This life lesson relates to my previous blog #37 Go More Than 200 km/h on Land.
Driving the Lamborghini was exhilarating! I pushed myself to go faster, and faster, each lap. Luckily, I had Trevor giving me pointers, but his job was twofold: He was there to teach me how to drive the track like a pro, but he was also there to make sure that I didn’t total their $300,000 car.
I knew that they were used to seeing thousands of tourists come through each year, and that I was just another tourist. Spinning out and ending up off the track must be commonplace in their industry. I was confident in my driving abilities and knew I would be able to push it, but there was no way that I could communicate that to Trevor. He didn’t know me from a bar of soap. A simple, “Trust me bro, I got this,” wasn’t going to cut it.
I decided it was best to slowly push it further, for his sake and for mine. Topping out at 209 km/h on the fourth lap was amazing, and I am glad that Trevor let me go that fast.
I have been going on guided tours and adventures for many years and it has taught me that guides are conservative. This is understandable, they have to be in order to ensure the safety of everyone in their group. In true fashion of the 80:20 rule, their conservatism separates the group. Generally, 80% of the group will feel like they’re within their abilities or being slightly pushed. While the other 20% will feel like their abilities are not being challenged.
The best example of the 80:20 rule in relation to guides comes from my best mate, Jesse. A few winters ago, Jesse and his girlfriend, Emma, went down to the South Island of New Zealand to do a heli-skiing adventure. When asked about their abilities, they both ticked the “good” box. They were being modest as Jesse grew up ski racing around the world and Emma has also travelled the world and worked at a few different ski fields. It is clear that they were the 20%
When the guides assessed the group on the day, they put Jesse and Emma in with a large group of amateur skiers on holiday from China. These tourists were part of the 80%. Some of them had only been skiing on five previous occasions. As a result, the guide had to limit the terrain to areas where all people in the group would feel safe.
This meant that Jesse and Emma were forced to ski lines that were not much more difficult than what they could have accessed at their local mountain. They got skunked. They paid a lot of money to ski untouched terrain and ended up having to settle for a few intermediate/advanced runs.
When Jesse and Emma returned, they shared their learnings with us. They said that when they go back, they will make a point of telling the guides that they are the best in NZ. That they regularly do back flips off 20 metre cliffs. That they have won gold medals at the Olympics. And that they want to ride the gnarliest terrain that the guides can find. These will be absolute lies, but couple that with the conservative nature of the guides and they will probably end up skiing the terrain that they desire.
When going on your next guided tour, figure out whether you are the 80% or the 20% and then communicate your abilities to the guide.
When have you pushed the abilities of your guide? Let me know in the comments below.
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Dave has been on a mission, since 2010, to cross off the 100 items on his bucket list. The stories of his adventures are complimented by life lessons learned along the way and his travel tips are unique to his experiences.