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The dictionary describes ‘Ruthless’ as having or showing no pity or compassion for others.  Some synonyms of ruthless are “cold-hearted”, “merciless” and “pitiless”.

Being ruthless with other people may not be a desirable personal quality but being ruthless with yourself may be the single most important attitude for you to adopt in your career.  As the scale/scope of your goals increase, through wins, club championships, national championships, European on to World Championships, the challenge goes from possible to virtually impossible.  If you want to achieve the virtually impossible your attitude with others and yourself needs to be assessed to see if it will support these lofty goals.  Think of some of the greats in our sport - Senna and Schumacher, they were ruthless with others but especially with themselves.

Being ruthless with others:

A lot of people want to be nice and are more concerned about making people like them instead of getting what they want, but is being ‘nice’ going to hack it when you yourself are faced with ruthless competitors or people working for you who are focused on their own agendas?  This is not about going out of your way to be rude or difficult but you should not compromise your career just to please someone else, especially within your team and never with a competitor. 


People around you may not be driven by goals (your goals especially), they may not have dreams or they may have already been defeated by them.  People like that will not understand your desire to be successful so it’s important to spend most of your time with people who are like minded and are congruent with your goals – take time to let your team and support group know the standards you have set for yourself and how ‘they’ need to be for you.  This can create stress and this is one of the reasons we need to disassociate from motor racing from time to time and take time to give back and be aware of other’s needs.

Being ruthless with yourself:

We spend a lot of time talking about our values, how we should train, how we should be mindful at the crossroads of choice, etc., etc. – but how good are we at actually doing it – training and competition should not be a mass of theories, good intentions and talk about what we are going to do.  It’s vital not to lose sight of how you behave when the sword of pressure is at your throat.

Too many times we hear of drivers, who when presented with the crossroads of choice take the emotional and to some extent the ‘comfortable’ familiar choice, it is far, far easier to over-drive than to grit out the situation you are in... we have all done it.  Remember though, comfortable is NOT the person you’re supposed to be!

If you have spent months or even years taking the easy route and indulging your negative behaviours it’s time to get ruthless with yourself... being soft and understanding with yourself is not going to work... this requires an ‘Act Of Will’.

Being ruthless with yourself is not just for competition, it’s for every day, every hour on the sim , in the gym and on the track – being ruthless with yourself needs to be a habit and habit’s take time to be conditioned.  So:

  • Know who you are and what you stand for – no compromises… ever!

  • As David Goggins says your training and preparation should be callusing your mind

  • Listen to your motor racing conscience – you ‘know’ how you need to behave in every situation - no excuses

  • Remember your greatest threat to performance under pressure is emotion and it is ten times more powerful than logic

  • To remain logical requires a ruthless act of will 

  • At the crossroads of choice – you have to demonstrate an absolute refusal to compromise with yourself

  • Judge yourself severely if you fail

  • When all else fails… just do it… don’t talk about it!

Remember - every war is fought and lost in the mind.  You are your greatest friend and your greatest enemy.  Use this knowledge every day to your advantage.


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