Have you ever stood in line, excitedly shifting from foot to foot, craning your neck to check the number of people ahead of you waiting to experience the thrill of a ride at the amusement park? You’re ready for that high; the fear and the promise of surprise that is waiting for you. Adrenaline pumps through your veins as you inch closer and closer and—finally!—take your seat and strap into your favorite roller coaster. But as your amygdala goes for the ride of its life through all the twists and turns, has this ever crossed your mind: Who makes these things?!

One of the masterminds behind some of the world’s most sought after amusement park rides—like Universal Orlando’s coaster The Hulk and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal Studios in Hollywood, Japan, and Orlando—is a man by the name of Donnelly Williams.

But making roller coasters wasn’t always a passion of Donnelly’s; not even in his view.  In fact, he didn’t know it was even a job to aspire to! With his first love being special effects and robotics for movies, it wasn’t until that was no longer an option and he was experiencing one of the lowest parts of his life that he stumbled into his coaster career.

So, strap in and join us for a few moments as we hear how Donnelly managed to uncover what he loves to do in life. His story will have you reminiscing on all of the weird and wacky bits of your own life that make your skillset unique—and get your adrenaline pumping to experience more!

Image: people riding a roller coaster!

Source: Pixabay

Riding the roller coaster of life!  (But literally, this time.)

“How do I know what I want to do?” That’s a question most of us have pondered as we spend years and years of our lives in classes, studying, working random jobs, and waiting for that spark of passion to hit us. You know—that spark that catches and says “Yes! This is it! This is what I will do forever!”

As most of us know, though, it doesn’t always happen like that. While there are a few who seem to be rocket-fueled and lit on fire with determination and inspiration for a certain cause since they were toddlers, most of us are on decades-long scavenger hunts. We’re trying out different things; peeking in corners, under rugs, around new towns and countries just to figure out what we want to do with our lives.

Donnelly Williams found himself on one of these scavenger hunts, looking at all of the experiences he’d gathered over his lifetime until something new came to the surface. The fantastic channel True Calling introduces us to Mr. Williams to hear how he stumbled into creating the roller coasters that bring joy to millions!

True Calling is one of my team’s new favorite channels! They have a seemingly endless supply of stories highlighting how people in all fields have discovered what they love to do. A visit to their YouTube channel will have you looking at the pieces of your life in a whole new way! 

“It’s kinda like being on a roller coaster. If you don’t get on the ride, you won’t experience the adventure.” — Mariah Carey

Our lives, in their simplest terms, are collections of experiences. Good, bad, exciting, dull—with everything that we do, we learn.

I’ve worked in the copy department of Staples, created the branding for medical supplies, made pizza, sold lotion, harnessed people into a EuroBungy on a mountain, gardened, sold jeans, hustled a restaurant host stand, and earned a degree in advertising before I started writing for Ever Widening Circles, and I can tell you that each of those jobs (this one included) have given me crucial skills for whatever I’ve done next. New parts of myself have been revealed with every one—skills, interests, likes, and dislikes—that I’ll take with me as I keep on living.

All of these bits and bobs that we collect, even if they seem entirely out of the blue, hold crucial bits of information that chip away at the sculpture that is our life.

We tell ourselves a lot of stories when it comes to what we’re capable of; putting ourselves in boxes of our own creations. On one hand, these boxes seem limiting—we see the walls as barriers to choosing any other path. But the thing I’ve learned about our imaginary box is that it can also act as a safe place to keep all of our trinkets.

By working a handful of jobs that have no apparent connection, I saw other people in a million different modes and missions: flipping through the air with glee, upset by an off-set hole punch, thrilled over a shaving of a particular mushroom or the way that an outfit made them feel. I was able to peek into worlds that would’ve otherwise been off-limits to me—medical testing, fine dining, department stores, summer resorts—and begin to decipher a clearer view of the world and my place in it.

We don’t know where our lives are going to take us or what good can come out of every situation right away. But if you’re feeling boxed in, just look at what’s scattered around you in that box. What skills have you collected and stored away? What has interested you? Soon, you’ll realize that those walls, if you push on them just a little, are actually doors to some of the most extraordinary paths; paths you couldn’t have found without having been shaped in the experiences you’ve had.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

We love, we learn, and we’re sometimes severely disappointed—that’s just the rollercoaster we’re all on. What we gather along the way, though; ah, well, that’s the thrill!

Just keep on following what makes you feel alive.  Here are just a few other passengers on the same roller coaster:

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One day, your thing will reveal itself. Until then, keep learning, keep experiencing, and as always, stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” —Albert Einstein

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  1. True Calling. “This Roller Coaster Engineer Creates World Famous Amusement Park Rides.” YouTube, 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gnjYG1OoYk&feature=emb_title. Accessed 23 June 2020.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.