Q“How can I get over the frustration of crashing my car? All of the circumstances of my crash are very fortunate (recently got track insurance, chassis/engine appear to be undamaged, no bodily harm to myself or others). I ‘know’ all of these things and tell myself to be grateful, but I can’t help being angry at myself for crashing to begin with, and wasting half a day with a pro coach. I know I can use this time to read up/practice on a simulator more, but until I get on track again and prove it to myself, it feels like this frustration won’t go away. Do you have any advice on dealing with these emotions?”

A: Thanks for the question. I’ll try to help with this beyond “Get over it!” Because I bet that doesn’t help at all. 🙂

This is one of the most frequently asked question I get. And because of that, I wrote a fairly lengthy piece of advice about “Recovering from a Crash” here.

I’m sorry you had a crash. One way of thinking about this is that there are two kinds of drivers: Those who have crashed, and those who will crash. It happens to us all. Still, you’re right, and doesn’t feel very good.

I like to look at any mistake I make – or drivers I’m coaching make – are learning-takes. As long as you’re not physically hurt (and even then…), consider what you learn from a mistake, and use that to your advantage. Having crashed, and learned from it, it’s less likely that you’ll crash again. And as I pointed out in the Recovering from a Crash article, the odds of crashing versus not crashing are actually fairly low. Think of how many laps you’ve driven without crashing, and compare that to the times you have crashed.

I don’t know the details of what you drive, where, and what types of track events you’re participating in, so I don’t know what your objectives are. But I’d suggest making LEARNING your primary objective (maybe you already are, and if so, that’s great). It’s easy to get caught up in the “chasing lap times and results” mindset, and often that leads to less learning, and therefore less improvement. Focus on learning, and you will improve; improve and you’ll turn faster lap times and get better results. It’s a bit counterintuitive… until you think logically about it.

Focus on learning, and knowing that you will make mistakes – if you’re human. It’s how you recover from the mistake that matters most. I don’t think being angry with yourself is going to help.

But if being angry with yourself does help, then maybe I’ll come over and be angry at you, too. And we can ask some other people – maybe even some you don’t know – to be angry at you, as well. In fact, let’s get every track driver in the country to be angry with you, because if being angry helps, then with all that anger around you’ll be back up to speed in no time.

[Yes, that last paragraph was meant to be read in a sarcastic voice!!!]

Now, go read the Recovering from a Crash article, as I think that’ll help.

Keep learning and having fun! [No sarcasm there]