The 35th annual Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix concluded yesterday. The event’s mission is to produce a world-class vintage racing event in order to raise funds to help provide residential care, treatment and support for developmentally disabled individuals in the Pittsburgh region.
I have first attended the event in 1988 shortly after moving to Pittsburgh and have volunteered for it several times. While I do not race cars, I have occasionally enjoyed days driving at the track. Understanding the physical dynamics of racing, will not just make us safer drivers on regular roads but also teach us to better handle tense moments in other aspects of our lives.
Entering a turn too fast can send your car in oversteer. The tail end of the car spins out as tires lose grip. You don’t have to race in order to experience this. It may have happened to you while driving on an icy road.
Spinouts are not limited to roads and tracks. They are part of everyday life. In our permanent quest to fulfill our biological, emotional and logical needs we will invariably face adversity. To learn more about setting personal goals in these key areas, you may revisit “Setting your goals – a practical framework” post: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6285244145703407616
Single-mindedly pursuing our own agendas at full speed, without empathizing with the needs of those we care about, may drive them away and send our personal lives into a tailspin. Looking to make a quick buck by investing our money too aggressively can result in large losses when markets turn against us. These large losses may jeopardize the chances of achieving our longer term financial goals and legacy projects.
While the best course of action is prevention (not driving too fast), sometimes adversities occur. When they do, the most common knee jerk reaction is to panic and over-correct. Don’t do it!
· If we hit the brakes as the tail end of the car starts sliding, the wheels will lock, tires will lose grip and the car will go in a full spinout - we may die.
· If we supplicate to others and ultimately blame them for not conforming to our agendas, we will drive them away and never learn how to actually go about fulfilling our emotional needs.
· If we sell out of our long-term investments when markets go down, we may turn temporary paper losses into permanent losses – our long term security and legacy may be jeopardized.
Do this instead
· Look up the road to where you want the car to go. Slightly turn the steering wheel into the slide, wait for the car to straighten and keep on driving.
· Keep our long-term emotional needs in mind. Seek to understand the emotional needs and motivations of others we care about. Give a little and we may be pleasantly surprised.
· Keep our long-term financial and legacy goals in mind. Opportunistically make investment adjustments, but put short-term setbacks in perspective and be patient.
The organizers of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix did not over react in front of their first year’s logistical challenges of setting a temporary track in the middle of one of the city’s most popular public parks. They followed their mission and made the necessary adjustments. Last year, the organization donated over $4 million to two deserving charities: the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School.
When faced with adversity, follow these steps: do not panic, figure out what is causing it, keep your eyes on your goals and make calibrated adjustments.
Upwards and onwards,
Andrei Voicu, CFP®