Formula One Team Medicine: Dr. Luke Bennett [transcript]

Written by Christopher Kelly

Jan. 16, 2019

[0:00:00]

Tommy:    Hello and welcome to the Nourish Balance Thrive podcast. My name is Tommy Wood, and today I'm joined by Dr. Luke Bennett. Hi, Luke.

Luke:    Morning, Tommy, great to be here.

Tommy:    Well, we are back at the scene of the crime or Peter Attia podcast, as I like to call it. Luke very kindly let us borrow his room for that interview, and now the man himself is behind the microphone. Luke, you are the Medical and Sports Performance Director for Hintsa Performance which basically means that you're the doctor for the Formula One drivers when they're on the track and then all of the circus and the people that surround them. You have a fascinating and incredibly stressful job that I know that I couldn't do. We will get to that. However, your training background and your journey to F1 is a really interesting story that I'd love people to hear about.

Luke:    Thanks, Tommy, great to have you here in Austin for the US Grand Prix, always one of the favorite events of the year. I'm a medical doctor. I grew up in Brisbane, Australia which is the third major city after Sydney and Melbourne, grew up there, did my medical training in the first half of the '90s, after some basic junior medical rotations and some travel in Europe, ended up in the world of critical care and intensive care, so, really interesting and diverse, wonderful specialty. Lots and lots of stories from that era, I guess, but that led to --

Tommy:    Any you'd care to share with us?

Luke:    An intensive care patient or really sick intensive care patient particularly in the middle of the night is a scenario that is both testing and, professionally, about as satisfying as you can get as a doctor, to have an undifferentiated patient with three or four or five system disorders wheeled through the door, and yourself and a team of nurses and others have to really start from first principles, to start with a structure and to put aside all your internal stresses and anxieties and just stick to a process and sort that patient out, usually over the course of a number of hours, is something that you learn to love in some ways. You learn too, most of the time the outcome tends to be good.

    There are other dimensions to intensive care that's obviously a huge element of dealing with the families of very sick patients and probably some of the most stressful times in their lives. I worked at a large private hospital in Brisbane where there was a particularly active cancer oncology unit so very, very sick patients with multi-system infections. Typically I was the only doctor in the hospital overnight, on call, for 300-odd patients, and you would often need to be in two or three places at once with incredibly sick people, really interesting and challenging times.

    That grew into a job with an organization called the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. This is, again, an incredibly unique professional scenario. This is an area of medical retrieval service serving the State of Western Australia which is basically the western third of the Australian continent, a huge landmass with a population of only 2 million people so not a lot of large hospital infrastructure, and the health system relies on small medical teams flying out to remote places to resuscitate and retrieve patients.

    This was really hard for pre-hospital medicine, a large mining industry, some very far-flung, remote mine sites, some very underprivileged, indigenous aboriginal communities in that part of the world and then, seasonally, a tourist industry with increasing elderly tourists bringing along their medical problems and forgetting their medications. To give you some idea, an American comparison of the distances might be that we were based in somewhere like Minnesota or Chicago and the patient we needed to collect was in Boston or Philadelphia. The hospital they had to go to was in Atlanta.

    So we would typically have patients for up to 12 to 16 hours, door-to-door, one nurse, one doctor, one pilot and, again, an incredibly sick, intensive care-type patients, multiple trauma patients, people with cardiac disease, heart attacks, babies trying to be born on the aircraft. It was a lesson in the fact that in medicine, even in very, very complex scenarios, you can do the simple things right and get a lot of traction doing the basics, and usually the outcomes are okay.

Tommy:    So when you're working with patients like that, very different from how you do things now which requires a lot of personal touch, a lot of command management. How do those worlds compare? We'll get into the description of how things look in the Formula One world, but the sick or obtunded patient who is unconscious or unable to talk to you is very different from somebody who requires a lot of psychological support which often happens in your day job nowadays. What's that shift like?

