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How “The Martian” Exemplifies Survival Strategies

How The Martian Exemplifies Survival Strategies

The 2015 film, The Martian, provides valuable insights into how to handle a catastrophic crisis in order to survive.  While looking to a movie for advice on how to work through a survival situation may seem a little far-fetched, there are some important lessons that we can take away from the film.  Let’s look at some of the general principles that can be useful when it comes to evaluating your own preparedness efforts.

Don’t Panic and Prioritize

The first situation that the main character encountered was an oxygen shortage.  He woke up after getting marooned on Mars and was about to panic.  However, he saw the immediate problem and addressed that first.  This is an essential survival principle.  Don’t focus on the ramifications of the situation before dealing with what needs to be done immediately.  There will be plenty of time to think everything else through once the dust settles.  However, unless you take care of the most pressing needs, chances are that you will not live to worry about everything else.

Assess the Situation

Once you are safe and secure, then you can assess the overall seriousness of the situation.  However, it’s important to be objective instead of emotional or reactive.  Focus on the reality of the problem, not the fear, worry or uncertainty.  This will help you to think clearly, make good calculated decisions and begin to develop an appropriate strategy.

Break Big Problems Down

Another very important lesson to be learned from the movie is how to break big problems down into manageable solutions.   Develop a game plan.  See the process.  Understand what you need to do first, second and later.  Take things step by step.  However, this all needs to be framed in the context of a goal that you set.  The trick is to deal with things in stages in order to reach that goal.

Utilize Tools and Resources on Hand

You can’t work through a problem with material that you do not have.  Therefore, it’s pointless to fret over what you can not do.  Focus on what can be done based on the resources that are available and the skill-set that you possess.  Remember when he used feces to create soil for growing potatoes?  Remember when he used his skills to create water?  These are examples of things that we can all do if we are comfortable with improvising.  This takes a little bit of practice, confidence and trial and error.  However, being patient, learning from mistakes and being resourceful will pay big dividends down the line.

Be Flexible

Things will not always work according to plan.  Things break, injuries occur and anticipated solutions can often cause unexpected problems.  Feel free to scream, throw something and vent.  However, don’t get stuck in that mode.  Dust yourself off, try again and continue to beat back obstacles.  Every plan A will fail in one way or another.  Chances are that plan B or C may not be all that good in the heat of the moment as well.  That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have a plan, rather be willing to adapt it to meet the reality of the situation.

Be Hopeful

There was hardly a time in the movie when the main character gave up hope.  Even when he accepted the possibility that he may never go home, he was taking practical steps to address that contingency.  Never give up hope, because there is almost always a way out as long as you are thinking clearly and making good choices.  Remember that most people die during disasters from the incident itself or the choices they make after the fact.  If you’ve survived the initial crisis, then chances are you can survive the aftermath if you keep your wits about you.

Be a Team Player

This is probably the most difficult thing to accept as we plan for survival and self-sufficiency.  While there are serious threats to our safety and security in a SHTF scenario to consider,  we should also be open to working together when possible and practical as well.  Don’t pass up an opportunity to work with others if it means solving problems, combining resources and reaching the ultimate goal faster and with greater efficiency.

These are just some of the many survival principles that are featured in The Martian.  If you haven’t had a chance to see it, check it out and see what it can teach you as well.  What survival movies have you watched that have given you some inspiration?  What have you learned or incorporated into your overall preparedness strategies?

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