When I think about the 2019 season so far, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. Three Top 10 finishes—including second place at Phoenix—and three more races coming up this year. But I’m so hungry for a win. I’d love to drive the Marquis No. 8 Chevrolet to victory on September 28. For my team, for my sponsors, and for all the fans who make it possible. But it’s been a long road… to say the least.

Lessons in Victory and Defeat

Early in my career, wins came easy. At every turn, it seemed like the next checkered flag was just over the horizon. But the more I progressed, the tougher the wins became. The spotlight got bigger, and it got harder to keep my emotions in check. I’ve never been very good at handling defeat. I hate losing. In fact, dealing with defeat has been the toughest part of racing for me.

One of the first things my dad (Martin Truex Sr.) told me when I first started driving was: “Son, there are a lot more bad days than there are good days.” And that statement has definitely been proven true. But as I’ve gotten older—with more experience under my belt—the more I have found ways to be positive. I’ve learned the importance of taking time to reflect on my successes. Whether it’s relaxing in my hot tub, or just getting away for the weekend, it’s really important to embrace how far I’ve come and allow myself to soak it all in.

Even in the bad times, I try not to dwell on the negative. That would only hinder my positivity. Actually, the worst thing I could do is dwell on something negative for weeks, and let it affect my performance in future races. By taking time to reflect and embrace the positive side of life, it allows me to put all my energy into preparing for my next opportunity to win.

A Key to Dealing with Defeat

Of course, drivers are extremely competitive people by nature. None of us wants to lose. There is almost nothing tougher than finishing second place, only to have a camera and reporters in your face a few minutes later. And with all the negativity on social media, it’s easy to get down on myself. The key is focusing on what I can control—my reactions.

Back when I was younger I sort of had ‘tunnel vision.’ Every bad race felt like the end of the world. It was the only thing I could focus on. But with time and experience, I’ve learned to look at the bigger picture. Life is a gift, and I definitely appreciate the opportunity to race for a living. So I work hard to put the past behind me, turn my attention to the next task, and give it my all.

Focusing on the Next Win

Maybe you’re like me and find it difficult to deal with defeat. If so, keep your chin up. And never give up. Defeat is not the end of the world. It’s just a lesson that life teaches us, and eventually we learn from it. After the sting of defeat wears off, we’re better prepared for the next challenge that comes our way. And when it does, if all goes well, we win.

STAY TUNED: Keep up-to-date on Ryan’s career by following him on social media, bookmarking marquisspas.com/truex, and watching the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway on September 28, 2019.