Luke:    I think the common denominator there, Tommy, as you know as a medical doctor, is the patient. A good old-fashioned history and examination will take you a long way. In an unconscious patient, the history from the patient may be very limited but there is always a history. I think whether you're dealing with travel medicine and general practice like I tend to be nowadays, or a multi trauma patient at the scene of their accident, it's important to go in with that process to put the patient at the center of what you're doing to work out some of the real nuance of the history of what's going on, to examine them properly and then act accordingly from there.

Tommy:    The history-taking is something that really gets drilled into in British and I'm sure Australian medical schools as well because the systems and set-up are very similar. A lot of practitioners and maybe health professionals in other places, there's less of an emphasis on that or maybe it's not trained at all because the first thing you go in is with some kind of test or something. Do you have any tips in terms of how people might start to learn those skills? Because I think it's super important.

[0:05:23]

    It's one thing that I noticed when I started working with people over in the US was that the note-taking and the history-taking was much less. There was much less emphasized compared to what I was used to in hospitals in UK, and I think there's something so important about that, so if people haven't had that training or don't have those skills, do you have any thoughts about how they can start to develop them?

Luke:    You've touched on a couple of quite interesting points there. One of them is note-taking. One of the things that intensive care taught me and one of the real joys of intensive care medicine was having a small number of patients, I suppose, that every day or twice a day, you'd get to sit down and consider the history, the examination and the tests really from top to toe, in a very logical sequential order. I would really take notes in a very structured way, and I think that teaches you a cognitive discipline.

    It's important to take that approach even to the most simple general practice problem because you never know when you're going to [0:06:11] [Indiscernible] medicine. It's a cliché that more is missed by not looking than by not knowing. That applies to history as well, so it's about just taking a bit of a cognitive structure into every patient interaction that you have and never quite trusting that what you see is what you think it is, being aware of your cognitive biases and always having a system to fall back on.

Tommy:    In terms of that life, the Flying Doctor Service, how long were you in there and then what made you think it's time for a change or time to grow, other things you wanted to learn? I imagine that was a big part of moving into the field that you are now, so what instigated that change and then how did start to happen?

Luke:    In parallel with all of that time in the Royal Flying Doctor Service and also during the intensive care years, I was attending motor sport events, providing trauma and rescue track-side services more or less as a weekend hobby. I've always had a long love of motor sport. I've watched Formula One for nearly 35 years now, and an extension of this pre-hospital medicine to the track-side environment was a natural move.

    I worked in the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne for 11 years. We did the Korean Grand Prix for a couple of years when that race was on. I also did a lot of rally and dirt, off-road events which were actually much more interesting in a lot of ways. You have remote scenes with longer response times. You have to do your own extrication or even fire suppression sometimes. There are typically two patients. They're much more heavily injured than in a Formula One car.

    I was working in this environment and at some point along the way at the Australian Gran Prix, I met Dr. Aki Hintsa, the founder of our company, Hintsa Performance, and we spoke every now and again a couple of times a year for a number of years, at a time when he was eventually looking to step back from the Formula One circus. I was lucky enough to eventually take over his role, and here we are today, five seasons into a new journey on the Formula One circus.

Tommy:    Yeah, and it is a bit of a circus and, I guess, a lot more so than I expected. The first time you very kindly invited me to come to Austin last year is the first time I came, and it's an incredible experience. Maybe you can tell me a little bit about what your day job looks like. I mean, you are literally running around all day, every day because not just the drivers themselves, but all of their support team and the media and anybody else who happens to show up in the Paddock, they're essentially under your remand in terms of first response medical care, so how does that look?

Luke:    Firstly, for our US audience, Formula One may not be most familiar form of motor sport but it's a huge deal, globally, outside of the Olympics and the football, soccer world cup. It's probably, on most statistics, the third biggest television event, global audience of hundreds of millions.

Tommy:    The Super Bowl comes in there somewhere, but it's definitely in the top five.

Luke:    Yeah, multi-multi-billion-dollar sport. So we have 21 racers on most continents or in the world, and we have this -- it's sort of the world's most expensive and interesting circus, in some ways, a lot of colorful characters. There are literally only 20 seats. If you think about professional golf or tennis or football, there are a couple of hundred of competitors, typically, at the top level, but these guys -- and they're all miles at the moment, the drivers, but there are only 20 seats available. That adds a certain competitive tension not only for the drivers but for the teams around them.

    My role has a couple of dimensions to it. I'm lucky enough to be the team doctor for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team which is the current world champion team. We have, varying with the race, but between 80 and 150 people traveling just with that team to all of these events.

    The company also provides the trainers, the coaches, the physiotherapists for ten of the current 20 Formula One drivers. We also provide some medical coverage and some other affiliations for another three or four drivers, so we have some substantial contact with three-quarters of the grid and a couple of the teams.

[0:10:00]

    It's a real privilege actually. There are very few organizations that get to work across teams and, typically, information sharing is not something that a secretive technical support like F1 has allowed but, yeah, we're in a very privileged position to be working across all major competitors. That gives quite a unique insight into the way championship like this unfolds.

Tommy:    Yeah, that's one of the things that amazes me is that you and your team, essentially, have contact with and deep personal knowledge of -- because the coaches are essentially, they are 24/7 by the side of the driver, inserted into almost every aspect of their life during the season, particularly you and Pete who we also interviewed on the podcast too, who is the strength and conditioning expert and oversees the coaches in that regard and I know is your right hand man on many things.

    You have knowledge of drivers from essentially every team in a very highly competitive sport and yet are able to separate all that out. Everybody trusts you implicitly, and you guys are doing a great job, to keep everything separate despite providing really good support to each individual driver. I think that's something quite unique, and I'd be very interested to hear how you managed to do that.

Luke:    I think that comes back to our founder, Dr. Aki Hintsa. Aki unfortunately passed away a couple of years ago, well before his time, in his late 50s, but Aki was a Finnish trauma surgeon. His insights into human well-being really began with some missionary work that he did in Ethiopia in the 1990s, and he met Haile Gebrselassie who is one of the greatest Olympic runners of all time, started to think about human well-being in the context of sports, Olympic sports and then eventually brought that into motor sport with Mika Häkkinen who was a Finnish world champion in 1998, '99.

    So the reason we privileged and trusted to work across these competitors is that it's a medically led model. We're very evidence-based but medically led. I think the implicit trust, rightly or wrongly, that people have in medical confidentiality and access that gives you to the really intimate details of people's lives puts you in a unique place in a sporting circus like this that we work very hard to maintain and to not reach that trust.

    It pays off in other areas. For example, I know you're interested in the world of academic research, Tommy, and the state of motor sport literature compared to, say, other sports like football or any other high profile sport is pretty limited. That has been the case because teams are so protective of their -- but we are in a position to, confidentially, see the data from across the grid in Formula One, and we're really starting to develop that and do some insights and publish some papers into unique physiological challenge that is our drivers.

Tommy:    We were talking about yesterday, Pete and yourself and collaborator, Dave Ferguson, who has literally written a book on physiology and motor sports that just came out -- we'll link to it, anybody who is interested. You submitted a paper that was -- I think you're looking at some strength metrics across various motor sports including F1.

    I think one of the comments you got from the reviewers was that only five Formula One drivers just isn't very much. It's not a very big end but then you have to consider that that's 25% of all of the Formula One drivers in the world. That's actually quite a significant thing to be able to get access to. It's just something that's quite unique that maybe people don't realize how amazing it is that you get access to that kind of data.

Luke:    That paper is really a first step, doing this in a much more formal way in years to come.

