23 August 2012

The price of Passion

Passion, a word that has such a broad meaning and yet is so singular. It’s quite difficult to explain passion to someone as you can be passionate about anything, I recently read about a lady who had RM1.6million worth of Louboutin shoes, and though that might make some of us cringe, who are we to judge as she could just be passionate about those shoes and has the money to indulge in them.

One thing is for sure though is that passion makes us do things out of the ordinary. To follow your passion means to take the road less beaten, and to some extent, to expose yourself to things others may think of as dangerous or unworthy sometimes.

For me it’s all about racing, I have always been passionate about racing, I love cars, but I love racing even more. It’s in me, it’s just who I am, and when it comes down to racing, second place is not an option. I am lucky that I have a family who’s passionate about racing as well, I wish you could see the look on my parents’ faces every race weekend as they seem more anxious than me, or any other race driver there, guess I know where my love of racing comes from.

When it comes down to racing, it also comes down to being passionate about it. Racing is dangerous, it’s very dangerous, and we are often exposed to situations where the slightest mistake or just a tad bit of steering input can mean the difference between a win or loss, or a crash or a mere spin out. But racing is also much more than just driving fast at glamorous circuits around the world.

My training regime, which is about the same for any athlete, is almost brutal, I have to watch what and how much I eat and drink. I have to train almost every day, if I’m not out for a run then I’m out for a bike ride, if I’m not out hiking, I’ll probably be out swimming. And it’s not just a leisurely walk, hike or swim, its serious stuff, like training for a triathlon. But it’s all worth it because when you’re in the car racing against another driver who’s also dedicated to winning, you have to have an edge over him. Our cars are almost equal in performance, so then it comes down to us drivers to deliver the win, and that means being fitter than my competitors.

I was given an opportunity by Petronas to train with one of the fittest driver in Formula One, Michael Schuamacher. The things he’s capable of doing in the gym is just amazing, but it’s also just another display of passion. Michael absolutely loves racing, there’s no doubt about that, from cars to bikes, he’s raced them all. He is a seven-time world champion and has nothing to prove; yet he’s out there on track racing against younger, fitter, and sometimes hungrier opponents, and though a win has so far eluded him this year and last, he does it anyway.  That’s passion, and that for me is heroic.

But it’s not always a bed of roses for those who follow their passion, Felipe Massa was involved in a terrible incident involving his eye, Maria de Villota lost vision in her eye after a crash, Marco Simoncelli paid the ultimate price, but all of them are hardcore racers who adore the sport. And all of them have been doing it ever since they knew how to walk.

The same goes for anyone, it doesn’t matter what you are passionate about, but give it your all and one day you will be where you want to be. It wasn’t an easy ride for me to get here, and I still am not where I want to be as yet, and even when I do get there, I know it will take even more work to stand out from the rest and I am prepared to dish out whatever is needed to be the best. Passion is not an easy thing, but there’s nothing more satisfying than reaching your goals because you followed your heart.

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