I hear it pretty often in the support desk, where people write to me and tell me all the reasons they CAN’T
- They can’t afford it.
- They are poor because they do charity work.
- They can’t do it because their mom or dad died.
- They can’t do it because they don’t have enough time. They can’t do it because they don’t know how to hire help.
Hey I get it. I do.
Life is one hard knock after another.
There never seems to be enough day in the day, and enough money in your accounts. I’ve had those kind of days, weeks, and years myself. Yeah, I’ve had them Recently.
For example, and this is just one of my “mildly” bad days
Just this morning, I discovered my software is being stolen via refund fraud and redistributed all over the place. People don’t even bother to hide what they are doing. It sucks to work that hard and have people treat you like dirt.
Then, the garbage disposal is clogged again, the new blender leaked protein shake all over my papers..
…and when I went to start caulking up the lines around the new baseboards I installed yesterday, the BACK side of the caulk tube split, leaking calk all over and leaving me without any caulk to use. And it’s not even 10am.
It happens. Just when you get something good going, random events strike, knocking down all your carefully piled blocks and setting you back– sometimes all the way to zero.
Throw in all of the smaller snags where things don’t come out as expected and It’s really tempting to sit down by the side of a long road and think about all the reasons you can’t or won’t make it to your goals.
Sometimes even the most optimistic soul can’t help but feel sorry for themselves when they look over all the gotchas that have sprung up unexpectedly and are facing climbing that mountain one more time.
And that is why every business person who’s ever faced a really bad day and is on the verge of giving up should go see The Martian immediately.
In the movie, Matt Damon is astronaut Mark Watney, who has been accidentally left for dead on Mars. With limited supplies, no communication, and no way off the cold, airless, dust storm ravaged red planet he’s the guy having the worst day I can imagine.
But he has one thing going for him. He’s ALIVE and he hasn’t given up.
It would be easy, in Watney’s shoes, to simply walk out into the sands and remove his space suit helmet, abandoning hope and taking the instant way out.
But that isn’t what he does.
He starts solving problems, starting with the small ones he can do something about immediately.
Mark doesn’t let the bigger problems with harder solutions stop him from fixing the things he can first.
There is a LOT of work involved. And the solutions to his problems are sometimes on the revolting side.
More things go wrong. Sometimes the setbacks are SO BIG, it feels like he just can’t win– and you see him have those moments of doubt and disbelief.
But every time, he goes back to work, thinking through and around obstacles. Sometimes he makes it through on pure luck, and sometimes its luck and a huge leap of faith.
I won’t spoil it for you except to say it’s an amazing movie with one of the best messages of last year, and probably this year too.
If you are facing a personal mountain, take a couple of hours to go watch it.
Understand the message, be inspired to start thinking in terms of ALL solutions instead of being discouraged by problems you don’t have answers for yet.
If you can do that, you’re already halfway there.
Human beings have this amazing potential to look past obstacles and see the future. Then make it become reality. Fire up your engines and get to work.
Karl the Reviewer says
Matt Damon doesn’t generally attach himself to crap projects (IMHO). The commercials and whatnot for The Martian made it look like a great film, even if you’re *not* an SF geek. It’s on my mean-to list, but since I rarely leave the SEO bunker these days, I suspect it’ll be some time before I see it. I believe I’ll enjoy it as much as you did, and for the same reasons.
I agree with you that we tend to wallow in self-pity, at times. Life, it seems, is chock-a-block full of unexpected misfortunes. And then there’s the plain ol’ stupid shit we all do. Or maybe I should just speak for myself and say “I”. 😉
When you’re on the bleeding edge of technology — which, if you’re an internet marketer you probably are — you get extra large heaping does of opportunities to feel sorry for yourself, because if something isn’t going wrong nearly all the time, you’re not really on the edge!
I’m sure, as a programmer, Lisa, you can especially relate to this. And I’m really sorry to hear about people pirating your software. You should be flattered, in a way (though I realize this is cold consolation). I’m guessing you’re already working on a method to prevent it in the future. I know many of your peers have had to resort to same.
Parenthetically, for what it’s worth, I’ve got several of your products and I think they’re really valuable and useful. It wouldn’t offend me if you had to go to some kind of licensing model.
So to fall back on the old hymnal — “We shall overcome.” Not necessarily because of faith in deity (though, for some, it is an aid), but because when you believe strongly enough in your dream — or like The Martian, you’ve got no choice save death — you must make it work. Period. Even if it isn’t perfect.
In fact, Chris Winters frequently says (I don’t know if it originates with him or not): “Take massive imperfect action.” His point being (in full recognition of the 80/20 rule and Murphy’s law) that you’re never going to get things “perfect,” no matter how hard you try. Perfectionism (and I can speak to this personally) is the enemy.
General George Patton said: ”A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”
One his professional predecessors also said: ”No plan survives contact with the enemy.”
The upshot and point being, and I think it applies here, is: JUST DO IT!
Even if it’s not perfect. It probably never will be. Even if you have to constantly reassess, adjust and go back at it. It’s part of the process. The nature of the game.
Keep your chin up. Buck up. Take a breath and redouble your efforts.
To use another overused cliche: Failure is not an option.
Unless it is. Unless you’re just ready to give up. Fortunately, most of us will not ever be in the situation The Martian is, where failure means death. But it can feel that way at times.
The most successful business people in history never did give up, despite the pressure to do so at times, and the understandable despair that befalls all of us at some point.
The late, great Steve Jobs got thrown out of his own company! But he returned to it to build it into the biggest corporation in the world.
Thomas Edison tried 10,000 different filaments for the light bulb before he found one that would work. Imagine if he’d quit at 9,999.
The aforementioned Chris Winters overcame a ton of obstacles to reach the pretty remarkable level of success he’s at now.
It can be done. And it will be — if you believe strongly enough in yourself, and you never, ever give up.
So, there’s my long-winded two cents worth to say I agree with your points, Lisa. I second them. I hope I added something to them. And I think you wrote a great, inspiring article. 🙂
Tony W says
I took form the movie that you should never doubt your knowledge and abilities. Like they say you only lose when you give up 🙂