Tommy:    One of the things that -- obviously the big part of your job, aside from individual medical attention of whoever comes up, is creating relationships with the team themselves as part of a business strategy, keeping yourselves there, writing contracts, all that stuff, then also the coaches, finding coaches for the drivers.

    Another thing that I found very interesting is how varied the drivers are in terms of personality and requirements and also then how the coach matches up with that. Can you talk a little bit about how you go about finding the right coach for the right driver? How does that process work?

Luke:    Yeah, and Pete will be able to talk to you more about this, as well as my coaching director, but I think spend a lot of time on recruiting. We have a system where each coach really goes through a series of at least four interviews. This is never perfect, but we have a reasonably good idea that we know the person when we make the decision to hire them.

    We draw from typically a base of sports science graduates, so we're fortunate the UK and Scandinavia and Australia, to a lesser extent, the US, to have a good pool of really well-trained exercise physiologists or sports scientists, so we typically draw on that.

    Most of these people have a Master's qualification in some area. Increasingly, we have dual qualifications with physiotherapy, so we have people with really good diagnostic, hands-on musculoskeletal skills as well, so we aim to recruit from that population.

    As you've quite rightly highlighted, I have this permanent puzzle in my head of -- in motor sport, there is a degree of turnover from year to year, in drivers and in teams. We have new drivers coming in and others retiring. We work in Formula One but also F2 and F3. I think this year actually, for the first time, it's not quite done yet but we're likely to win Formula One, Formula Two and Formula Three Championships for the first time. It's a nice little statistic.

[0:15:12]

    We are always thinking about, first and foremost, matching the personality of the driver with the coach. As you said, these guys and girls spend most of the year together for not just track side, for 20 or 30 weeks at racing and testing, but typically live in their home location together and train together. We'll get into some of the details of our system, I supposed, at some point, but a lot of what we do is management of the driver's time and management of their mental capacity, so it's a deeply personal thing.

    You have to have a good personality match, as well as you're thinking about the skills of the person involved and then simple obvious things like geographical location. Some of our coaches have families and are tied to the UK, for example, or some other place in Europe. Most of them are full-time, but some are part-time and so it's just putting a puzzle together, who goes where with the right driver and hopefully establishing relationships that last a number of years, a number of seasons.

Tommy:    So then maybe expand upon the approach or the formula or how everything that the coach does and through you and Pete, what's recommended, and obviously Helene who is your main nutritionist for most of the drivers who we all work closely with, me, from time to time, and you, obviously, more of the time; and how does that then all come together to then allow the coach to do the best possible job for the driver?

Luke:    Yeah, so we have a system which I guess will be familiar to most coaching in well-being. This is including Nourish Balance Thrive, and we're glad to have somewhat of an alliance with you guys as well which has been pretty successful over the last year or two. We work with the drivers' general health, and we do this, I must say, for corporate populations as well.

    We have a business which looks after senior CEOs and executive teams in Europe, apply a lot of the same principles, so general health, biomechanics and physiotherapy, the physical training programs, sleep and recovery is very important in a traveling circus like this, nutrition, as you mentioned, and then the mental elements and the mental energy.

    The thing that I think has really differentiated our work and which dates back to Aki's time is what we call the Core, and it's really close and deliberate examination of what makes a person tick. We're quite proud to take a journey with many of our drivers from their most junior Formula and bring them all the way through to Formula One, and we really have a key role in developing them as a human being and developing their key relationships along the way.

    If you need to get up and go training, if you need to make particular food choices, if you need to do your stretching and your gym work, that involves hundreds and thousands of small disciplined decisions across the year. You have to have the motivation and the purpose right, to have somebody equipped to do that. That's the model we work with. Our coaches are typically in day-to-day contact with the drivers, collecting data on all of these areas.

    As I mentioned, many of our coaches have a sub-specialization. They might be a physiotherapist, they might have a Master's in Nutrition so that will have their own individual strengths but where they don't, we then draw in a specialist of some sort, whether it's myself or another medical specialist, whether it's Helene or yourself in the nutrition area, et cetera. We work with Professor Steven Lockley at Harvard University on sleep, for example, so we have a team of specialists to call upon where there are particular problems to solve.

