Founder Diary

September 6, 2022

Roller coaster mindset

Roller coaster mindset

Don’t see the work’s end? Build excitement — you’re climbing a roller coaster.

A hamster riding a rollercoaster in its office chair. The rollercoaster in the clouds.
A hamster riding a rollercoaster in its office chair. The rollercoaster in the clouds.
A hamster riding a rollercoaster in its office chair. The rollercoaster in the clouds.
Nikita Kazhin's headshot

Nikita Kazhin

Co-founder at Brick

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Roller coasters are boring …said no one ever.

You know how they work, but have you ever really thought about it?

You start somewhere close to the ground, then, slowly, you climb up until you reach the peak and then you finally speed downhill and get the adrenaline rush you came for. Rinse and repeat.

It’s not at all unusual for the climbs to be dull and unexciting. You didn’t come for the climb, but they’re an accepted, inherent part of the experience. There’s no plunge unless you get to the peak first, right?

If you want to get to the fun part, you have to put up with a climb.

Now, when it comes to work, is it much different from a roller coaster?

Sure, on a roller coaster, you’ve seen the slope, you know it’s there. There’s no way you’ll miss it, even if you wanted to. Positive reinforcement reigns supreme. You wait out the climb, you get a reward. It’s always there — 100% of the time.

But at work, you don’t see the coveted culmination. It might be far off, it might be closer than you expect, or it might turn out to be the start of yet another, longer and steeper climb. So what? If your name isn’t Sisyphus, the peak is there somewhere.

Not seeing what the road will look like can be an advantage, too. All the more reason for anticipation! Where’s the fun in knowing how it’ll unfold? Does a game get any better when all the cards are revealed from the get-go?

Essentially, both work and roller coasters feature ups and downs, and the uphill parts do feel slow and sometimes excruciating.

Other than one not being a roller coaster, the only major difference is the mindset.

When you climb a roller coaster, you’re building excitement, getting pumped up for the big dive. No hard feelings, just the anticipation — everyone’s eager to take the plunge!

At work though? Argh, another week/month/quarter of drudgery to get a short-lived dopamine hit: launch a product, start that campaign, sign up the sought-after client, get paid. Rinse and repeat? Meh.

A big reason is uncertainty. We shun it and try to escape from it as best we can.

But what if we embraced the roller coaster mindset instead?

Still far from the project’s end? No worries. You’re just building excitement!

The ascent is taking longer than you thought? The slide must be so worth it.

The going gets tough? Steep climbs must end with steep slides. The higher, the merrier!

So if you’re not there yet, you’re simply climbing. It doesn’t always happen fast. If you keep at it, you’ll reach the peak eventually. It won’t necessarily be exactly (or nearly) like you expected, but it’s out there waiting.

Use your imagination. Picture the slide and build excitement! The thrill will come.

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