This week on Small Talk, we sat down with 25 year old Canadian Racecar driver, Nicholas Latifi, to chat Formula 1, family, and facing our fears.
Motivation and Drive;
Nicholas began his journey into the motorsport world at the age of 13 when he was first introduced to Karting, a sport most young drivers undertake around eight or nine.
With a late start and a forward-focused vision, Nicholas had determination and drive to make up for lost time in order to achieve his dreams of one day racing in Formula 1.
“I think that starting late definitely played a big role in my motivation. Racing is a sport, as mentioned, in which people start very young, and each racer already had a few years on me.”
Karting, unlike baseball and basketball, is a sport where the athletes don’t have the luxury of practicing off of the track in their own time.
“Throughout the years, I definitely felt like I had to work extra hard to make up for lost time and bridge that gap on experience level. Racing really is a sport where those early years play a huge role in shaping who the driver ultimately becomes.”
It is more likely for a household to have a basketball hoop or tennis court in their backyard than to have a racetrack. Thus, Nicholas needed to dial in on his vision and make the most out of every moment spent on the track.
“It was difficult, but it encouraged me. I knew that I had high aspirations and high goals in the sport, which in turn made me work harder and become willing to sacrifice more for the sport.”
As they say, hard work pays off, and it did indeed.
Fast forward to 2020, through his relentless determination and natural talent, Nicholas has made his mark in the motorsport world, blazing an impressive trail and signing with the Williams Racing team in the Formula 1 series.
Nicholas’ role as a Formula 1 driver entails speeds of nearly 200MPH. This means that sacred time to hit the breaks is vital.
As mentioned in our interview with Daniel Humm, space needs to be made to ‘slow it down’ to return to oneself in such fast-paced professions.
For Nicholas, time to decelerate and disconnect off of the track is vital in attaining that beautiful balance.
“It is crucial. Especially it being my first year in Formula 1, I am beginning to notice the time factor in what I do outside of racing. It’s definitely something that I’ve been trying to find a balance with this year.”
With the world also doing its best to attain balance, many sporting seasons have been cut short, one of which being Formula 1.
Because of the shortened season, more races are scheduled in a compacted span of time, making personal time more condensed than ever.
“There’s been very hectic periods where we’ll have three race weekends back-to-back, which we usually don’t have. So, I’ve definitely found my energy levels at the end of race week, as opposed to junior levels, more worn out. But it’s also part of experiencing Formula 1 for the first time, and there’s a lot more that I need to get used to.”
While Nicholas attunes himself to a new and lively schedule, he notes that finding sacred time and space to disconnect with the world and reconnect with himself holds great importance in preparing for when he’ll need to accelerate on the track.
“As each race, and the weeks have gone on, just trying to be more self-aware of what my body and mind both need, have played a major role in my restoration process. It may mean that on certain days off my, girlfriend and I pop on a movie and disconnect.”
Since this is Nicholas’ first year in Formula 1, and all good things take time, finding his perfect balance is one that he acknowledges will need both patience and practice.
“To be honest, it’s something that I haven’t perfected yet, getting the recovery entirely right. As mentioned, it is my first year in the series, and I’m still learning and experimenting. Next year, through my findings, I intend to have certain practices ready to be implemented for each race week.”
Leadership and Legacy;
“I think it’s very important to set a good example.”
Nicholas Latifi is one of the few and first Canadians to race in Formula 1 history, paving the way and inspiring countless that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.
The roles we play in our own lives hold great importance when inspiring others.
With a personal fan base of nearly 200K followers on his social platform, Nicholas exemplifies leadership, and honours his role as a Canadian racer.
“First and foremost, I’ve always taken a lot of pride in representing Canada on the world stage, even before reaching Formula 1. I know that there’s a lot of racing fans looking up to me, as well as many young drivers.”
Formula-1 is a sport broadcasted to an audience of 1.9 billion viewers. With over 471 million fans, many of which being young racers looking up to their idols, Nicholas makes it his priority to represent integrity and honesty.
“I also think that when you have a platform with a big reach, it’s very important to use it wisely. This means staying true to who you are and utilizing it as a tool to motivate and uplift, rather than discourage.”
Using his influence, Nicholas Latifi inspires and encourages future generations and fans from all walks of life never to give up and remain true to who they are.
Inspiration in Action;
Nicholas has mastered the art of influential inspiration, but we wanted to know who or what has been the biggest inspiration in his own personal journey.
His answer, his father.
“That’s an easy one for me to answer. For my whole life, personally, as an individual, as well as throughout my journey career-wise, my biggest inspiration has definitely been my dad. He has a very inspirational story; coming to Canada with nothing and turning his life into all that it is today, is something that I admire and really look up to.”
Regardless of what your profession or passion may be, every individual who has made it to the top of their respective callings has gotten there through admirable virtues and ethical application.
With hard work, dedication, and commitment to craft, we find opportunities to appreciate others' struggles and trials, strengthening our own selves along the way.
