When Mark Watney is thought dead and abandoned by his crewmates, he regains consciousness with the realization that he has narrowly escaped death after his protective suit has been punctured, leaving his oxygen levels gravely low. He makes his way back to main camp at the Mars station and realizes his precarious situation – as well as his profound isolation. His initial emotional response is that death is imminently encroaching. There is no escape.
But after removing a foreign body from his abdominal area and regaining strength with a meal, his perspective changes: “F— you, Mars.” Rather than accept death and defeat, he determines to “science the sh– out of” his opportunity to attempt survival. He records his thought process and his daily activities for those who might come behind him and find his files. He determines the remaining number of meals that he must now ration strictly. He even makes a greenhouse and reignites his passion and genius for botany.
My military experience enabled me to poignantly understand Watney’s verbal response to the situation, in this movie filmed after the Andy Weir novel “The Martian.” At times, when faced with a grave situation (life or death, physical or emotional trauma, or some other traumatic experience), having a simple positive outlook may not be enough. The situation described above illustrates to me the grit and sass required to look death or failure in the face and to, defiantly, refuse to accept it. Sometimes survival or success after a profound personal failure, requires us to look rather rebelliously at a situation and say, “No. I do not accept failure. I do not accept ____. F— you, failure. I will come out of these ashes and I will defy you.”
My point is that sometimes overcoming a situation requires…a lack of politeness…a hardened resolve…a certain tenacity. Rather than smiling politely with a weak, “It’ll be OK,” sometimes one must find the fire blazing within, push aside the things that distract, and move forward with life and success….defiantly.
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox