Three Things We Can Learn From ‘The Martian’

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the martian

Earlier this year I read The Martian by Andy Weir and loved it. Even through the endless science writing (there was a lot) I remained completely committed to the story and couldn’t put it down. The next thing I know The Martian is being turned into a movie starring Matt Damon and I couldn’t wait to see how they turned this sci-fi book into, what was sure to be, a Hollywood hit. Needless to say I wasn’t disappointed and the movie lived up to my very high expectations. In fact, I think that are three things we can learn from ‘The Martian’ to create a better life.

For those that aren’t familiar with ‘The Martian’ here is a quick synopsis straight from 20th Century Fox:

“During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return.”

<<WARNING ‘THE MARTIAN’ SPOILERS AHEAD>>

Three Things We Can Learn From ‘The Martian’

  1. Don’t Ever Give Up: In the face of great adversity, Mark Watney never, ever gave up. Not once did he call Uncle, nor did he lie down and just die and, trust me, there were multiple times during the story that I think I would have just thrown in the towel. He is looking at 4 YEARS of being the only person on a planet that is millions of miles from home. He has limited food and water supplies that won’t even come close to sustaining him for that amount of time. He has no way to communicate with the team that left him behind or with NASA. He is utterly and completely alone with only himself to depend on for survival. In the face of those odds it would be very easy to quit. What would be the point in continuing another day when there doesn’t seem to be a solution in sight? Regardless, Watney doesn’t give up and in the end that pays off.  It’s a good reminder that no matter how dire things appear to be, hold onto hope and don’t ever quit!
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  3. Do What You Love: In, what I consider to be, a very touching scene during the movie Watney is sharing what he would want his parents to know in case he perishes on Mars. He says, and I’m paraphrasing here, that he has lived his life doing what he loves and that if he doesn’t make it back to please understand that he wouldn’t have chosen any other way. This was a life he loved and he didn’t regret the chances he took. That scene completely made me tear up. Seriously, it is such a great reminder that our lives are finite and it is an incredible gift to be able to do what we love. We are all going to leave this life at some point and we can either leave it living a life unfulfilled or we can leave it knowing that we embraced everything we loved. I tell my family often, if something happens to me and I don’t make it home from my trip please know that I died doing something I absolutely love and, really, that may be the best way to exit this life.
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  5. Just Begin: At the end of the movie Watney is talking to a group of young astronaut recruits and he states that at some point on a mission everything will go to hell and you’ll need to look at the problem, do the math and just begin (paraphrasing again). The point, you have to begin somewhere so just begin and solve it as you go. Wow, that is probably my favorite life lesson from ‘The Martian’. How many times to we get caught up in a problem and let it consume us without moving forward? How many times does life (aka the mission) just go to hell? I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve looked at an issue as insurmountable and tried to brush it aside because it felt impossible. Instead, if I would just begin to try to solve it the answer will, most likely, come to me along the way. If not, we can fall back on a famous quote from the movie and “science the shit out of” it and use duct tape. Those that watched the movie know exactly what I’m talking about.

There is just so much to love about ‘The Martian’. Matt Damon pulled off a stellar performance, the cinematography, special effects and scenery is top notch and by the end you’ll feel all the emotions that Watney must be feeling right before he launches to leave Mars. ‘The Martian’ take audiences on a heck of an emotional roller coaster ride and it’s worth every minute.

Did you see ‘The Martian’? What did you think?

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