Tommy:    One thing that I've noticed mentioned, I guess, more over the last couple of years and discussed even this weekend in terms of you guys bringing people on board is the psychology and the importance of that in terms of sports performance. That's obviously something that we've talked about a lot more as well as we realize how important that is for the people that we work with.

    Can you talk a little bit about the psychology of the sport and how you guys are starting to figure out ways to improve the mental well-being of these drivers? It's a long and stressful season with a lot of ups and downs, and also just the fact that they have to be willing to go out in the pouring rain and point themselves at a brick wall at 200 miles an hour, that's a very special mental skill, I guess, for want of a better word. So how does that all come together?

Luke:    It's a question we've been considering quite a lot recently. Traditionally, motor sports hasn't used a lot of formal sports psychology and indeed it's something that we have only used fairly selectively and there's a particular problem to solve. Rightly or wrongly, our approach has typically been to try and develop some mentally resilient, psychologically resilient athletes and to be there for them during their day. It allows to prevent major psychological crises particularly on the sporting field but also off.

    A lot of this management of a driver's mental capacity is time management, so our coaches may not actually do a whole lot of sports science, a whole lot of coaching over a race weekend, for example. 80% of their job might just be to manage the driver's time and in doing so, manage the mental capacity that they have.

    There's many in professional sports but this is particularly acute in Formula One. There are just incredible demands on a driver's time. There are literally hundreds of people trying to get a piece of their attention, whether it be media, whether it be marketing commitments, whether it be fans just wanting a selfie or an autograph.

[0:20:10]

Tommy:    The celebrities they've invited to the grid.

Luke:    Actually you make a very perceptive point there because there's a real difference at a quiet race in Russia, for example, where there's very little entourage. There are barriers to getting to some races where you have to get a visa and the travel is a bit more challenging.

    Where a driver does bring friends or family or other celebrity guests along, that is a genuine distraction that has to be factored into the way they approach a race weekend. One of our world champion drivers expressed this to me quite explicitly sometime ago.

    Even when that group of friends or family or guests is being specifically managed by somebody else, it's always there at the back of your mind that you have some other commitment after this engineering meeting or after this driving session, so those subtleties really add up over a long season and a long championship.

    Coming back to sports psychology, I guess not everyone is winning a world championship every year. There are guys in the middle of the pack or young guys coming into the sport who may be facing a particularly challenging time. They may have a run of technical problems with the car which just disrupts momentum.

    Formula One is a very complex social tapestry. There's not only the drivers but a number of very high profile, high-achieving business people who own the teams and run the teams. A couple of the teams are run by major car manufacturers, so there are huge stakes in the corporate world, a lot of subtle pressures and social complexities and big personalities to manage.

    There's always a dynamic about who is going to be in your seat next year. You're always in this pressure cooker to beat your teammate. Ultimately your comparison is with your teammate, the only person who is in the same car with you, So if we come to a point where somebody has had a run of poor results then you may get into a situation where their mental behaviors in the car or their processes need some sort of specific attention and that's where we would start to think about maybe a short course on sports psychology to address particular things that they're doing in the car and the way they're addressing the weekend.

Tommy:    So then onto the business side of things, seeing you in action, seeing how much of your job involves building relationships with the teams, like I said, and you're essentially running a business as well as running the coaches, running the medical side, negotiating contracts, making sure that this side of Hintsa is profitable which is an important part.

    For people like me who I've very few business skills and is probably not something I'm going to ever have the time, to spend a lot of time doing, but there are a lot of people listening who appreciate how important it is for a practitioner or a doctor or a coach, and you also have to run a business at the same time, can you tell us how those skills came to be? Any particular tips in terms of how to approach that? Because even you're working with large sums of money with very large corporations but those skills are going to be really important just for the person looking to create a small local business.

