A Unwanted Stark Contrast . . . .

roller coaster 1  Contrast: A Roller Coaster

I am not sure who was speaking on the radio station I was listening to as I was driving.  Nevertheless, the comment went something like this . . . .


Riding a roller coaster can be fun on a beautiful summer day.  As you approach the gate, your heart rate increases. When you enter the roller coaster staging area you begin to anticipate the various heights, twists, turns, drops, and curves, with all the various G-forces.  Now seated and waiting, it counts down and then it takes off.  You forget about all your worries and focus on nothing but the upcoming steel peak, which will be followed by a 100-foot drop, and then an even higher peak.  That’s living, and it’s a fun way to spend a summer afternoon.


However, that is not a way to spend an afternoon in the stock market.*



When I heard this, I thought of how it could be used in a speech or a message!

First, let’s go analytical.

It was a stark contrast

to a commonly enjoyed fun activity,

which was NOT what one wanted

when it came to investing.


What made this work?

#1) Unknown Direction: The use and the purpose of the analogy were unknown.  The speaker did not start out saying, “There is a good comparison which can be made between the stock market and roller coasters.”  Rather, he began with a description of a summer afternoon at the amusement park.

#2) A Well-Selected Analogy:  The speaker selects an analogy which carries the elements which are going to contrast and clash with the purposeful counter-part of the application.  To do this one needs to think ahead or backwards.  What are the characteristics which are in contrast to what I am going to be addressing?

#3) An Extended & Colorful Description:

The speaker does a good job of verbally describing a roller coaster ride, catching some of the elements of such an activity.

The speaker could have shortened it to — “The stock market is no fun when it is like riding a roller coaster.”  However, he took the time to call up some of the elements which make a roller coaster ride a roller coaster ride.

#4) Key Words / Elements:  There are some keywords and phrases which help drive the analogy . . .

  • beautiful summer day
  • anticipate
  • forget worries
  • focus on nothing
  • fun
  • summer afternoon

#5) An Unequivocal Contrast: Without dispute, the contrast is unequivocal.  There is no question that a wild and uncertain roller coaster ride is not what one wants when investing in the stock market.


Direct Use:  Take this very example and apply it to . . . .

The Christian Life:

That’s living, and it’s a fun way to spend a summer afternoon.

However, that is not a way to operate your Christian life.

Sharing The Gospel:

That’s living, and it’s a fun way to spend a summer afternoon.

However, that is not a way to operate when sharing the Gospel — sometimes excited and on top of the world, and other times down, quiet, and selfish.


Call Up Other Analogies:  There are other activities and events in life which can be used to draw such a contrast.

  1.  Walk on the boardwalk and listen to the boards creak under your feet
  2.  Blow bubbles
  3.  Play tag, hopscotch, or one of your favorite childhood games
  4.  Play miniature golf
  5.  Win a prize at the fair
  6.  Catch fireflies at night
  7.  Build a sandcastle at the beach
  8. Roast marshmallows over a fire and make s’mores
  9. Operate a lemonade stand
  10. Eat a slice of watermelon
  11. Have a picnic in the park
  12. Sit on a porch swing
  13. Stargaze while lying in the grass
  14. Watch the sun set from a beach
  15. Dangle your feet off a dock
  16. Pick wildflowers
  17. Swim in a lake
  18. Go fishing
  19. Go camping
  20. Go for a hike
  21. Collect seashells at the beach
  22. Get caught in a summer rainstorm
i.e.  — Here are some off the cuff examples of using the same technique but applied to some of the above activities.
Sandcastles & riches — key elements: fun, no intent for it to last, quickly built, easily washed away,
Collecting seashells & witnessing — key elements: random, stack them up, pretty, broken and unbroken, fun, which is the most remarkable
Camping & the Christian life – key elements: adventuresome, temporary, roughing it, resourcefulness, unexpected twists and turns
Going for a hike & facing a trial — key elements: Key elements: fun, uphill, stop when you want, see things unseen before, turn around, lost
Caught in a rainstorm & a temptation — key elements: sudden, unexpected, cold or warm, sprinkle, short-lived, downpour

These contrasts (or they can be used as comparisons) can be used in introductions, conclusions, or ways to clarify a main point.

They have the potential to get you thinking some different ways of framing an idea and catching the thinking and focus of your audience.


Another Example


“I hate suspense, which is ironic since I write young adult novels packed with conflict. Relegating uncertainty to fiction seems safe, because I (as author) am in control. Uncertainty in real life, I don’t always handle so well. Please tell me I’m not alone here.

Uncertainty comes in all forms, including that four-letter-word wait. Maybe you’re waiting to hear back on an interview. Any day, you could get the phone call that the job is yours—or that the hiring manager chose someone else. Or perhaps you had a medical test last week and still haven’t received the results.”

— https://dailyps.com/2-upsides-of-uncertainty/

* Similiar to the words a DanMoskowiitz article– Oct 26, 2013

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