“I’m generally pretty hardcore. I want a hard race, I want to be destroyed afterwards.”
“My dad would say, “My son’s going to be “the first black Formula One driver”. Everyone thought, ‘Yeah right’.”
“We harness energy without even noticing it and whether it’s good or bad.”
“My goal this weekend, is to win this race. All the other stuff is all just noise.”
– Lewis Hamilton
Evan: He’s a British Formula One race car driver, currently racing with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Team.
He’s a 2008, 2014, and 2015 Formula One World Champion.
He’s the only driver in this history of the sport to have won at least one race in each of the season’s he’s competed in.
He’s Lewis Hamilton and here’s my take on his top 10 rules for success.
Rule number one is my personal favorite and make sure to stick around all the way to the end for some special bonus clips.
And as always, if Lewis says something that really, really resonates with you, please leave it in the comments below and put quotes around it, so other people can be inspired as well. Enjoy!
Rule #1: #Believe In Yourself
The first year was… the first year, I met McLaren. I’ve got the two time World Champion. He just won the Championship 2006, 2007, he’s got number one on his car, I’m going to be number 2, because that’s how it goes.
I remember sitting, testing, just studying, studying, studying. I’ve got to make sure that I somehow would have matched this guy. I believe in myself that I’m… Somewhere in me, there’s the speed to keep up and beat this guy.
So, before the first race, Ron said in his office, “You got to expect and don’t be surprised if you’re half a second behind Fernando at the first race.” You don’t know what that did to me inside. I was so…
Interviewer: What did it do?
“I remember sitting, testing, just studying, studying, studying. I’ve got to make sure that I somehow would have matched this guy. I believe in myself that I’m… Somewhere in me, there’s the speed to keep up and beat this guy.” – Lewis Hamilton
It just boiled me inside because he obviously undervalued… Not undervalued me, because he obviously gave me the role, but he was not expecting me to be able to answer to his special new guy.
Interviewer: So he said to you, “Expect to be beaten.”
Interviewer: And your life had not been about expecting to be beaten.
No, no, so I trained like crazy, I prepared. He did beat me in qualifying and he did beat me in the first race, but I finished just behind him in 3rd and after that, I think I beat him in the next race. No, I didn’t. I think maybe the 3rd race I beat him and then I beat him in the Championship at the end of the year. My first year, my rookie year.
Rule #2: Be Hardcore
What I do love is when I do a race and on the edge, the whole… The last race, for example, I was dead at the end. I was pushing so hard and really enjoying it. That’s what racing’s all about. I’m generally pretty hardcore.
I want a hard race, I want to be destroyed afterwards. It doesn’t matter if… Of course, I want to win, but as long as you’ve put up a good battle and you’ve given 110%, you’ve left with zero… It’s not like, oh I had couple percent left, but I finished the race.
I want to be completely depleted after a race, knowing that I gave it my all and I didn’t make very many mistakes. Then I can go home proud.
Rule #3: Never Give Up
Unfortunately, there are people with the talent that don’t have the money. I kind of look at it like, if any of you’ve seen Cool Runnings, when they try to raise money to go bobsledding and all the people that they approached just laughed at them and it’s the same for us.
My dad would say, “My son’s going to be the first “black Formula One driver”, everyone thought, “Yeah right”, but he kept going and it happened. We got there, so never give up.
Rule #4: Push Beyond Limits
Me as a driver, I change. I improve all the time through experiences, not just race-by-race, but in life. I’m always taking all these different experiences, positive or negative, extracting the best bits out of them, learning, becoming older and wiser.
I’m 23 years old. I think I’m quite wise for my age, I think. I still got a long way to go, but then, when it comes to driving, I excel. I pushed beyond limits. When I’m training, I go beyond the pain barriers. I just do everything I can to make sure that when I arrive at the race track, I’ve already got two, 3/10s on the other guys.
