Let’s go to the theme park first. It is not where we will end up.
Some people love the adrenaline rush of a rollercoaster ride. Others hear the word ‘rollercoaster’ and quickly contort their face, raise their fist, and screech, “Never again. I hate them.”
Me? It is a love/hate relationship.
If you have decided to go to the park with a group of others, taking this ride will involve, at minimum, a 15-minute conversation. The verbal tennis match is exhausting. You will find me removed from the conversation, arms crossed, eyes rolling to the back of my head waiting for others to catch up to my rapid-fire decision-making process.
Why am I waiting and they are vacillating? Because I knew we would be in the exact spot having the exact conversation for the hundredth time. It isn’t like we are virgins to this experience. We stood on the same curb 180 days ago. They have approached the ride three times now in our lives, stood, and looked at it as if someone had rebuilt it every time. It is the same ride, people! Their little debate begins.
As a coach, I have learned to observe, assess and retain behavioral data. God, I love my job. It makes the Kardashians look like 60-Minutes on a Sunday night.
Here are the stats. Half of them immediately decide to partake in the experience. They are the “sure-why-not bunch.” There is a split between the remaining. Those that will “risk their life” and act like there is a gun to their head, but choose to tag along The others are the “see you in the next lifetime; you will all die” category. They have already scurried off to the nearest concession stand.
Me? I have already stepped out of the ticket line four times. Finally, we are ready to go.
While waiting another 30 minutes in the ride line, I continue to gather human behavior data. Half of my pals are getting sunburned (guess they forgot sunscreen-again). Another has to go to the restroom (shock). Two of them are thirsty and hungry. And then it happens. I knew it would. Phase two debate session kicks in. Nice way to put it. It is actually the, #IcantbelieveIdidthisIhateyouneveragainyoujerk” soap opera.
Finally, I have chosen my car and silently pat myself on the back for not sharing the “oh, crap” moment I am having myself. And the ride goes something like this (which by the way was on repeat from the last time).
We rolled out of the gate and took the first turn. I knew it was coming. We climbed five feet, banked a sharp right, and headed up another five-foot incline. I knew it was coming. The first drop occurred after we entered a psychedelic laser show. I knew it was coming. The music blasted intermittently with the clanks and shifts of the cart. The first loopty loo twist of the 90-second excursion began. I knew it was coming. More roars, clanks, music, and dummies jump out. We went up dozens of feet and down dozens of feet. The breeze slammed into my face indicating we were picking up speed. In the far distance, there was a circle of light. Time to leave the tunnel. I knew all of this was coming. The excursion completed with massive peaks and valleys, twists and turns. Why did everyone in my group seem so shocked? Why did they scream the same thing at the same spot as they did last time?
“I will never do this again. I hate this. I am going to puke.” Or “That was great. Oh my God, love it. What’s next?” Didn’t they know what to expect?
Did I screech? Sure. Did I love it and hate it? Yup.
But I knew what to expect. I had been through it before. I was able to make a decision based on my previous experience. Choosing to take a risk and get out of your comfort zone is something we all struggle to do. Until it is done, we cannot analyze the data. The risk of passing or failing only happens when we take action. Then you get to assess the “data.” Would I do that again? What did I learn? How would I do it differently?
I call it The Rollercoaster of Life (RCL). And it is very similar to the ride we just took.
RCL is a concept I have been teaching for years. There are many instances where we have the information based on previous experience, yet we neglect to draw it up and utilize it in present decision-making. In the example above, I remembered the previous experience and based my decision upon it. Not so much for my peeps.
There are also many unexpected occurrences in life where it is nearly impossible to prepare ahead of time. Until we go through experiences or have watched someone else go through them, we do not know what we do not know.
There is another way to survive the Rollercoaster of Life. Game-play and strategize through a few Plan B’s and C’s.
The RCL is a concept that teaches you to utilize your healthy habits and behaviors across all areas of your life. The ups and downs, loopty loos, fall off the rails of life will happen. Getting through the ride without screaming every time is the goal.
How can we prepare for an unexpected “rollercoaster” ride? Have you lost a job, a house, a child? Have you been diagnosed with a horrible disease, broken a leg, or filed bankruptcy? How did you respond? What would you do next time?
Most of us know ourselves really well. – our habit (behavior/action) history in order to intellectually and preventively plan ahead. Can we prepare for something that has never happened to us? No. Can we prepare for how we will handle it? In many cases, yes.
Think about a rollercoaster. If you know the ride, the turns, the feelings, and the outcome, you are likely prepared for adventure. If you have never been on that exact rollercoaster, you have absolutely no idea where the climbs, dips, or turns are. You are full on anxiety and fear of the unknown. You are out of your comfort zone and have no idea what to expect.
You could compare this to breaking a bone for the first time, a failed relationship for the first time, and having to move to another town for the first time. You have no idea how the ride will go.
If you broke your leg, what is your Plan B or C? How will you exercise the rest of your body? If you lose your job, do you have any idea of other opportunities in your area? Have you ever looked for fun? Do you have backup babysitters?
Think ahead. Prepare ahead of time. Draw up all the information you already have in your personal data bank. You know you best. How do you deal with intentional and unintentional change?
Remember the rollercoaster when you face a new ride in life? Are you going to stand in line, vacillate, ignore what you have learned, repeat mistakes, and do “it” all over again? Or are you going to avoid the rollercoaster altogether because you have learned you hate it and simply head over to the Ferris wheel?
If you are hopping on a new ride in life, you will have to risk it in order to gather data. If you collect ample data, you can make educated decisions.
I am not saying you cannot be one of those who loves to experience the same ride over and over repeating actions knowing the same outcome. I support you, as long as it is healthy. If you are one that plays it safe, puts your nose in the sand praying nothing outside your comfort zone will happen, I say – wake up and hop on the RCL. Either you choose to ride it or it will choose to ride you.
Me, I think I will just get in line next time and wait for my pals to find me eating an ice cream cone after they finish their exhausting escapade.