As I finished my day of client calls and teaching life coaching classes, I grabbed the remote and unconsciouslly clicked the channel changer thumbing my way through the 64 or so stations available to me here in the Philippines.
I happily stumbled upon one of my favorite motion pictures of all time: “The Martian.” Spoiler alert! If you haven’t seen the movie and plan to do so, go pop a big bowl of popcorn, watch the flick, then return here to finish this post.
Mark Watney, the main character played by Matt Damon, gets left behind by crew mates on the planet Mars because the last telemetry from his space suit indicates no signs of life following a tumultuous dust storm that almost toppled their spacecraft.
I love an intellectually intoxicating script and this film delivered so many serotonin hits throughout I couldn’t keep count.
“The Martian” follows the iconic Joseph Campbell Hero’s Journey process.
The main character, the hero, sets their sights on an endgame, a goal, challenge, etc. They encounter obstacles along the way taking one step forward and two steps back. The character experiences second thoughts, ends up in a valley where there appears to be no way out, learns a lot about themselves, and eventually figures it all out and slays their endgame and returns to their ordinary life.
The film takes us through Watney’s hero’s journey of developing a process to grow enough food so he can survive several years while waiting for his crew to return and rescue him. In the end, everyone lives happily ever after.
One of my favorite lines is at the end of the movie when Watney, safely back on planet Earth in his ordinary life, speaks to a fresh class of up and coming astronauts:
“It’s space. It doesn’t cooperate. I guarantee you that at some point, everything’s going to 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“ – Mark Watney, The Martian
Hopefully you have an endgame. Something extraordinary you’d like to achieve before you take your last breath. Your own hero’s journey if you will.
On some idle Thursday afternoon, when you least expected, bad shit is gonna happen. A chain of events completely out of your control will smack you in the face having your Itty Bitty Shitty Committee throwing a party, singing sweet negative lyrics into your ear telling you:
“You’re not good enough, you don’t know enough, and you’re simply not ready. Go back to your old life. This is just too hard.”
This isn’t space travel but this is life. When speed bumps get thrown on your path, you have a choice. You can give up, retreat and go back to your ordinary life? Or, you can get to work and continue the Hero’s Journey.
What will you do at that moment when you’re tested and everything goes south?