Rule #5: Do Your Talking On A Track
I think, we as human beings, we harness… We harness energy without even noticing it, and whether it’s good or bad, and I think I harnessed all those different experiences at school when the teachers were negative and those parents.
I just kept it and I kept it bottled inside and I’d use it on the track. My dad would always say, ’cause a kid would push me off the track and I would have aggression. I’d be like, “I want to go and push that guy over, “or flick him in the ear, or kick him, or something.” and he would say, “Do your talking on the track.”
Just don’t say anything, just do your talking on the track and that applied to everything in my life, so just do your talking on the track. So, I’d get on the track and I would drive the wheels off the car.
Rule #6: Master Your Craft
When I came to Formula One, in trying to get to… Getting into Formula One was tough, I had to win everything. I was led to believe I had to win every championship, so I had to make sure that I studied about the car, everything change that I made, that I had to write it down and study it. I have a catalog at home with all the changes I made, of all my setups, so when I got to Formula One, change the front roll bar.
I know exactly what changes that’s going to make to the car. So, I had to really build up a good understanding of mechanics and I think, when I got to McLaren, my fitness level had to take another step, to another level.
So, I was training ridiculous amount of hours a week, which I hated. I spent a lot of time at the factory, would sit down with an…. I would have, probably four to five, probably four engineering meetings everyday at McLaren.
“I was led to believe I had to win every championship, so I had to make sure that I studied about the car, everything change that I made, that I had to write it down and study it.” – Lewis Hamilton
This was before my first season, after my GP2 season, to understand all the different scenarios, the race strategies, the tires, the steering wheel. There was an incredible amount of information that I didn’t have to do before.
Before, I’d just get in the car, in Formula GP2, and I could read a couple maps, try to understand where the track’s going and work with the setup, but Formula One, there’s tons and tons of information, and that was really the biggest step that I had to make. I had a steering wheel I took home and I had to study it. I looked at it every morning and every evening.
Tried to close my eyes and know where the switches were. Obviously, just getting up-to-speed in my first eight test days I had. Trying to get on the pace and not make mistakes and have the fitness level to just keep it up.
That was the biggest stepping stone for me and I got to my first race and I was fourth. I came fourth in the first race. I was ready because I really did… I couldn’t look back and say, “I wish I’d done some more of that” because I did everything I could.
Rule #7: Take On Challenges
The challenge of joining Mercedes is obviously going to a team that’s struggled for the last couple years. They’ve not won as many championships, they’ve not been competitive in this era of car design.
This era of car design came out in 2009 and obviously you have the top three teams that have been there and now Lotus have also come in and started competing and Mercedes finished fifth in the Championship last year, so it’s taken a team that’s struggled and helping them to climb up the ladder and get higher up, so I want to be a part of that.
I want to get in there and I want to help develop a car, push it in a certain direction I feel that I’m good at and perhaps other drivers are not as good at maybe. Who knows, but taking that car across a line and winning is the ultimate goal.
Rule #8: Stay Focused On Your Goals
Interviewer: How do you prepare yourself to be so focused? To handle all of this massive stress?
Really, it’s trying to just remain focused on the job at hand and then the task. My goal this weekend is to win this race. All the other stuff is all just noise and I guess it’s just through experience being able to silence all of that and stay focused on what’s the most important thing.
So don’t be distracted by all the media or the cameras. Tomorrow there’s so many interviews. Mostly with the same people that we always have, so I’ve been talking to these guys for 10 years, often asking the same question that they asked me two weeks ago, but obviously they have something more to talk about this weekend because the last race was terrible. I think it really is just trying to, I guess, compartmentalize, really.
“Trying to just remain focused on the job at hand and then the task. My goal this weekend is to win this race. All the other stuff is all just noise and I guess it’s just through experience being able to silence all of that and stay focused on what’s the most important thing.” – Lewis Hamilton
That stuff, put it over here, put it in a box and then keep the energy and your focus on the one thing that matters most. All that other stuff does not matter. What matters is me and this team. How are we going to get from Friday, or Thursday this week, for example, to Sunday, standing on top of that podium. It’s sleep, it’s what I eat, it’s what I spend my time doing. Making sure I get to bed early.
