Slow Down to Go Fast

Growing up on the farm in eastern Washington, one of my favorite summer pastimes was racing my car in the demolition derby at the county fair. My favorite part was not the actual derby itself, but the dirt track racing beforehand. Eight cars would race around the arena for eight full-contact, no-holds-barred adrenaline-filled laps.


I still remember my first race. I started in pole position but by the time I made it through the first corner I had found my way to the back of the pack. My flawed strategy was simple. Go as fast as I could into the corner and turn my wheel when I got there. However, on the wet hard packed dirt, my front tires simply plowed straight ahead even as I tugged at the steering wheel. At that moment, I felt as though I was on an ice rink, not a race track.


Eventually, I learned that the secret to going fast was to slow down. By slowing down upon entering the corner, the weight of the car transfers to the front wheels allowing them to gain traction and pull the car around the turn. While this results in a slower top speed, it is a much faster way around the track.

Life and business work in much the same way. Pedal to the metal is rarely the best strategy. Plan your passes. Prepare for the turn, then execute. Slow down to go fast.



4 thoughts on “Slow Down to Go Fast

  1. I’ve seen home movies of these races and it is quite entertaining ;) Great analogy to life and business!
    We were discussing this Latin phrase too… Festina lente: Make haste slowly.
    To do things the proper way instead of hurriedly and heedlessly; to see urgent things through in a thorough manner.

    • It kind of reminds me of the way well-trained soldiers or police officers enter a building. They enter with great force, but with a definite plan for how they will clear the building. Each corner is turned with precision and as fast as possible, but it isn’t an all out blitz/all-or-nothing approach. My old basketball coach used to say, “Be quick, be fast, don’t rush.” But that’s for another post…

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