If You’re Not Driving, You’re Just Along For the Ride

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

The weekend is over, and it’s back to the grind. I hope you did at least a few things for yourself this weekend, in the midst of all those other things you have to do. It’s funny how the boss thinks we all go home on Friday evening and just sit around and rest all weekend. That doesn’t happen very often, and usually when it does, it’s because we’re too sick to do anything else.

I spent my weekend trying to regroup from a setback that threatens to undermine a lot of what I’ve worked to accomplish, and to refocus my mind on the next steps moving forward. It happens to us all, and it can make you feel the weight of the world come crashing down. We can let these moments define us, or we can use them to redefine ourselves. This is where we find out what we’re made of.

Things rarely go just right. Life is a series of ups and downs and, like the world’s most thrilling rollercoaster, some of those ups and downs are a lot bigger than others. But without those scary drops, we’d never have the momentum to make it up the next climb. And, as any coaster enthusiast knows, when the track flattens out, it means the ride is just about over.

I’m not sure I every want my track to flatten out. Sure, I could do without some of the death-defying twists and turns along the way, but without them life would be pretty boring. The thrill comes from facing those terrifying situations and standing tall on the other end. Without any of those steep drops and twisting inversions, the line for a rollercoaster would be pretty short.

The reason we enjoy things like that so much is because, no matter how scary the ride appears, we know deep down it’s not nearly as dangerous as it looks. We may get bumped around a little, and we may get dizzy at times. We may even wish we’d skipped the churro dog and dumpster fries we ate right before we got in line. But there’s little doubt we’ll make it safely to the end.

It’s that way with almost everything we face in life. With very few exceptions, there’s nothing we’ll ever face that doesn’t present at least the possibility of a positive outcome. And, more often than not, the odds of a successful outcome are much greater than we think. It’s all in how we approach those situations. We can take control, or simply go along for the ride.

And if you already know where the ride is headed, the option of just sitting quietly in the passenger seat becomes a simple question of whether the destination is someplace you want to go. On a rollercoaster, you’re at the mercy of the ride’s designers. You go where the track leads, every single time. Once you’re strapped in, there’s no turning back.

But in most of the things we face in life, we don’t have to just sit there and go along for the ride. At any moment, we can slide into the driver’s seat, take the wheel, and either correct an errant path or choose an entirely different destination. The choice is ours to make. And sometimes, it’s only when our primary choice goes away that we can clearly see all the other options we’ve been missing.

It can feel scary. It can feel dangerous. But some of life’s greatest achievements come from moments of desperation, when we have to either stand up and fight or lay down and quit. And in those moments, the kiddie cars may seem a lot safer than hopping back on a rollercoaster. But in the end, it’s just a much slower and less exciting way to end up right back where you started.

Just this weekend, I read a quote in “The Magic of Thinking Big” that fits this situation perfectly … “I’d rather burn out than rust out.”  I read those words several times, and their meaning set in deeper every time. I’ve seen where the “safe” road lead. There’s very little risk, but there’s also very little excitement. We can stare at a mountain all day, or we can climb up and see what’s on the other side.

Life is an amusement park. It’s got everything from park benches in the shade to the most death-defying rides known to man. Some people ride, and others watch from the sidelines. And others just sit on that park bench and as they eat the world’s most expensive ice cream and watch life completely pass them by. At the end of the day, they’ll all end up right back where they started.

You’ll face challenges. There’s no doubt about that. And some of those challenges will scare the daylights out of you. The question is, do you close your eyes and hold on for dear life, or do you throw your hands in the air and yell “rock and roll” the whole way down?

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved