There may be times on your journey toward your goals when the situation seems hopeless. When you look toward your vision and can’t see any path that will lead you there. What do you do then?
Imagine you were presumed dead and left behind on a mission to Mars, with only minimal support equipment. That is the premise of The Martian, a novel by Andy Weir, which was made into a major motion picture.
Would you curl up and die? Or would you, as protagonist Mark Watney does, proceed to do everything in your power to ensure your survival and ultimate rescue?
Here are 6 lessons we can learn from the character Mark Watney as he faces a hopeless situation:
1. Focus on the moment
When Mark discovered that he had been left for dead on Mars, he knew he was desperately out of luck. But he didn’t want to die on the surface, so he made his way into the Hab, the self-sustaining habitation unit, and tended to his wounds.
Even the knowledge that the situation was hopeless didn’t stop Mark from taking the immediate actions
necessary to ensure his short term survival.
“The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.” – Eckhart Tolle
2. Try anyway
When Mark was left behind, his first reaction was to think that the situation was impossible. But, although he “knew it was hopeless”, he “tried firing up the communications array”.
If you haven’t tried yet, you don’t know with certainty that an action will fail. Although not everything that you try will succeed, 100% of the things you don’t try will fail, simply through lack of trying.
3. Take stock of your situation
After a good night’s sleep, Mark was feeling a little more hopeful. He took stock of his supplies, and found that there was food to last him for 300 days. The Hab was intact, and the oxygenator was working. He found the Rovers buried in sand, but otherwise functional; same with the solar cell arrays. The water reclaimer was working too, but there was no backup.
Although there was no solution to help him get rescued and back to earth, he knew what he had to work with, and how he could meet his short-term survival needs.
4. Make a short-term plan
Mark knew that the next mission to Mars, Mars 4, would arrive in about four years. The planned landing location for Mars 4 wasn’t in the same location where he was, but he thought that if he could somehow work out a way to communicate with Earth, they might be able to arrange a rescue.
Even though he didn’t know how he could survive four years, he made a plan to fix the radio, so that he could attempt to communicate with earth.
Mark didn’t have answers to everything, and he only had imperfect answers to what he did know, but he went ahead with a plan and a purpose. He took action, doing the best that he could for the moment, and figured he would solve the other problems as he went along.
5. Solutions don’t have to be sophisticated
Throughout the book, Mark is ingenious at solving many engineering problems. But much of what he does only requires common sense or practical knowledge. He even uses plain old duct tape for some of his solutions.
He doesn’t get stuck into thinking that there is only one way to solve a problem, or that you can only do something if you have the proper tools. He doesn’t just play by the rules; he makes up rules as he goes along.
He creates practical solutions to many of the problems that he encounters. The results may not be pretty, but they often work. He does the best that he can with the materials that he has at his disposal.
6. Don’t give up
One defining characteristic of Mark is his dogged refusal to quit. Sometimes he gets depressed, but then he rallies himself and tries something. No matter how dire the situation gets, he refuses to just lay down and die.
At one point he says, “Things weren’t 100 percent successful. They say no plan survives first contact with implementation. I’d have to agree.”
Marks accepts bumps in the road, even dreadful setbacks, and just gets on with business. There is always a next problem to solve, and he always pulls himself together to focus on solving it.
“Never give up, and be confident in what you do. There may be tough times, but the difficulties which you face will make you more determined to achieve your objectives and to win against all the odds.” – Marta
Mark Watney may be a fictional character, but the lessons we learned can be put to good use in the real world. When you find yourself stalled when working toward a vision or goal, think to yourself, “How can I be like Mark?”