“Each person who has made something of themselves will have very similar qualities, and it’s these qualities of my dad that I have always been inspired by.”
Consistency towards one's craft holds great importance when making our mark on the world and deciding who we want to be in it. Through observing his father's admirable practices and implementing them into his life, it's no surprise that Nicholas' rise to Formula 1 has become the inspiring success story that we know it as today.
“He has this determination and relentless pursuit of perfection, making sure that he is the best that he can be, not only for his family, but his business and his employees. He’s always been that voice of reason, motivating, uplifting, and encouraging me, especially on days when a race hasn’t gone so well, and I need it most.”
As mentioned in our interview with Patrick Bet-David, having role models for inspiration, motivation, and comfort are necessities when crafting our next best move.
In having a role model like his father, Nicholas Latifi can rest assured that he has the proper guidance and support needed, both on and off the track.
Strength in Stumbling;
With chaos and turmoil happening worldwide, many people may feel as if they're stumbling through these next steps in their lives.
Stumbling happens, whether we want it to or not, but to this, Nicholas says, ‘it’s what we learn from the stumble that allows us to grow.’
“There’s a saying in motorsport, and it goes, ‘there are many more lows than highs, but it’s the highs that keep you going.’ I believe this to be true.”
Given the sheer statistics of how racing works, there are, in fact, many more lows than there are highs.
The same applies to life.
But, it’s within those low moments that we pull ourselves through and become strengthened for the future and inevitable trials.
“Going through the low moments definitely makes you a stronger individual and a stronger human being. Throughout my whole career, there have been many moments where I’ve thought, ‘am I even good enough,’ but it was through those experiences that I was able to dig deep, come out on top, and get the best of the situation.”
Oftentimes, when life gets us down, when circumstances don’t go our way, and the outcomes we receive aren’t the ones we had hoped for, we tend to gravitate towards a negative mindset.
But, if we were to use each experience, negative or positive, as a learning lesson and an opportunity to improve, we may find ourselves coming out on top, better than before, and ready to face the next challenge.
“You’re definitely better for it. It doesn’t feel that way in the moment, but once you've learnt what you could, you’ll look back on the tough times and be thankful for them. I’ve had my doubts throughout my journey, but here we are, and it’s due to those moments that made me stronger and more resilient.”
Motivated in Adversity;
No matter the circumstances, it takes a strong character to choose hopefulness and motivation when faced with adversity.
In the world of motorsports, only so much is in the driver’s control; themselves and their car.
Having no control over the other racers on the track, potential mechanical issues, and unfavourable weather conditions, challenges the drivers with uncertainty and unpredictability.
“In my opinion, racing is one of the most challenging sports in the world because there is so much that is out of your control. As a driver, you have influence over your own driving and can communicate with your team, but beyond that, not much else is in your power.”
No matter what role we play, we only have control over ourselves and our reactions to the situations we are confronted with. Becoming frustrated and dissatisfied when faced with afflictions is the fastest way to exhaust ourselves and question our abilities
“You can easily worry about the things that are out of your control, but that does you no good. If you can focus on being the best that you can be in any given situation, 9 times out of 10, you’ll end up with the results you wanted.”
An important practice that we can bring into our lives is to ask ourselves the question, ‘would it help?’
Would it help to become stressed, angered, fearful, and disoriented when faced with that we cannot control?
Ten times out of ten, the answer will be, ‘No.’
“Hard work never goes unrewarded. If you work hard, you will always end up with the results that you want.”
Sometimes the simplest pieces of advice are the ones that hold the most truth and impact as we carry them throughout our lives; for Nicholas, nothing could be more true.
“Especially throughout my racing career, in the low moments, and times of difficulty, this advice has held its value.”
No Longer Pursue;
Commonly in our lives, we seek the approval of others. As mentioned in our interview with David Rock, ‘It all comes down to the question of, who are you going to live your life for?’
For Nicholas, no longer needing the validation and confirmation of others, has given him the space to live out his dreams for none other than himself.
“I wanted to do well to impress family and friends. As I matured and grew into the sport, I realized that I’m not doing this sport to make my family or friends happy. I’m doing this because this is what I’m passionate about.”
We can learn to appreciate others' support and encouragement without allowing it to become our reasons for ‘why’ we do what we do.
In doing so, we allow ourselves to move from a place of passion-filled confidence, knowing that each step taken is bringing us one step closer to our personal goals and our own ‘why’s.’
"I will always appreciate and value the endless support that my family has given me. I couldn't be more fortunate. But at the end of the day, I'm doing this for me."
We asked Nicholas Latifi what he knows 100% to be true, his answer;
“If you put in the work, you will get the results, always.”
At TrooMe, we believe that hard work never goes unrewarded. When we are doing what we love, for the right reasons, we can rest assured that we will, in time, reap the rewards that we set out to obtain.
May we follow in Nicholas' footsteps, being thankful for the struggles that made us stronger, appreciative of the ones who've been there every step of the way, and staying true to ourselves, our passions, and our purposes.