Luke:    Yeah, so typically, clinicians have not always been the best business people, and I'm no exception to that rule. I have no formal training in business. It's something that we're really just had to learn along the way. I'm still very, very much learning. Hintsa has a small executive management team. I'm fortunate to have mentors like Chairman Juha Äkräs who was the ex-Vice President of Nokia, so we have some people in the system who have the business skills which I can fall back on if I need. Our CEO, Jussi Raisanen, has a lot of experience in the tech world.

    Really about just doing the simple things right. It's just making sure that the sums add up at the end of the day, making sure that each of our contracts covers the cost that it entails, having a buffer in there, and I think a real personal touch to that in terms of just honesty in negotiating contracts with your clients. We try to be profitable, of course, but we recognize that our association with Formula One brings other branding benefits. It's also a halo project for our coaches. It's a bit of a laboratory for us to test their ideas and our systems in the real world.

    Yes, we need to be at least marginally profitable but just having honesty in those client relationships and those client dealings, and also that extends to honesty in dealing with the coaches and the staff as well because we see our coaches hopefully grow professionally, year to year, in able to do different things, look at different roles, certainly everybody is always looking to increase their pay, year by year. It's just a constantly moving construction which you have to be across. I'm fortunate to have Pete as coaching director who is increasingly helping with this work as well.

    I think it just comes back to getting the basics right of human interactions and making sure the cash flow is there for something which has been essentially a small family business when I took over, to, now, quite a sizeable medium-sized business with employees or so on the supporting side. It just requires constant attention. We have good accounting and legal back-up as well, and I think drawing on those services when you need to is important.

Tommy:    One thing that I always struggle with is saying, "Yes," to things or giving my time to things that I can't guarantee are going to return that investment of my time and attention. There must be a number of interactions that you're having with people which sound promising and then fall through because I know how you operate. You're very kind and very caring, and you give people probably more time than they deserve many times.

[0:25:24]

    How do you balance those things? How do you make good decisions in terms of where to invest your time, where to invest the effort and the side of your personality where you're really giving your care and attention to somebody, in whatever respect? It could be a single patient interaction or it could be with the hope of developing some kind of contract or collaboration, down the line. Do you have any thoughts on the best ways to navigate that?

Luke:    When you're associated with the Formula One world, it's something that a lot of people aspire to do. A huge pool of coaches aspire to be working in this world. A lot of drivers would like to be driving in this world. A lot of businesses would like to be associated with their product or whatever else with Formula One. I think a lot of this comes down to management of email. This is always a work in progress but try to be pretty strict about how email is used, not to be a slave to your email inbox and not being afraid to decline particularly unsolicited approaches that come by email.

    It's a little bit more tricky in person. You've usually got to take the time. If you've been introduced by somebody that you know and trust, even if you have the sense that this is probably a product or a system or an association that's not really going to work for you, giving it a few minutes to hear the proposal, hear the person out. You just never know in the business world with where some of these collaborations might lead.

    So it's a balance between having a bit of a radar for what's going on but being a bit disciplined about where you give your time and not being afraid to cut short any collaboration or project if you're certain that it's not going anywhere, and just having the honesty to express that to the person that it doesn't need to be personally offensive in ending any relationship or declining a proposal but just being honest about it.

Tommy:    Is there something you've gotten better over time? Do you see yourself being better at filtering those things out, better at saying, "No," or assigning your time, compared to maybe when you first came into the world and were, I imagine, more excited, wanted to talk to more people, wanted to do more stuff, as I've often experienced myself? Is that something that you've improved on or worked on or I guess you probably had to?

