Q: “When you are in the Zone you feel everything and react almost subconsciously, but have you gone too far if you are in the ‘Red Mist’? Can you discuss your concept of the ‘Red Mist’ versus being in ‘The Zone’?”
A: If you think of the Zone as a state that you get into where you’re no longer consciously thinking, but driving mostly subconsciously, then I think of Red Mist as almost a polar opposite. While a driver can get into a state where they’re no longer consciously thinking, but in a wild Red Mist kind of mode, that’s rare. Typically when a driver gets into the Red Mist mode, they’re over-thinking, and are overly-focused on something – most often someone else (as in, “I’m going to catch that driver and run him off the track!”).
Red Mist is typically used to describe when a driver has lost control of his or her emotions, and is driving somewhat recklessly. Think of a time when you’ve seen a driver turn into a bit of an animal on the track, trying to chase down another driver. Most often, the focus has gone from being in the moment and focused on one’s own performance, and is now on an external object or result.
Yes, in Red Mist it’s as if the driver is not thinking consciously, which is similar to being in the Zone. The biggest difference is that when you’re in the Zone you’re managing your emotions, whereas in Red Mist it’s as if the emotions have taken over.
When you’re in the zone, you’re very much inner-focused, even though you’re hyper-aware of what’s going on around you. By that, I mean that you’re focused on yourself, rather than another driver, the result, or anything else other than what it takes to perform at your best.
By my definition of the Zone and Red Mist, anyway, one is not going beyond the other. In fact, they’re going in very different directions. As I said, I think of them on opposite ends of the spectrum – both conscious/subconscious effort and internal/external focus scales. And in terms of managing emotions, they’re opposites, as well.