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NASCAR driver: How to recover from mistakes at 200 mph

NASCAR driver Ryan Reed
Source: MSL group
NASCAR driver Ryan Reed

When your job requires you to make snap judgments while moving more than twice as fast as a cheetah runs, the slightest mistake can make or break you.

While your job is probably not as intense as NASCAR driver Ryan Reed's, making a mistake at work can seem just as stressful.

"One tenth of a second slower is like night and day for us. And we can feel that inside the race car," Reed tells CNBC.

"We know, 'Oh man that was probably a tenth of second slower,'" he says. "We can feel that."

The 23-year-old professional driver says that recovering from mistakes is one of the most important skills a person can have.

Reed is a part of the Lilly Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association's Drive to Stop Diabetes team.
Source: MSL group
Reed is a part of the Lilly Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association's Drive to Stop Diabetes team.

Recognize it and move on

That's a skill he has had to learn himself.

"As an athlete, as a human, you're going to make mistakes. And I had to recognize that," he says.

"When I do make a mistake, it's about breaking it down, understanding the mistake," he said. "And then as soon as I understand it and recognize what I did wrong, letting it go."

Take a deep breath

When Reed makes a mistake while going 200 mph in his racecar, he takes a deep breath and moves on.

"For me, I take about the deepest breath that I can take," he says. "I just really try to take one clearing breath and let it go in that moment."

In fact, research shows that deep breathing does in fact help the mind relax and focus.

"Let it go," says Reed, "and focus on the next next objective."