Luke:    Well, it gets easier as you get more familiar with the environment. You have a much better network. You have a much better sense of where people are coming from, who the major players are and how they relate to each other. Then a lot of it is just self-defense, isn't it? You get to a point where you only have so many hours in the year. You have priorities and you, at some point, need to look after your own personal well-being. I think if you just listen to your own instincts, generally, if you're just good to people but also good to yourself and if you get that balance right then the rest takes care of itself.

Tommy:    That's a good transition to move out beyond the F1 world, and one thing that I know you are quite big on, I'm always impressed by the number of podcasts you've listened to. The amount of information you're trying to bring in, outside of maybe what's directly, right now, relevant to your work in Formula One. I'm really interested to hear about the things that you're listening to, finding interesting, what is it that you want to learn more about and then maybe how that might be applicable to your career as you go forward. Obviously the Nourish Balance Thrive podcast is top of your list every week.

Luke:    Yeah, it's a must-listen.

Tommy:    Yeah, but below that.

Luke:    I've always, in my career, been someone who has been lucky enough just to have so many incredible firsthand experiences, whether it be in the critical care world, in intensive care or the motor sport worlds, any one of those people who has been out there doing it, but also potentially a little weaker on the academic side, so I have a lot of admiration for people like yourself who have 3,000 papers on tap in your brain at any one time. I like to draw on other people's resources to perhaps be more of an academic back-up.

    It's really important that our business is evidence-based and even if I don't have a lot of time to read the academic wellbeing literature myself, knowing that we have people in our system who are, is pretty important. Podcasting is an incredibly important and efficient tool for this, so people like yourself and Chris on Nourish Balance Thrive, Peter Attia, Tim Ferriss has some interesting approaches to business and life, health and well-being.

    I think it's also important to remain engaged with the world and, look, you asked about business practice. I think as far as I have been moderately successful so far, that's just being engaged with economy, the national economy and the world around you, so I listen to a number of podcasts from the Financial Times, for example, from Sky News.

    I think just being aware of what's going on in the world around you is incredibly powerful. You don't have to be deeply into politics, but you do have to understand how politics interacts with the day-to-day world that your clients live in and also the business world. Just having one eye on global economic trends is something that I enjoy.

[0:30:02]

    For recreation, the West Wing was a great television series. The West Wing Weekly is a podcast that revived that at the moment really.

Tommy:    Elizabeth and I just watched it. She never watched it before. I think this is the third or fourth time I've watched it all the way through, and it's just incredible. Even now it's awesome.

Luke:    Yeah. I have to give a shout-out to one other favorite podcasts, Sam Harris, Waking Up. It's an incredibly diverse intellectual journey and just something a little bit different. When we do a lot of driving, a lot of time on aircraft, it's a really efficient way to feed your brain.

Tommy:    There's another important point about being engaged with the outside world. This is something that we've discussed frequently at Nourish Balance Thrive, and it's not something that we all agree on actually in terms of how much of the news and politics and things are worth engaging. It's something that I still do. I think it's very important to know what's going on in the world, and we are in a world where it's increasingly difficult to figure out what is actually the truth that you're getting, as much as that's possible, but even in a setting, following the news, local politics that affect you and your family and your business, I think, is very important. It's something that I make sure I find time to do.

    If you hear some of the discussions about why that's maybe not worth doing, because it's easily manipulated and manipulative, and people like Shane Parrish has written about in the Farnam Street blog which is great in terms of teaching how to think and creating mental, models and how to approach stuff. He has written about why you should stop reading the news, but I just can't bring myself to do it quite yet.

Luke:    I think you have to be careful to limit it. You can get deeply engaged with one source of news, for example, and can easily become tribal, and it can actually add a lot of stress and anxiety if you get invested in that. It's not an original idea but deliberately choosing a couple of different news sources from different sides of the political spectrum is really important because you realize that almost all news sources do have an agenda of some sort, keeping some ideas from both sides of the isle is, again, it's just part of a healthy engagement with the world, with the business world or health world or with anything else.

