From the Stands: Topeka

Yesterday in Topeka. Phew. It was a day. You ever have those days when you come to work and you’re just – well, you know. Having emotions about life that have nothing to do with racing?

“Yeah, me neither,” she lied, raising her eyes to the sky and releasing with a rush the breath that she’d been holding for far too long.

Coming to work with your emotions wrapped around you like a blanket is about as helpful as not showing up at all. So what do you do, right? My old fall back is to remind myself that attitude is everything. That’s an annoying set of words, though, let’s be honest. Especially when you need to hear and feel them most.

So this morning I was dissecting all that. For me, it’s more than slapping on a smile and powering through. I don’t think that’s actually all that effective if you’re going to produce anything of quality. If your heart isn’t in it, is it really any good?

It’s way bigger than a simple smile, and I suspect it’s way more powerful in the long run. It’s mindset.

Last night, and perhaps why I’m thinking about this today, I had an interesting conversation with someone about the mental aspect of racing. There are certain drivers who are simply unflappable in the racecar. You can’t fluster them, and that shows up time and time again on the racetrack and in their trophy cases. Do you really think their lives are peaches and cream? Well, see, it doesn’t matter. Because once they get in that racecar, nothing. else. matters.

It’s a switch flipped once the body comes down or the door closes. It’s just the driver and their racecar, the most important task in the world only the one directly at hand. No multitasking. Multiple tabs are not open. They are pointed directly at the goal, figuratively and literally.

Focus is a funny thing. It’s like a little rabbit I’m chasing so much of the time, but it is my most valuable tool when I can catch it. If I can, if I can zero in, if I can shut the door and just drive the car that’s already heading right where I need to go, I can win.

I dunno. Try that today, maybe? I’m going to as well. See you out there.

Categories: Musings

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