There is no shortcut to experience.
After watching Lewis Hamilton’s Masterclass session on developing a winning mindset, I have a renewed sense of respect for Hamilton. In the video, Hamilton takes the viewers on a journey of his 28 years driving career: The false starts, failures, his training regimen, recovery, cross-training routine (Surf, Skydiving, Snowboarding, Rock climbing), role models (Lewis Father, Muhammed Alli, Ayrton Senna, Niki Lauda), imperfections (anger),team building, leadership, having fun and trusting the process. One of the most impactful and inspiring masterclass session have seen and have seen quite a few of them.
Lewis Hamilton is considered one of the greatest Formula One driver of all times. He has driven more laps in first place than any other driver in history. He’s tallied more than one hundred race victories, an all-time record, and captured seven Formula 1 World Championship trophies, matching another all-time record.
Lewis was born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England, in 1985; by the age of six, he was showing a preternatural gift for racing remote-control cars, routinely beating his teenage and adult opponents around the miniature courses. Impressed by his son’s hand-eye coordination and reaction speed,
Lewis’s father bought him a go-kart, a definitive step on the path to becoming a professional racing driver. He proved a precocious talent behind the wheel, winning his first karting championship in 1995 at the age of ten—the youngest driver to do so at the time. At an awards ceremony in London that year, Lewis started mapping out his future.
“Ayrton Senna was my favorite driver…the team that he drove for [McLaren F1] was owned by a guy
called Ron Dennis. And Ron Dennis was there,” Lewis recalls of the event. “So I went to Ron, and I said, ‘One day I wanna drive for you and be World Champion.’” And so it was: After notching two
more karting championships, in 1996 and 1997, Lewis was recruited into the McLaren Young Driver
Programme, securing his place in the Formula 1 pipeline.
Since signing with the powerhouse Mercedes-AMG Petronas team for 2013, Lewis has claimed
the World Championship in six of the seven following seasons, tying the career record for Formula 1
titles—and breaking dozens of other records along the way. (His dominance has drawn comparisons
to the likes of Michael Jordan.) He’s also become a formidable figure in pop culture, appearing on the cover of GQ magazine, releasing a clothing line with American fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger, voicing characters in Disney’s animated film franchise Cars and the bestselling video game Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and garnering a mass following on social media.
In 2020, having established himself as England’s most decorated Formula 1 driver, Lewis
was knighted by Queen Elizabeth.
Nothing can dim the light which shines from within. – Maya Angelou
Noting the demographics of his field (Lewis is the only Black driver in Formula 1, and he says similar disparities exist throughout the sport in design, engineering, and other technical roles), he launched the Hamilton Commission, a task force focused on increasing representation in motorsport. He’s also earmarked nearly $30 million to support initiatives benefiting math and science students of color through his charity organization, Mission 44. Having a sense of purpose hasn’t only rejuvenated Lewis personally— he says it’s actually boosted his performance on the racetrack
The Real Price of Competing. Even for privileged drivers, racing can be prohibitively expensive. In a 2015 interview with the English business publication Raconteur, Toto Wolff, head of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team, revealed the costs of going pro: He estimates that between a junior karting career, four seasons in lower Formula series, and the expenses of transitioning into Formula 1, the total price amounts to more than $9 million.
Write It Down.
When you encounter a situation with multiple stakeholders, or find yourself the center of an information-transmission scenario, keep detailed personal notes and copies of any reports or related materials. It may sound simple, but the ability to reference them later (and, thus,
efficiently move between teams and sub-teams while collecting intel) can prove invaluable.
Coping With Failure.
Lewis spent more than a decade climbing the ladder to Formula 1, frequently joining
new series. Sometimes, he won the championship in his rookie season; other times, he came in fifth or twentieth. One year, he crashed so much that he wondered whether he had
what it took to race professionally. Enduring multiple failures—especially those that feel so profound, they make you question your path—is part of the process.
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