Taking chances is something that’s a struggle for nearly everyone. In fact, I don’t know a single person who hasn’t questioned being risky. If they didn’t, I would be worried because there is wisdom that comes with discretion.
This past weekend, I had two races at Roebling Road Raceway in Savannah, Ga. There were a bunch of cars that were faster than mine and even more drivers who have years and years of experience. Me? I have technically one year under my belt. This was my fifth race weekend over the past two years. On top of that, I have yet to race the same track twice. They’ve all been new to me.
Roebling was, by far, the fastest track I’ve been on. There is barely any braking that happens. And if you’re not braking in racing, you’re always on the gas! With all of the sweeping turns, it makes it incredibly difficult to overtake someone. Most of the passes happen in turn one at the end of the straight, when you’re doing about 134 miles an hour.
But if you’re a little crazy—OK, a lot crazy—you can try and make an outrageous move in one of the sweeping turns. You just pray that you don’t collect the car you’re attempting to pass, and you both end up a mangled mess.
Sunday, out of frustration, I decided to make such a move. I tried for a couple of laps to pass the driver in front of me, but he was just too fast. And then, I realized something. Turn three was a long left hander that you run the car flat. (not letting off the gas), and he wasn’t.
And as you see at the beginning of this clip, (I know. I know. My camera tilted on me.) I figured out that I could slingshot out of turn three faster than he did, and I could probably out break him in the corner. If I stayed on his gearbox, I could try it.
Conventional wisdom says, “He’s raced for years and you haven’t. He has a faster car than you do. Don’t even try this.” But something inside of me said, I can do it.
As you can see, it worked. And not only did it work, but I was able to hold him off the rest of the race. Three turns later, I finally noticed that my heart was in my throat and I better start breathing again! I can honestly say that the pass, and holding him off until the end, made a HUGE difference in how I felt at the end of the race. Otherwise, I would have been sitting behind him when we crossed the finish line wondering if I could have made that move.
I think there are many times in life that we struggle on whether to take a chance. But the decision can be kind of simple, since there are basically three outcomes. You don’t take the chance and regret it for some measure of time. You do take the chance, which either makes you feel like a genius or an idiot. No matter what you choose, there are potential victories and consequences with each. You just have to ask yourself, When does the potential victory outweigh the potential consequence?
Question: What are examples of chances that you took that you never thought you would, and it worked out for the better? Conversely, what about the times it did not?