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Is it the Wand or the Wizard? Lessons from a $350,000 Supercar

06/09/2015 05:36 pm ET | Updated Jun 08, 2016

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Last month McLaren Automotive reached out to me and asked if I'd like to experience driving the 650s Spider. Without hesitation I said yes and decided to make it a little social experiment.

I was curious to know: Would driving a supercar as my day-to-day change me? Would I receive negative or preferential treatment from others? Maybe no one would even notice me? Not a chance.

It is an age-old question: "Is it the wand or the wizard" or in other words, "Do the clothes make the man?" Psychology studies and my own personal road test say the short answer is yes.

Allow me to elaborate...
I found it nearly impossible to hold a back a smile every time I got behind the wheel. The McLaren is a ridiculously fun car to drive and it's a beast. In fact, the worst part of the entire experience was having to drive the speed limit--most of the time. This car is comfortable driving over 100 mph without breaking a sweat. It even has a "launch" button...

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You sit down low like you're in a fighter jet. The dashboard is simple and the steering wheel uncluttered. The 650s has go-cart handling but lurches forward in each gear like a panther ready to pounce. To say it's a confidence builder is an understatement. Did this car change me? Yes, but in an unexpected way.

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I confess that I felt like a celebrity driving it. Kids clamored and took pics from every direction. In a single day I counted 23 grown men who either gave me an enthusiastic thumbs up or cheered as I passed. There were dozens of cars that tried (and failed) to accelerate past me on the road seriously or for fun. Women were more talkative around me and I got a lot of double-takes and friendly smiles from strangers. I met neighbors on my block for the first time who came out of their houses to introduce themselves and find out the story behind this amazing car.

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People were noticeably nicer to me. From gas station attendants, to the Taco Bell drive thru window. I found a bit of magic in the McLaren but didn't understand it at first. I guess it's true that Harry Potter has the answer to most of life's questions. Mr. Ollivander reminded me, "The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter. It's not always clear why."

Then light bulb moment. The car gave me renewed confidence. I knew I only had it for a limited time but felt grateful for the opportunity. No joke, temporary or not, it put a spring in my step that hadn't been there for a while. That confidence meant I was in a good mood and more positive than usual. When I was more positive it seemed to spread to those around me and good things happened. Driving the McLaren helped me rediscover the self-confidence and positive attitude that was inside me all along but may have faded with fatigue or adversity over time. It helped me get my mojo back.

My takeway Do's & Don'ts:

Don't confuse attention with entitlement.

Driving a supercar like the McLaren requires self-control and humility. I can understand how fame corrupts certain people who begin to believe their own hype. After just a week of my new upgraded status I could feel the vanity trying to creep in.

That said, I did enjoy the subversiveness of rolling the Spider--641 horsepower, 0-60 in 2.9 seconds, top speed 204 mph--up to my local Trader Joe's and loading a couple bags of groceries in the cute little front trunk. The bright yellow color with butterfly doors and retractable hardtop that looks like something out of the next Transformer's movie didn't make me any less conspicuous. But don't let all of that attention turn you into a douche.

While you may not have the money for a $350,000 supercar boost, do figure out what would help you get your mojo back and invest in it. It could be something like learning to play guitar or studying a new language. Maybe it's updating your old wardrobe or doing something out of your comfort zone like Salsa dance lessons. Try something adventurous and emotionally risky. Don't forget who you are and what you're worth. Don't let others or that voice in your head get you down or tell you that you can't do it.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Tweet me @BryanElliott or check out my Instagram feed for more pics.