By Emmanuel Baako
I was reading James Altucher’s blog post this morning titled 9 Things My Daughters Should Listen To Or Else and had a thought I felt was worth sharing. If this doesn’t apply to you, kindly disregard, or perhaps share it with someone you know who could benefit from it. We all know a guy or gal who keeps talking about joining us at the track but can’t seem to take the first step. Driving home from our season finale at Road Atlanta, I got quite pensive (6hrs of solo highway driving can do that) and felt grateful for my fortunes. I changed my Facebook profile picture this morning from one with the French flag overlay and thought for a minute about those innocent lives. Then I saw this image in my email so had 3 cues to draw upon.
My daughter is a toddler now and has a personality, so I’m all open for ideas on dealing with the little primadonna. I love James' style of writing, so I read everything he posts. The bit that caught my attention today, not surprisingly though, isn’t the main theme of the post. Those who know me well have heard me say these 2 lines often: 1) "It's always something", and 2) "It's Just Money". There’s this other family motto I occasionally blurt out - "Life's too short to not do the things you want to do". James puts a somewhat identical statement right smack in the center of his 9 things below.
How’s any of this related to you? Well, it’s simple. I’m going to urge you to make a committed plan to get out there and do whatever track related thing you want to do. Set a goal, create a plan, accomplish said goal - Life’s too short to not do the things you want to do. I won’t go into the full detail of the thought process.
If you want to get out on track more, plan for it and do it. There’ll always be something in your way. It’s just money (and you’ll need a good amount of it). Time = money. By the symmetric and transitive properties of equality, my statement will hold true for 90% of all cases. Remember, if it’s something you really want to do, then I don’t expect the comment “I could spend that money doing X, Y, Z instead”. Create a simple spreadsheet with of all the trackday/sanctioning groups schedules that you would like to take part in. Figure out which would work best for your schedule. I created one for myself a few weeks ago as the schedules started rolling out. Add the fees and associated costs for the events you want to do. Figure out a way to allocate the funds and commit to it. If one (1) event is all you can realistically manage, make that plan and pencil it in.
Looking for an extra second at Track ABC? Make a plan. You only get X amount of track time per dollar invested in this hobby. Have a solid plan to find that second. Speed Secrets Weekly discussed a subject matter I consider myself more than average at. Actually, 10,000 hours of practice makes you a master so there! MASTER Level! Make a plan to take advantage of simulation in some form. I won’t go into all the details of the speed secrets weekly article. If you don’t have a subscription, pause this reading, go sign up, and then come back. Best $12/year you’ll ever spend. Find me on social media and I’ll be happy to help you out with sim racing questions you may have. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Every goal should have a quantitative measure by which you determine success or failure. The most common example here is “I’m going to exercise more next year”. That’s fine and dandy, but what’s the plan and how do you measure success? So let’s find a practical example here. Heading to Daytona, my focus was going to be on the time spent on braking into T1. I’ve studied enough data for similar cars to know that there is around 7s spent slowing down. I was spending 8s, and my rate of deceleration was all over the place. That’s something that is easily assessable, repeatable, and can be practiced on a simulator as well for extra validation. Data from the previous year suggested that I had an estimated 0.8s to make up from my optimal time in just the braking zone alone by minimizing the amount of time spent on the pansy pedal. My target - lower that delta to 0.2s. It clearly didn’t happen... #dontforgettoclosethecoolsuitbox... but hey, there was a plan of action and it works.
Make no mistake about it, I know it’s a challenge. I was telling Adam Jabaay this past weekend how familiar I am with the concept of having no time. My kids are 18 months and 2 months respectively - “It’s always something”. I’ve spent the majority of this past year helping a close group of friends achieve various goals, whether it be a Time Trial license, Instructor certification, or just seeking out ways to subsidize the racing effort. I share my budgets, expenses, and random deliberations so they can realistically plan for the financial commitment associated with this hobby. They’ve run into various challenges, and timelines have had to be adjusted. But there have been more successes than failures. If it was easy, I’d have no reason to even have this thought, much less write about it.
In the time it’s taken me to pen down the first line to this point, I’ve ALT-TABbed over to Facebook Messenger numerous times for a discussion with a close competitor who is contemplating the step from Time Trial to wheel to wheel action next year. I have many ideas for him, and can’t wait to talk about it further as he mulls over the decision. You can be rest assured that I’ll be repeating my motto to him and helping him create a plan that works.
So identify your next car/tracking/racing/whatever-else goal, make it mensurable, and draw up a plan to achieve it. Reach out to your friends for advice, and git-r-done. If you’ve had the notion or mentioned to someone at one point or another you want to get on track more, go faster, or race (I’m thinking of a page full of names right now), I hope to see you accomplish that goal in the next few days/weeks/months… because life’s too short to not do the things you want to do.