Tommy:    Yeah, absolutely. A kind of branch out from the traditional health world, a little birdie told me that you enjoy bird watching. This is a whole side of your personality that I didn't know anything about. This is a whole side of your personality that I didn't know anything about, so maybe you could tell us a bit about that.

Luke:    Yeah, I get teased a little bit for being involved in ornithology sometimes.

Tommy:    When I was a kid actually I wanted to be an ornithologist. That was the first, no fireman, astronaut, nothing like that. The fact that I knew what an ornithologist was when I was ten years old probably tells you a little bit about me. That was what I wanted to be when I was a kid, so you're not going to get any fun-making from me.

Luke:    Actually it's interesting. As I get through my mid-40s, you start returning to a deep sentimental attachment to the things that you did as a child. We did a little bit of bird watching as part of family camping and travel as a child. It's something I came back to when I lived in the northwest of Australia with the Flying Doctors. There's a lot of unique ornithology in that part of the world. Look, I just find it's a really interesting niche that opens up all dimensions of ecology and environment and the way habitats and ecosystems work.

    As anything else, it gives you something to do everywhere you go. You'll never get to see all of the world's birds, and it just gives you something to look out for wherever you travel. It takes you sitting out in a desert in Australia, offshore on a boat looking at seabirds that couldn't be further removed from this crazy world of Formula One and business that we're immersed in, and it's actually a good meditation in some ways.

Tommy:    That's what I was going to say. You're outdoors most of the time. It's probably quite meditative and requires -- Chris and I were talking about in our recent podcast, there's obviously lots of ways to meditate and mindfulness but anything that brings you into the present moment is probably going to do a fabulous job of that so you're not worried about the past or thinking about the future. That's sort of bringing your focus into the right now is obviously going to be a big part of doing --

Luke:    Not only focus but we're increasingly very aware that there are even some signs of around this about how important it is, how evolved we are physiologically to be in the outdoor world, to be exposed to light and to oxygen and to the natural environment, whatever it is about nature that has this hugely healthful impact. It's nice to have parts of your life that give you an excuse to be outside.

Tommy:    I think that's a really good place to wrap up because it comes back to one of the things that we recommend to everybody all of the time, and maybe bird watching as another tool to add into the toolbox is not something you have right now, but that's a nice trick for people to have a good excuse to go outside. This has been fantastic. I would love for you to tell people about where they can find you, any information about you and Formula One and the work that Hintsa does.

Luke:    I'm not especially active on Twitter myself.

Tommy:    Which is probably good for you.

Luke:    You won't find me there, but @hintsaperform.com is the company's Twitter handle. We're on Facebook as well and hintsa.com is the website, come to a Formula One race, look out for us. The Formula One paddock is not so democratically accessible as it is in NASCAR or some other American motor sport. I think that's changing. We have some new owners in the sport. It's a wonderfully interesting human tapestry, have a look at a race, read a bit about the drivers and the teams and I think you'll be hooked. It's much more interesting than cars going round the track.

[0:35:02]

Tommy:    I did actually hear from somebody who I think is heavily involved in NASCAR and also in Formula One who has sat in Mercedes Hospitality earlier in the week. He was talking about apparently the coverage on ESPN now is so much better than it ever has been, so people who are unfamiliar with the sport, more and more people are coming into it. Apparently, the viewership of Formula One in the US has tripled in the last year even, so it's becoming a much better thing. It's going to be a lot easier for people to become interested in it.

Luke:    The sport has new American owner, Liberty Media. We're in a new era now and we're going to be probably coming to the US for a lot more races. I think we'll be here for at least three races in the near future. The media landscape, the online presence for Formula One is changing fast, so get out there and enjoy it.

Tommy:    Thank you, Luke, for your time.

Luke:    Thanks, Tommy. Good stuff.

[0:35:44]    End of Audio

blog comments powered by Disqus

Register for instant access to your FREE 15-page book, What We Eat


© 2019 nourishbalancethrive