4 Lessons From Lewis Hamilton's MasterClass
Since losing the Formula 1 world championship to Max Verstappen in the last lap of the last race, Lewis Hamilton has not been on social media in nearly a month. While fans might miss his usual motivational messages, there is one way they can continue to hear his heartfelt inspiration: his MasterClass.
The session is divided into 12 segments, each offering a building block into the seven-time champion's winning mindset. The two-hour lecture goes behind Hamilton's success, breaking barriers as the only Black driver in Formula 1 and the lessons he's learned along the way about failure, teamwork and motivation. Besides having the episode available to all MasterClass members, Hamilton is the first MasterClass Community Ambassador, partnering with the platform to offer 200,000 memberships to organizations in underserved communities in his home country of the United Kingdom.
"The winning mindset is the will to succeed," Hamilton said in the introduction to the MasterClass. "It's the will to want something, that yearning for something greater, that unknown of how great you can be or how good you could be at something. It's that worry of failure and that fear that you have and overcoming that fear."
Since his number is 44, here are 4 lessons from Lewis Hamilton's MasterClass:
Look For Yourself In Others
Lewis Hamilton widely credits his father for guiding him in his success. He recalls growing up watching his dad work as a mechanic and even just driving around with him, wanting to be just like him. Formula 1 champion Ayrton Senna was also a big inspiration as Hamilton would watch the documentary "Racing is in My Blood" over and over.
Someone who's outside of the car world who Hamilton calls a role model is boxing legend Muhammad Ali. As a Black kid in karting, Hamilton knew he stood out, but seeing the heavyweight champ helped him know he could achieve greatness.
"He showed me that it's possible for someone like me to be able to succeed at something," Hamilton said, citing the champ's boisterous personality as laying the groundwork for his own voice of motivation and affirmation.
After more than a decade in the spotlight establishing himself as an inspirational figure, Hamilton said that even he needs to be inspired as well.
"For me, I try to surround myself and follow people that I can extract inspiration from," he said. "Because we all need inspiration, right? No one's perfect. You don't have to be perfect, but this beautiful thing we call life is an amazing journey and there are so many people out there doing great things."
Failure is Essential
After winning seven world titles, it would be easy to assume that Lewis Hamilton is a stranger to failure. But quite the opposite is true. In his MasterClass, the Mercedes driver recalls several times in his career — from his first race as a kid onward — where he hit a wall (literally and figuratively) and got frustrated with himself.
One specific night, he sat with his father and went through a series of questions, wondering if racing was worth it. A young Hamilton went to his room and didn't come down for dinner. He woke up the next morning and ran without setting a distance. He ended up running 13 miles, knowing that he had the grit to keep going.
"I have a very close relationship with failure and the reason for it is I've failed more times than I can remember, but those lessons that I've learned through those failures have ultimately ended up with me having success," he said. "It's character building, it's where I hone in on my strengths or where I build strength. It's those difficult times where you think am I not good enough? Should I stop? Now, I've made sometimes the same mistake multiple times, but that's ok because eventually, through trial and error, I don't make those mistakes anymore.
"Failure, in my opinion, failure is one hundred percent necessary for greatness."
Exercise Self Discipline
Being a Formula 1 driver requires an extremely disciplined lifestyle, but Lewis Hamilton offers advice on how to commit to goals daily.
"Discipline is staying on course," he said. "... It's setting yourself goals and targets and not being weak and giving up on it."
He suggests giving yourself little rewards for staying on course, which helps to motivate you. Don't give yourself a reward if you don't reach the goal!
The Brit also explains the importance of conquering your temptations. He said he learned love for sweets from his father, but because of the importance of nutrition and physical fitness, he hasn't allowed himself to indulge as his father does. He carries around a bag of candy to purposely tell himself no and even his journey to being vegan has taught him about self discipline.
"It's not about being perfect, it's about being on the journey and learning from the lessons," he said. "It's about the impact that you're going to have and the direction which you're going."
Embrace All of You
Upon entering Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton was keenly aware of the expectations placed upon him as a racecar driver. He knows the personal sacrifices he made to fit in, but soon found that embracing his true self is what gave him his winning mindset. He is now proud of his tattoos and interest in fashion as he's built relationships with designers Tommy Hilfiger and Jerry Lorenzo and is a frequent guest at the Met Gala.
"I love fashion, so I went to fashion shows when I had time and people were like, 'There's no way he's focused if he's at these fashion shows,'" he recalled in his MasterClass. "And I'd turn up and I'd do better than ever."
Hamilton said he's found so much success because he's found balance. He acknowledges that he had to grind when he was young and getting started, but wishes he learned earlier in life the importance of not committing all his time and energy to racing and instead, knew how to blow off steam. Hamilton understands what he temporarily suffered to get in the door of Formula 1, but now says he has personal responsibility to allow people to be themselves from the beginning.
Is getting distracted possible? Yes. But the key is to know your own balance and how much attention to give to each interest. Know the difference between distractions and balance. No one can tell you what's right or wrong and you can't compare yourself to what others are doing. Each person has to embrace their own passions and journey.
"When you realize that your differences are what make you unique and great and amazing," Hamilton said, "then you can start to accept yourself."
Watch the full course of Lewis Hamilton's MasterClass here.