Monday, November 7, 2011

Learning to not be stupid

For some odd reason I took an open lane on 75 this morning and decided to air out the ol’ blue bomber Pass-it. I put the needle on a once uncharted section of the speedometer and learned quickly how much sweat my hands can produce in a short amount of time. I thought to myself, “what the hell are you doing Pat? This car is going to fall apart underneath you! It won't even be an admirable story when you have to tell it from a hospital bed." Arriving safely at work - thankfully and rapidly I might add ; ) - I googled, “The dangers of driving at high speeds”. I thought there had to be something more interesting than “crash and die”. Turns out it’s mostly “crash and die”. Butttt, I did find an SAE article on the dangers involved with high performance driving and it was a pretty good read. Maybe I’m going out on a limb but I felt the article was full of good life/career advice too, even if it’s intent is to talk about racing. Here is a link to the article and below is the section I found to be almost biblical.

Once you perform a skill to your own satisfaction you tend to stop looking for improvement. Yet the physiological limits to your performance of the skill may be a great deal higher the upper reaches are virtually limitless, provided there is sufficient motivation to reach them. Have we forgotten the effort required to "get it right?" There is such an emphasis today on instant gratification and being a winner that we often forget the valuable lessons we learn from losing. Remember that the fact of trying something, even if it does not work, often opens doors that would have otherwise remained closed. Small failures lead to incremental improvements. More than any film, bench-racing session or ride a long, not being able to make it through a turn will sear into your brain the importance of doing it right. Discipline yourself to concentrate on what it takes to be where you need to be. On track, focus on the present and save analysis for the paddock. It is the driver's job to learn to do the hard thing easily, gracefully, efficiently. Improvement is there for the taking only if the effort is invested.


  1. Thanks Pat. I could have used this about two weeks ago before I rolled to a stop on the track. I really agree with this, it definitely strikes a chord with the person I want to be.

  2. According to him, you're doing it right Ian. Crashing is learning! Time to get educated.