A few years ago, my family and I went to a famous American theme park. I won’t disclose the theme park as it is a place I would never visit again. Additionally, the exact details of the theme park are unimportant for this story.
We stood in line for 45 minutes, which is very normal when attending a theme park. It always amazes me how long one is willing to stand in line for a 90-second thrill ride.
In my twenties, I loved thrill rides. I loved to get thrown around and the loop de loops. A few years after my wife and I got married, we went to a theme park, and it was sparsely populated. I love going to a theme park that is void of people.
The longest we had to wait in line for any ride was 5 – 10 minutes. It was great. There were around 13 thrill rides at this theme park, and we had a blast.
Angel, my wife, squealed with laughter as our bodies were flung up and down against the roller coaster restraints. I had a grin from ear to ear as I went from zero to a couple of Gs of force in seconds.
That was until we got to the Hypersonic XLC. (Dun Dun Duuuuuun!)
The Hypersonic XLC was the first compressed air launch coaster in the world. Acceleration of the rollercoaster car went from 0 to 80 mph in a lightning fast 1.8 seconds. The car when straight up a 165-foot hill and then fully plummeted down 90 degrees to the earth.
The whole ride lasted 16 seconds.
Angel and I stood in line for the Hypersonic XLC for 45 minutes. Finally, the roller coaster restraints locked into place, and we were securely fastened into the death machine.
Countdown occurred, and we launched. I could not believe how fast we were going.
- I was dumbfounded …
- I was speechless …
- I was scared out of my mind …
- I was going so fast, words could not leave my mouth …
- The only thing I could think was …
GET ME OFF OF THIS ROLLER COASTER RIGHT NOW!!!!!!
It was the absolute scariest moment of my life. The whole time I had been watching the launching of the roller coaster, I thought this roller coaster seems too short. It starts, and then it ends.
Begin … End. If you blink, you’ll miss the whole thing.
Now that I was living through the hell of going lightning fast, I felt like one second was an eternity.
Trust me one second on that contraption was one second too many.
I never wanted to live through such a harrowing experience again.
I’m glad I rode the Hypersonic XLC. However, it killed any love I would ever have again for thrill rides.
Getting back to the unnamed famous American theme park and the soon to be forgotten thrill ride, I had to be the “Brave” dad and ride the thrill ride with my two daughters Norah and Claire.
We all sat “eagerly” on the roller coaster track and went on our merry way.
As you can see from the picture,
- One girl is having the time of her life.
- One girl is scared out of her mind.
- The guy in blue looks like he just fell asleep.
Three passengers on the same ride at the same time. Each one has a different reaction.
And so it is with most things in life. We are the directors of our reaction to the things that occur in our lives.
- We can choose to be excited.
- We can choose to be scared.
- We could choose to sleep through everything.
To give this story a bit more context, let me tell you the back story of the three people involved in the roller coaster story.
Claire, the one who actually enjoyed the roller coaster ride, loves adventure. The whole time we were standing in line, she was jumping out of her skin ready for this new adventure.
Norah, the one scared out of her mind during the roller coaster ride was a bit timid at that time. She tended to be fearful about trying new things. While we were standing in line, she looked around nervously full of anxiety.
And finally, there I was, the guy who fell asleep on the roller coaster. (Seriously, how could anyone fall asleep on a roller coaster?) You already know my backstory from the Hypersonic XLC. I no longer enjoy the queasy feeling that a roller coaster thrusts on me.
It is hard to change our preconceived notions when we enter an activity. Those preconceived thoughts have a powerful anchoring effect on us. The way we think about things tends to direct the outcome.
Is there any wonder why we have such a challenge changing undesirable aspects of our lives.
If our previous thinking controls something as simple as a roller coaster ride, is there any wonder most people have a challenge when it comes to areas of our life that truly hold gravity on our future.
As the wise King Solomon so masterfully proclaimed:
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
The key to changing our direction is to change our thinking.
Here’s how I could have approached the roller coaster ride differently.
This moment right now is probably the only time I’m going to have to ride this roller coaster ride with my daughters. I’m going to make the most of this situation. I’m going to have fun. One day we will all sit back and laugh about this experience.
So that’s what I’m taking from this story.
I will tell you now, that every time I look at this picture, I explode with a big belly laugh. The facial expressions of each one of us in the picture are priceless.
I must say I’m most proud of my daughter Norah. She went on the ride and bit the bullet with fear in her teeth. She taught me through her actions that her fear would not prevent her from launching onto her roller coaster ride.
My question for you is this:
As you ride through this roller coaster we call life, how will you approach your journey?
Will you delight in the excitement?
Will you face your fears and dig in when it matters most?
Will you fall asleep at the wheel?