All these different things that add up to it and sometimes you do it all perfect and it doesn’t go well, but that’s life and you just hope that in doing all the right things… But it’s also trying to find a balance. You need to enjoy life as well. At some stage, my career will be over and I want to look back and say, “I enjoyed absolutely everything. “Every moment in the car, every moment out of it”.
Rule #9: Love What You Do
It’s fun every time. As soon as you put your suit on, it’s fun. The whole weekend’s a complete blast and although it’s very, very political and very serious and everything like that, which you need to because it’s immensely intense and competitive, but it’s so much fun. You get in that car and I’m like a kid. I know what to do with it and I’m like a kid with a new toy.
Rule #10: Have Fun
James: Hello, I’m James Corden, this is Lewis Hamilton.
James: I’ve got one lap to ask as many questions as I can. Lewis, are you ready?
James: Okay. On your marks, get set. Okay! Oh my God! Right, favorite film?
Coming To America.
James: Favorite football player?
James: How many crashes have you had? Oh my God! I’m asking for me, more than just-
James: Okay! How many pushups can you do?
James: Yeah, me too. 90, 95. Okay. Who’s your hero?
James: Is there anything more exhilarating than Formula One?
James: Do you wish your girlfriend was hot like me? See it’s ruined because he does! Oh my! Lewis! I thought you were going to be amazing at this. We’re just going over all the corners!
You sweatin’ a bit?
James: Yes, just a touch. Right, true or false, you wear your helmet in bed?
James: Do you ever play with your helmet in bed?
James: If you were going to sing me a song, what song would you sing me?
Smack My Bitch Up.
James: Oh my! Okay, now okay. Oh my God! Favorite car?
James: Smart or casual?
James: Sebastian or Fernando?
James: Go on, you’ve got to pick one. Sebastian or Fernando?
James: Front garden or back garden? Oh my God! Come on now. Do you still get parking tickets?
James: What do you wear to bed?
James: What is the best city in the world?
James: Punch the brakes! Oh my God!
James: Whoa, what you doing now? Oh, come on now. Oh my-
We’re done, man!
James: Thank you! That was amazing! I can’t feel my legs, it’s ridiculous.
Evan: Thank you guys so much for watching. I made this video because Lagmin asked me to. So if there’s a famous entrepreneur that you want me to profile next, leave it in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do. I’d also love to know, what did Lewis say that really resonated the most with you? What is going to have the biggest impact on your life, or your business after watching this video? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. I’m going to join in the discussion. Finally, I want to give a quick shout-out to Gaella Kaneza. Thank you so much, Gaella, for picking up a copy of my book. It really, really, really, really means a lot to me. Thank you guys, again, for watching. I believe in you. I hope you continue to believe in yourself and whatever your one word is. Much love! I’ll see you soon.
When you’re building up to Formula One, you’re obviously preparing to race, but you’re not prepared for what comes along with being a Formula One driver. The pressure of such a big team, sponsors, media, sitting on stage, talking. You’re not prepared for that.
You’re not put through a school, or through other interviews for it, so you arrive in the deep end without being able to swim. I made a lot of mistakes. I got into… obviously, I was quick on track. That was the easy part, is everything outside, but I lost the first year in 2007 by one point, which was, depending on how serious you take your job, it was emotionally traumatizing the first year.
Came back the next year, somehow I came through that experience and then in that last race I had to finish 5th. I started third, I think it was and that was fourth, fifth and then, probably like six laps, seven laps to go, I was down in sixth and the guy that was ahead of me was Sebastian Vettel and there was… If I couldn’t do anything even to save my mother’s life and my mom was over there on the edge of the cliff, I had to pass him in order to.
