Power of Concentration in Racing & Driving

The title of this blog posting seems so very appropriate after this past Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 final lap.   Rookie J.R. Hildebrand’s last lap bobble in turn 4 of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, caused his car to drift into the gray area of tire debris marbles.  It seems like it may have been due to a lack of concentration on his part, but we may never know…

Rookie JR Hildebrand's damaged car slides across the finish line, finishing 2nd after hitting the wall in turn four while leading on the final lap of the 2011 Indy 500.  Photo by Greg Griffo / The Star, from IndyStar.com

I came across this article from the Racing Secrets Newsletter, some time ago.  I had it saved for the proper timing to release.  That time is now & here it is in its entirety:

The Power of (Racing) Concentration

(Not specifically written for racing, but still useful advice for becoming a better race car driver.)

The Power of Concentration
by Steve Gillman (c)

If you had the power of concentration whenever you wanted it, imagine how much more productive you could be. Good news! Not only can learn how to concentrate better, but you can do so right now.

Concentration Power Is Automatic

Start working on something, and concentration is automatic, until you are distracted. Usually these interruptions are your own thoughts, and they may come every few seconds. If there was nothing interfering, you would have easy and complete concentration. What you need is a method to remove the distractions, to control your wandering mind.

Here it is:   Start paying attention to what is going on in your head. Maybe there’s a phone call you need to make, that has been quietly bothering you, just below consciousness. You could be worried about an upcoming meeting, or a family matter. Start tuning into your mind today, and it will become easier by tomorrow.

Then, as you become aware of these stressors, do something with them to let them go for the moment. Make that phone call, or make a note about it, and your mind will usually let go of the concern for now.  Do whatever you can quickly do to let these “mind irritation” go. Sometimes just telling yourself something like, “There is nothing I can do about this problem until Friday,” will stop unconscious worrying.

Do this exercise a few times, and you’ll find it becomes easier to recognize what is just below the surface, irritating you and sapping your power of concentration. Set these mind irritations aside, and you will think more clearly.

Why Concentration?

Another simple technique is to honestly ask why you want to concentrate. Concentration is difficult if you’re bored. A cure for this is to stop and consider why it’s important, if it is. Answer the question, and visualize the benefits clearly, and it will be easier to focus your mind.

Obvious Distractions

I have read that Stephen King writes with loud music on. What distracts each of us, or doesn’t, is obviously personal and somewhat unique. Do something about whatever it is that takes your mind away from the task at hand. Turn off the TV, feed your empty stomach, or turn your desk away from the window.

When you take care of the external and the internal distractions, you’ll be able to focus your attention and brain power like a spotlight. Watch a child building a sand castle sometime, and you’ll see that the power of concentration really is natural.


More Driving Tips:

Other Articles:

The above article is captured verbatim & is timely.  Even in our daily dives to work, many times we go through the driving motions as if on automatic pilot.  This was brought keenly to my attention a week ago.  I was out of town for my AMSOIL business education.  I did not drive at all while away from home – essentially, I did not drive my Miata (Karlino) for about 9 days.

Karlino with AMSOIL Racing debut at SASCA autocross - the RacingReady.com color clings look sharp!

That first morning drive back to work was an eye opener.  I forgot how responsive my car is to steer & the quick spurts of power it rewards me.  I had to mentally reign in my enthusiasm of driving my little sports car, as I didn’t want to piss off my fellow, driving to work, motorists!

Concentration  in our lives takes many forms.  Racing Ready continues to pursue its different levels daily, & not just in driving pursuits.


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