Working At Peak Torque

Ford_427_SOHC

Are you bored at work? Not feeling challenged? Feeling in a rut? That is like an engine going 10 mph in overdrive–it has no power because it’s in the wrong gear. Maybe you’re in the wrong gear as far as your life goes. Not feeling challenged? Or feeling over-worked? It may be you aren’t working at your PEAK TORQUE!

Peak torque is the sweet spot for a high-performance engine, the RPM level at which the engine produces the most power. Racers build their engines so that they remain at peak torque as much as possible on the track. For a road racing event such as Grand Am, cars are built to run on tracks like Laguna Seca with a minimal amount of shifting while remaining at peak torque. This is usually in 3rd or 4th gear for a typical 5-speed racecar, where the driver will downshift to 3rd around tight corners and back up to 4th quickly, then occasionally hit 5th on a straightway.

If a racecar is not being driven at peak torque, it has no chance of winning a race–in fact, it won’t even pass the qualifying round. Torque is not the same thing as horsepower, which most enthusiasts incorrectly focus on. Torque is more important than horsepower in a racecar–horsepower is a result of torque. Think of horsepower as the ability to do a certain amount of work. Torque gets the object moving, and power keeps it moving.

If you are dragging each day in your work, it is most likely a torque problem (all other things being equal, such as your health, allergies, etc). Are you getting up in the morning and shifting too quickly into high gear before you’re up to speed? That may be due to your planned (or begrudged) tasks for the day. You know what you have to do for the day and you’re thinking of the entire race instead of just the current corner.

Take a pit stop and evaluate your energy level–your RPM–throughout the day. When you feel that you have high energy, that’s a sign of peak torque. You might be hitting peak torque regularly without trying just as a result of shifting up and down your energy levels (your transmission). Stop looking at the entire track for the day and instead focus on where you are right now and what you need to do to accomplish the current task to the best of your ability, giving no regard to turn 7 on the final stretch of the track. Try to hit the turn in front of you as fast as possible without spinning out or losing momentum, to hit the turn’s sweet spot so you can launch out onto the next straightaway and the next turn.

There are two types of jobs I want to address here with regard to peak torque efficiency. First is the type of job where you are bored silly and are not being challenged. The second type of job is where you are worked hard physically but the work is not mentally draining.

Let’s consider the first type of job, where you aren’t challenged. You are going around the track in 1st gear at about 20 mph. You feel like a lumbering tow truck rather than a high-performance, highly tuned, high-maintenance racer. You can’t wait for 5:00 each day because the job bores you to tears. In this type of situation, one good course of action would be to work toward a new career, but that isn’t what I’m talking about here–okay, a new job just isn’t in the cards right now. What can you do to increase your RPM and reach peak torque? You do have the potential to go 100 mph but your job only calls for 20 mph and it’s frustrating! In either work situation, depending on your personality type, a challenging hobby or a side job may be the answer for you!

If that makes you groan, then you may be surprised by what you’re capable of in your “extra curricular” time. If you get used to 20 mph, then going faster requires some effort that you aren’t used to. This is a deception! You can easily hit 100 mph but have gotten so used to being stuck at 20, your body and mind may not believe you can go any faster. But you can! Consider a hobby that also brings in money, such as making something with your own two hands and selling your handcrafted items on ebay. Do you like to write? Consider writing, but without concern for being published; just do it for the sake of doing it, and after you’re done, then look at options, while continuing to write.

The process of writing or doing some other rewarding activity is what benefits you, not what happens to your poem, short story, novel, or memoir afterward. Doing the work of writing will give your mind something to do during the day beyond the boring job, and you will eagerly anticipate 5:00 PM not just because you’re bored at work–so you can go home and crash on the couch to watch TV–but so you can go home and fire up the computer and get back to your story! Or painting. Or screenplay. Or song.

 

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