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Managing fear

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Everyone has some kind of fear. In my case, it has been the danger of circuit runs at Fuji Speedway. Especially after my accident going off course and hitting a wall, it got worse. Fuji Speedway is a place where you can go as fast as 250 km/h even with a speed limiter. On top of that, there are other cars going at different speeds around you. No wonder getting into the circuit instinctively made me feel scared. To overcome fear, practice is the solution. However, in my case, practice led me to a failure, and that caused me to avoid going back to the circuit. Something needed to be done.

I happened to find out about a unique program at Fuji Speedway and attended last week. It was held by a company called Dig Spice, which makes and sells GPS devices together with analytical software. The device can track the precise location of a car and the forward, backward, and sideways acceleration. The unique program consisted of driving with the GPS device, a lecture using the recorded data displayed on a PC, driving again, and analyzing your driving patterns again at the end. Six members attended the program; of course, everyone was a car enthusiast.

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The lecture based on actual data was not only very efficient, but also convincing. On the first run, with my fear still there, having other members was encouraging. So, I managed to start driving as carefully and gently as I could. The lecture before the second run was very educational. Everyone's actual driving patterns on the PC along with the lecturers' advice taught us how to turn each corner. On the second run, the geographical image remaining in my head was quite helpful too.

I also found there were a lot of similarities between the driving on ice experience in Finland and high-speed driving at Fuji Speedway. I was exhausted when I got home because of the concentration I needed, but surely, my fear was mostly gone. On the following day, I decided to go to a different circuit at Sodegaura and drove again to confirm what I had learned on the previous day. My fear was not stopping me anymore.

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Through this experience, I learned that the cause of my fear was "experiencing the condition of not knowing what I was doing." A new experience often causes you "to experience the condition of not knowing what you're doing," so you tend to sense fear. Preparation and data analysis made me understand what I was doing, thus the sense of fear decreased. In other words, "if you could understand what you are doing, you will be able to manage the fear." New experiences are generally very educational.

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