Lewis Hamilton: Being unstoppable after defeat
If you’ve read some of my previous emails, you’ll know I’m quite the F1 fan — mostly interested in the technical and sporting (psychology, physiology, etc) details behind it. Last Sunday capped off one of the most intense years of the sport I’ve seen, but what happened that day blew me away and inspired me to keep working on something I’ve wanted to change about myself for a long time.
It probably made the news everywhere that Lewis Hamilton was “robbed” of winning his 8th world title by amoral decisions made outside of his control. I’m not going to get into that. What struck me was the mental strength and splendour Lewis showed that taught me how to approach situations out of my control.
I was angry. So angry. Two of my favourite drivers (Leclerc and Hamilton) had what could’ve been a phenomenal day pivot into a terrible one that masked the full picture of how well they performed all year.
Despite what happened, Lewis revealed a level of serenity in his post-race interview that I’ve only ever seen in a few people. It uncovered my own issues I know I must dearly work on. Obviously, he was emotional and upset; the world saw that. And, of course, he’s well versed in talking to the media and hiding emotion. But he had the class of 1,000 men to start by congratulating his rival and wishing everyone well. Being real, and going off of what most people commented on social media, few would’ve been able to be half as composed.
I sifted through social media to see an overwhelming number of people — fans of Lewis or not — say they were moved by his calmness, considering he lost the title fight he and his team were (for once after many years) pushed deep into the mud for.
When he walked away, I felt so different. Rage dissipated into mist, disclosing disappointment with a hint of agony. I took smoother breaths, calmed down and thought to myself, if he could be this calm after losing this title, from something so ruthlessly out of his control, who am I to be like this?
I learned that while it’s okay to feel, to show emotion and be upset when things don’t go my way, let emotions quickly and respectfully, and move on. We’ll always have more out of our control than in it. And I believe you then only choose to be one of two people: someone who fixates on the 99 things that can go wrong, reiterating that “it only takes one to ruin everything”, or someone who knows that, well, 1) unlikely to happen, and 2) rarely (if ever) as bad as we think.
And now, a goal in life for me is to approach every problem or idea that could frustrate me and challenge myself to respond better every time, in a way that puts my happiness first.
What I’ve Learned
Belief over time is something I think about a lot. Agnes Martin describes it as “the inevitable up and downs of maintaining engagement with something over long periods of time.” People tend to believe love is unchanging over merely enduring, that our passion (or passions) is something we wake up every day excited to do. It’s not always the case — and, well, it sets you up for failure. Disenchantment scares most because most think it’s a sign of disaster. But in whatever you love doing, disenchantment is a normal, healthy part of the experience because it’s all about continuity.
What’s on My Mind
It’s been a joy to feel like I’m working with genuine, good people. I felt this way for a moment during a day in the office, and it was one of those moments where despite all the busy work and stress that comes with a new job — especially your first full-time corporate job — it’s a relief to know I have good people in my team. Great minds, people better at what I love than myself, who push me to keep the learning curve steep and who care about mental health.
One Timeless Quote
“There’s something soothing about all-or-nothing thinking, the seduction of easy answers. But it’s a fantasy. When we let our desire for reassurance overrule our ability to live in reality, we numb out our emotions. There’s this joke I make a lot about having “real thoughts”—real thoughts in this case referring to an opinion that’s not reflexive, not a product of your immediate environment.
My Favourite Things This Week
Thank you for being a part of Self-mastery this year. I genuinely hope you enjoyed the editions as much as I enjoyed writing them and that you feel you have improved at least 1% in any area of your life since you started reading. I hope you have a wonderful holiday period and take the time you need to switch off (and I mean off).