen when drivers make mistakes on their qualifying laps or underperform in races in areas where they usually excel at.
Or when we decide to not approach that potential sponsor if we are not feeling confident or courageous that day.
The way we won’t work on our racing at home unless we are motivated to do so.
All of these examples are ways that we as humans set things up to fail.
They again have nothing to do with our learnt ability but more how we are running the show and setting things up here. We change the game.
Our feelings manipulate us
The way we feel and the emotional state we are in predetermine the way we are going to perform on any given day.
Even in everyday life we can see our feelings changing us, take a look at food shopping.
If you were to go to the supermarket to do your weekly shop but you do it immediately after scoffing a 4 course meal, then you find that I is hard to choose what you want.
But, if you are starving then you find yourself putting virtually the whole shop in that cart.
This is a case of us allowing the way we feel to influence our dedication to the task in hand. Due to your brain being fulfilled right now, it’s not hungry, it has attached feeling to the buying experience.
That is a slightly different example but it’s all linked to how we allow feelings to change our performance.
We often screw up on things that we know how to do but due to the mental state we are in or the battle between the two parts of our brain we fail when it matters most.
We come from the thought process that we must feel a certain way in order to perform at our best. When true mastery would be to reverse that somewhat and be able to perform whenever required.
Introducing The Robot
Now I want to introduce the robot metaphor.
The robot I want to put you up against is a Humanoid, the type that hasn’t been invented and built yet. One with such advanced Artificial Intelligence that it can learn like a human, can perform like a human, can make its own decisions based on logical calculations, can learn from its mistakes and adjust its actions accordingly, can judge situations and respond in the best possible way using it’s learnt data and history.
Basically, I want to compare you to a robot that is just as able as a Human, but with one big difference, it does allow feelings or emotions to sway its decisions or influence their performance…at all.
If they have a certain amount of ability then they reach that level of ability each time out.
They do not underperform if they are not feeling motivated, they do not stress themselves out if it is a pressured situation and they do not let what others think of them harm their self-view and worth.
They do what they know how to do and reach their capability each time.
Compare yourself to this Humanoid
Now, if I was to take this humanoid and install it with all your skillsets and knowledge. For example if we were to replicate your:
Past lessons learned
Your belief system
Knowledge of the circuits and your current car
Same mental and physical levels
Put simply everything you know and your current skillsets are all installed into this Humanoid so you are completely equal with the same potential.
The question - Who do you think would win over the course of a season?
You or the robot?
Everybody I have asked says the robot.
Then I ask why and they say things like:
Because the robot will be super consistent and not make as many mistakes
Because you couldn’t mentally manipulate the robot
Because the robot wouldn’t have off days
The robot will always be ready
The robot will never give up
Other advantages would be:
The robot will do whatever it takes to meet its objective
The robot will have no fear
The robot would work more effectively on their career away from the track
When you look at all these answers you are basically saying that the robot just…well, does it.
That the robot is not emotionally driven which means that it acts instead of double thinks, that it takes the knowledge and past experience and makes the best logical decision and action from that.
There are no “What if?” hesitations and no “What will people think?” thoughts, just sheer execution.
It doesn’t need to feel motivated before it takes action and it doesn’t have to feel comfortable in order to perform at its best.
Now these are qualities that as Humans we don’t want to possess all of the time because we like to experience intimate relationships, we like the buzz that emotions gives us, we like the emotions and feelings that racing gives us, that’s why we do it and we often can let our feelings make the right decisions – The gut feelings we have.
Well that gut feeling is still a logical calculation really but it ‘feels’ the answer out.
Take on the Robot now
If you want to know exactly how to improve yourself, next time you are at the track or today when you are away from the track, maybe working at home and you want to know if you are doing all you can, I want you to imagine that you have that robot next to you also working towards the same goal as you.
They are competing against you, well, the robot wouldn’t see it that way because they would just see it as competing against themselves, or better still, not competing at all, they’d see it as just doing the task in hand until it is completed in the fastest way.
Just as an experiment pretend you have a robot that is competing against you, treat it like an imaginary friend, and battle against it on the days that you need to perform on.
In doing so you start to understand just how much you, yes you, are getting in your own way.
It kind of gives you a reality check and a hurry up.
You notice just how much you let your emotions and feelings talk you out of doing something as you visualise what that robot would do in this situation.
This is mentorship at its best.
This is self-mentorship when you are really using you as the target.
It is a robot but it only has the capabilities of you.
All in all this video is to tell you and for you to tell yourself that you are good enough, yes you need to improve in certain areas and skills but you are actually ready to get going properly.
That you have what it takes already
If you just move the emotions, the feelings, the harmful beliefs that you have out of the way and get out of your own way, then you have more than enough to make this work and get what you want out of this sport.
Let IT perform.
Like Bruce Lee said “It kicks, it punches”. When he said that he means that it just happens without conscious thought.
This is your ultimate goal when driving or working towards your goals, the automatic performance. Like when you have done a magical lap and cannot remember it or when you save the car on instinct.
It is all about ‘IT’.
I think this is a subject I will be talking about a lot because it is the holy grail of personal peak performance.
But for now I hope you just realise how much we are holding ourselves back and that it is often a false limit caused by the emotions we are experiencing and our current mental state.
Use the robot to help you and spend time on teaching yourself how to perform in the most purist way.
Free yourself of the emotional baggage that others have and do what works for you and what allows you…to be the real you.
Speak to you next time.