Three Survival Lessons From The Martian

Yesterday, I was watching The Martian on Netflix. The movie stars Matt Damon as Mark Whatney and it is the movie adaptation of the book, written by Andy Weir. In the story, astronaut Mark Whatney is stranded on Mars during a storm. His crew left him thinking he was dead. He wakes up alone and realizes he has to survive until a rescue team comes to pick him up.


When the movie came out in 2015, I left the cinema with a new approach to problem-solving and the idea of survival. Mark’s character is facing issues that seem far from what we experience daily. But there are still ways to relate his way of solving issues to what we can sometimes experience.


Here are a few motivational lessons to remember from the movie, useful even if you’re not stranded on a different planet. I have listed three but check the movie if you want more inspiration!


“Science the shit out of it”


After waking up alone on Mars, Mark faces two choices: give up because his fate is bleak or use his best tool (his brain) to figure a way out.


After coming up with a plan (going to a meeting point far from his current location), Mark uses science to tackle one problem after the other to get to his goal.


Most problematic situations in life have a solution. If it seems there isn’t one, it’s only that we haven’t found it yet. The best way out of a difficult moment/experience is to come up with a clear goal and find the first step to get closer to it. This applies to any issue that appears insurmountable at first. Be it personal or professional. It can be useful when things are going wrong, or when setting a goal to yourself.


Use your skill to draw the map and take the first step. Be resourceful.


Trials and errors


Resilience is the key to the movie. Mark is a skilled and smart astronaut but what is important to notice is that he still makes mistakes. He doesn’t get everything right from the start.


Mark messes up, blows things up, swears a lot, is defeated BUT he never gives up. He only modifies his way of dealing with the situation.


It’s through trial and errors that he manages to make water for his plants. Does blowing up the hatch away make him give up on the entire mission because of a major drawback?


No, instead Mark readjusts his plan. “If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan, not the goal”. How often do we give up on something important because we see ourselves failing? It’s important to keep pushing when hitting the wall to see a project through to completion.

You wouldn’t give up opening your door if you tried the wrong key. Try the next one and get in.


Disco songs = great soundtrack to do badass stuff

I Will Survive. Enough said.

Randy Lacourt

I have a lot of opinions and feelings and I like sharing them in my free time. Constant-learner, goal setters: I have self-published three poetry books and I am on the constant mission to finish my first fiction. Writing is everything but I am also interested in computer programming, human science and bettering myself.

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