What one thing can you do or try, even though the situation may seem hopeless? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
20 Science-Backed Ways to Stay Motivated (Infographic)
Motivation is something we all strive to have, but can also be one of those feelings that’s hard to keep. Whether we’re attempting to reach a new fitness goal or trying to stay motivated in our role at work, sometimes that motivation just isn’t there. You feel motivated for a while – you’ll listen to podcasts, read books, keep yourself accountable – but then it’s lost. You feel so much energy at the start, then feel yourself slowly losing that inspiration. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. (more…)
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If you’d like to learn how to consistently motivate yourself so you can achieve any goal you want, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
People are always waiting for motivation to strike them before they start working on their goals. However, waiting for motivation to come to you before you start working is an unreliable method if you want to consistently work on achieving your goals. (more…)
8 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get Your Motivation Back
Welcome to our new normal. A time in our lives that a year ago we certainly didn’t see coming that most of us probably wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves; but here we are. As the days away from each other carry on and more and more bad news comes our way, it’s easy to lose your motivation and waste energy doing things that aren’t helpful like worrying and fighting with people on the internet instead.
Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to the Washington Post. While many of us had routines set up to deal with stress in the past, the stress we are facing during this time is unlike anything we’ve experienced before. It’s easy to find yourself in a downward spiral, and that’s the most challenging time to stop the momentum and turn things around. If that’s the case, keep it simple and start to reach for little things to help you feel better and climb your way out.
Here’s a reminder of a few simple things you can do right now to start getting positive momentum going your way:
1. Find someone who was in a similar place and made it to the other side
Whether you’ve been unmotivated to workout, eat healthy, make sales calls or simply do anything, you can find someone who has been there and made it to the other side. Look up some great TED talks, go on YouTube and look up people that motivate you, google them to find their websites. There are short speeches and much longer talks all over the internet, you just need to find someone who you relate to that speaks to you.
2. Do something that you love
When we’re unmotivated, it’s easy to get out of the habit of doing what we love. Sometimes just getting out of bed or away from the tv feels like a chore. Think back to a time in your life when you felt great – what were you doing? What do you absolutely love to do that if you had the time, you would do all day and not realize any time had passed at all?
Figure out a way to do whatever that is, or a modified version of it if it is something that you aren’t able to do at the present time. Spending time doing what you love will get your mind off of anything that is wrong and allow you to find inspiration.
3. Don’t overcomplicate it
Keep it simple. When we’re stuck in a rut, we’ll give ourselves every excuse to not do something. Say you’ve gained some weight; you might tell yourself you need to find the perfect trainer and wait until you have time to cook your meals from scratch each night before you do anything else. Stop trying to overcomplicate it and keep it simple by finding one thing you can do right now, however small that may be. You don’t have to wait until the timing is perfect and the stars align for you to start moving in the direction you want to go.
4. Get up and get moving
This is probably the last thing you want to do right now, but once you are up and moving, your blood will start flowing. The hardest part is getting started. Day one, get up and do anything to get moving. This is the hardest day if you haven’t in a while because getting up is really the hardest part. Day two, do a little more. Once you start, you’ll build momentum and get back in the habit.
5. Reset your focus
It’s so easy for worry to set in and for our minds to wander to places of what we can’t control. This is not motivating or helpful and we always have a choice to redirect our attention. There is always something we can do right where we are, so bring your focus to the solution instead of the problem and figure out the next step of what you can do.
One step at a time. Step one, take your attention away from what you can’t control and what you can’t do. Step two, ask yourself questions like “What can I do?” and see what comes to mind. Follow through with the answers you find.
6. Listen to your favorite music
Not much can lift our spirits and put us into a positive vibration more than our favorite music. Feel free to sing along. Find a song that pumps you up and make that your theme song. Put it on anytime you feel down or unmotivated.
7. Expand your knowledge
“In times of change, the learners will inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Quote by Eric Hoffer. In times of change, there is great loss but also great opportunity. Continually learning opens you to new opportunities and leads you to paths you may not have otherwise found.
If you’re already a meditator and got away from it, take some time to come back to it. If you’ve never tried, it can be as easy as setting a timer for five minutes (or less, feel free to start with one or two minutes) and focusing on your breath. Listen to the inhalations and exhalations. Silently say to yourself “in” as you inhale and “out” as you exhale. Even taking a few minutes to do this can help you to calm down and allow your mind to refocus.
When we’re unmotivated, our momentum starts moving in the other direction. Slow down that momentum by trying one of the ideas above. Once you’ve slowed down the momentum, get it moving in the right direction and you’ll be well on your way.
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If you’d like to learn how to increase your motivation so you can get more done during the day, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
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