17 Seconds later
I couldn’t get past him! I couldn’t get past this guy and for those laps, I just wasn’t giving up, but I could see that dream fading away and then the last lap, some guy was on slick tires, I was on wets. He was stumbling, quite a few of them were stumbling.
I was overtaking cars here and there, I had no idea where I was. I thought they were backmarkers. The guy came across the line and thought he had, for a second, was World Champion and then I came across the line 17 seconds later and I crossed the line and I thought I lost the World Championships, so my heart sunk.
I was distraught and then, I don’t know why they took so long, but like 12, 13 seconds later, they told me I was World Champion. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. I think it just at the time, after that big whirlwind of media, back at the factory, there was so much tension.
I guess, I was just only 23, so I just don’t feel I was… Don’t forget, growing up, instead of hanging out with friends on the weekends and doing normal kid social life stuff, I was racing. I was with adults, so I missed that a lot.
That maturity growing up stage and I don’t feel I was mature enough to really be able to embrace the whole experience and enjoy it. So, I tell you, it was not a great.. Whilst it’s amazing that I won the Championship, it just wasn’t-
“I come out of it so much stronger and so, I do feel this is just trials and tribulations. This is a period of time of growth for me that, whilst there’s always growth” – Lewis Hamilton
I wasn’t able to enjoy it. Rolled into the second year. The year after that for example, but the last two Championships have really, I guess, coming of an age, been able to really absorb it and enjoy the moment because so much work has gone in from my family, so I don’t take it for granted, the opportunity that I have, for one. There are so many people that would cut their leg off to be in my seat and do what I do.
So I make sure that I maximize every time I get in the car. I’m representing my family every time I get in that car and so there’s nothing… there’s no time for second place. Of course, those experiences, when you have those lows, like losing the World Championship, only make you stronger when you do, or realize that there’s highs and lows. See, once you’ve had the low, you appreciate the highs even more.
Challenge to rise
It’s presumably particularly frustrating for you this season. It’s early days yet, but-
It’s a killer season. It’s terrible Obviously, I had a couple of amazing years, the last two. I would say this is… Luckily, through the experience of the 10 years of racing, you have the ups and downs and I definitely think these past five races have been massively testing for myself, my mechanics, for my engineers. I think each time, I see it as a challenge to rise. I see it as a challenge to… I’m going to be facing the media right now, but I feel terrible.
I’m angry that I lost the race, or something like that, but it’s a moment for me to, the kids that are watching, to me to say the right things. It’s a moment for me to lift my guys up, who are probably feeling just as much as me, or back at the factory, who work nonstop to build my car. So, there’s so much going on and I feel often when I do it right, I come out of it so much stronger and so, I do feel this is just trials and tribulations. This is a period of time of growth for me that, whilst there’s always growth-
I met Nelson Mandela once when he was 90, for his 90th birthday, and he said to me that he was still learning at that time. So, I have a long way to go, hopefully.
Take Your Time
I think the advice that I would give would be to try and get much running as you can. Take your time and it’s so easy to just get ahead of yourself and think, “I’m ready for this, “I’m ready to take the next step.” and you just got to take your time. That was really the fortunate thing I had with all of my support, from my dad and from Ron, was just trying to make sure that we didn’t rush it and you just take your time, get lots and lots of miles under your belt, lots of racing experience, wheel-to-wheel racing, and utilize every second you get on track.
Keep Your Hunger Going
I do everything. I love jet skiing, going out on quad bikes, motor bikes, surfing, rock climbing, pretty much anything with an engine. Yeah, I try to do as many things as I can. I like to do water skiing, I like to do wakeboarding and monoskiing, so I pretty much do quite a few things, but those are the things that I do too. And my dad would be like, “You shouldn’t be doing any of those things “’cause you race a Formula One car, you don’t need to.”, but when you’re not racing, you need something to keep that adrenaline and that hunger going.