Jay Shirley

Striving to be a man of gallantry and taste


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I am speed. I’ve never identified more with a movie than during the opening scene of Cars. Maybe I love speed would be more accurate. I love to drive, especially swiftly. As I grew up and made fewer dumb choices and more smart choices, I also changed the way I studied the concept of going faster.

Racing is very competitive, but it really isn’t against other drivers. Racing is against the track. It’s about getting the best time on that lap on the track; the other competitors are working to the same goal, but not to slow you down. Just like life.

Consistent excellence against the track creates consistent winners. By competing against the people who coincidentally are chasing the same goal may occasionally produce a fluke victory. The problem is in fixation. Closely following a leading car’s movements means staying in their shadow, and worse, making the same mistakes. If you do not drive against the track, you are following a leader. Followers don’t win races.

Preparation is the solution. Learn the track, inside and out. Know every corner, every dip and every bump. Preparation is 90% of victory. Preparation is the key to consistency, and consistency brings confidence.

The remaining 10% doesn’t need to be worried about. That’s what everybody focuses on: the leaders.