Never Stop: Teachings from The Martian
So I’m listening to a motivational video at the gym the other day, and a clip from ‘The Martian’ comes on. I remember it took me a while to actually see that film. I think I had some sort of ill feelings held towards Matt Damon from his part in ‘Interstellar’. Another amazing movie, by the way.
Anyway, I remember the night I did finally watch it. It was a weeknight and it kept me up way too late. I couldn’t help it. There was no way I wasn’t finishing the movie, that night.
The acting was pretty good and the film had a decent story line. But what I couldn’t get over was the perseverance of Matt Damon’s character, and his ability to take risks.
First off, being the first humans to explore Mars, ballsy. In fact, simply going into space is a pretty risky maneuver. NASA states that going into space, you have a 1 in 100 chances of dying. Not the best odds, to be frank.
Next, here is this man, left alone on the farthest planet our world has ever explored. He had been stuck there for years and he knew the chances of ever seeing earth again were dismal. Yet, he does not ever stop.
There are plenty of obstacles that test him to the extreme. Many moments where I was thinking ‘shit man, just throw in that towel and end your misery already’. I get attached to characters, big whup.
Yet, he does not stop. He continues no matter what the universe – literally – throws at him.
The original motivational clip I was listening to was titled ‘The Path To Success’. The arching theme of the video was anything worth something takes a lot of work, but also highlighted the requirement of persistence to keep pushing through despite failures.
The video had clips of various people who we would describe as successful. Rich, famous, celebrities and athletes. Each one of them sang a similar tune.
You have to believe in your end goal without ever a hint of doubt
You must fail, fail, fail and fail some more. And then still keep going.
It’s said the real difference that separates the champions from everyone else, is that the champions keep going when they’ve got nothing left.
Another common theme of success is risk taking. You’ve got to swing big, and take crazy chances if you want to see some big wins. Matt Damon’s character takes the biggest risk of all in The Martian, he literally puts his life on the line – with not great odds – to achieve his goals.
Y’all ready for some football?..
There’s another segment from an older movie that showed some high school football players at practice. Morale is clearly down and they are sucked out from practicing – and probably a string of loses.
The coach takes it upon himself to make an example of one of the boys.
He gets the particular guy to throw a teammate on his back and bear crawl as far as he can. The boy gets going and soon enough his is nearly gassed. But the coach keeps the pressure on, yelling at him not to stop. He says don’t worry about where you are right now, just give me your best and keep going.
“Do not stop”, he says, over and over again.
The young man is about to drop out of pure exhaustion but with the coaches direction, he perseveres through. By this point the entire team has risen to their feet to watch this spectacle.
When the boy finally drops, he gets up to find himself at the other end of the football field.
They say it’s darkest right before dawn. Similarly when all signs point to quitting, you’re usually just around the corner of getting what you want.
It’s bigger than you..
Jumping back once more to The Martian. Like I said, there were many times where he almost gave up, and many points that seemed impossible to push through. But if you’ve seen The Martian – and if you haven’t this will be a spoiler, so turn back now! – you’ll know towards the end Matt Damon’s character’s team decides to turn their ship around when they receive transmission from him, to rescue him.
They risk their lives and extend their travel through space by another year or number of years – can’t remember the exact amount of extra time they commit to spending in space, to save him.
Imagine they finally reach him after turning back to find him dead from giving up too soon. Imagine some members of the crew lose their lives for nothing.
Who do you have in your life that’s dependent on you to persevere on your path?
Maybe you have a family. Maybe you have extended family that needs your support. What about your future family? How about all the people that would benefit directly and indirectly from your successes?
What about the feeling of regret?
No, we don’t have the luxury of giving up. Always keep going.
Know when to fold ‘em..
The exception to this rule is when you will do yourself or others more harm by continuing compared to quitting. As it goes; you’ve got to know when to hold them, and when to finally fold ‘em.
A failing business might be hemorrhaging cash and you should shut it down. A toxic relationship might be ruining you inside and need to be ended. But that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing another venture or trying to love again. You may have lost a battle, but you must always continue the pursuit of the ultimate victory; life.
Yeah, The Martian is just a movie – albeit a good one. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take away some life lessons from the underlying message of the movie. First, you’ve gotta’ risk it for the biscuit if you want that big cheese. That’s nothing new. Second, you need to keep on pushing if you want to see whatever you’ve undertaken through. Quitting too soon can have a detrimental effect to more lives than just your own. Remember that.
I will leave you with the last quote of the movie:
“At some point, everything’s gonna go south on you and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. Do the math. You solve one problem and you solve the next one, and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.”
Do you have an experience of pushing through the pain when you thought you had nothing left to give? Do you have a story of trials, tribulation, and then success? Did you also love The Martian – and maybe going to rewatch it tonight, also?
Let me know! As always, if you liked this.. Share it!
Onwards & upwards,