Sunday, June 28, 2015
Ego In Racing. When Too Much Of A Good Thing Is Just Too Much
*I am noting this article is about no one driver at all but just observations from many years and combined egos I've come across*
Sigmund Freud was the first to really identify the three main parts of the psyche and define them into terms such as ego, super-ego, and id. They all three combine to determine how we interact with the outside world whether consciously or subconsciously. How we think of ourselves and how we react to situations in life are all tied in with your ego. Some of us react to situations in life differently than others and how we see ourselves is factored by your ego. In today's culture we look at ego and define it as a simple term and more of a negative than a positive and instead of the complex scientific study that it is. With the study of the ego there is a term that comes up called "ego strength" and it is what comes into play when contemplating a decisive action or more or less how you'll react to each and every situation. A strong ego strength is when a person isn't overwhelmed by their drives and can make an appropriate response to outside events and can make correct decisions. On the opposite end of the spectrum is a weak ego strength. This is where the person will exhibit impulsive behavior, be emotionally unstable, and have a weak self image.
The weird thing about a strong and weak ego strength is that a person with a strong ego strength will be the person who isn't full of himself as people would say and would more than likely be the quieter person in the crowd because there's no need for show or to prove themselves. Now, a person of weak ego strength would be the one with an over inflated self image and always feels they should make themselves to look bigger or more self important than they really are. Bullies and such are prime examples. In racing each and every driver's ego comes into play with his on and off track behavior. Some of the biggest names in dirt track racing have the biggest ego complexes and in turn the weakest egos. They will turn away a fan autograph because they have no time, they will make their pits inaccessible to fans because their self important view of themselves, they get angered at other drivers easily for barely touching their cars because in their head they believe no one can possibly beat them.
The drivers with a strong ego will be the ones with the seemingly smallest ego complexes. They do their jobs on the track, give time for their fans, don't have a hothead and generally keep themselves in check because there is no need to have to prove anything to anyone in the racing world and they don't see themselves as above anyone else walking through the pits just because they have a car and the other doesn't or because they're on television. One tends to puff out their chest more than the other or preens like a peacock and tells stories that tend to make themselves look more important than what they are. We all know these drivers and people. To talk about today's definition of ego, when we say "he has a big ego, he's so full of himself", every driver in my opinion has that ego because why else would they race in front of so many people each and every week and want to win at all costs? The answer is because they want that trophy, that thrill of being victorious over everyone else and it's an incredible high like a drug that they want. To be better than everyone else is a part of ego and a symptom of a weak ego strength but I know so many drivers with a weak ego strength and are the most down to earth people you'll ever meet but that drive to be better than everyone else is still there.
There are those who race for the fun of it. I know these drivers also. They care not if they win or lose that night, it's just a hobby for them. No need to be any better or prove anything, it's just for the sheer enjoyment of the sport. These are not the people I'm speaking of in this article. I think the ego for each of us is to get us somewhere successfully in life. I've seen some real inflated egos make it far in the world but it reminds me of a quote by Chris Lowe where he says "Stupidity combined with arrogance and a huge ego will get you a long way", so it goes to show even a weak ego can make it far. With racing and so many different egos across a wide range of levels from weak to strong, I think the combination of egos is what makes racing so interesting and gets certain drivers the fans and others the haters. The drivers with less of an ego complex are generally well liked by fans and tend to be calmer on the track and with other drivers. They don't assume they are the best driver out there or they know more than another driver on the track. Those drivers win the fans' hearts easily.
The drivers with the over inflated egos will probably be the ones with the most haters as they call them. When in actuality, the fans do not dislike this driver for no reason. The over inflated ego will have that driver bringing fights with other drivers for barely touching their car or crying that someone shouldn't have beat them and they are cheating because there's no way possible anyone else should have beaten them and people see this reaction from said driver and it brings a strong distaste for that driver and their attitude. They aren't haters for no reason, the driver's ego and actions caused that reaction from other people. The mixture of egos is definitely a good thing for keeping racing interesting and giving fans someone to root for and someone to root against, but when is it too much?
I think that point comes when egos start to cause problems on the track and drive other drivers away from tracks because they can no longer deal with the ego complex and crying and whining another driver can bring. Most drivers can shrug it off and keep going but some drivers plain won't put up with it. When the ego clashes begin to happen on the track and off it is like a black hole for racing. It starts off between two drivers but slowly starts to suck in other drivers and then fans and then the tracks themselves and then everything gets put on social media. There's a need for each type of ego in racing but they should all be kept in check to keep that black hole from swallowing any other innocent bystanders. The ego shouldn't take over when something happens on the track or off. Common sense should. Racing could be a little different if egos didn't get out of hand.
Where they can create some good old fashioned rivalries and boos from the crowd with fans coming back each week to see those egos clash again and again and no ugly fallouts and social media interventions to make other drivers and fans disgusted with the whole thing. Never let the strong ego become the weak ego. I've come across the weak ego many times. That emotional instability, lack of looking at a situation and using common reasoning skills, fragile sense of identity, and the biggest part of puffing of their chest to make themselves look more important than they are and weak character. I personally just let them puff their chest out and blow hot air because it's their inferiority complex taking over and I have never felt the need to prove anything in front of others. Why would their ego make them act in such a way if they didn't feel the need to try to prove themselves to fill that weak complex they have? So, realizing another already has a psychological problem or ego problem lets me know they probably embarrass themselves and others on a normal basis so why would I need to help that? Drivers, when faced with similar problems should realize the other ego they are clashing with wants to try to feel strong in some way where they may be weak and try to let it go at that. No letting the ego clash suck others in or make their way to Facebook. Realize that some of these ego clashes are good for racing but keep them in perspective and fenced in. Keep your ego in check and remember what Colin Powell said, "Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position fails, your ego goes with it".