So I’m been working my way through the films nominated for the Academy Awards’ Best Picture. The other night I saw The Martian with Matt Damon. Now, I was skeptical at first, but it turned out to be a great film. But one of the very last lines of the film really resonated with me and how I try to approach my work and life.
“At some point, everything’s gonna 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. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem and you solve the next one, and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.”
~Matt Damon, as Mark Watney in The Martian
Over time, life happens. You might hit a brick wall, or the steel ceiling. You might have a huge misunderstanding or communication break down and “shit hits the fan”. You might have hit that moment in class when you just want to withdraw and leave it behind. Perhaps its a work issue and the political game has influenced your area too much and it’s no longer functional. Perhaps its an event and the venue floods or the caterer spills all of the vegetarian spring rolls. It might even be forgetting your office keys and you have to radio all day to have people let your into rooms.
And as I’ve traveled my journey I’d like to think that I practice “getting to work”. Taking problems one at a time, and solve it then move forward to the next. But I think that until I actually heard/saw the words of the practice, I never really codified it. But how applicable is it to what we do on a daily basis as Student Affairs practitioners, and really what we do in life.
We get overrun by problems and issues all the time and it can seem as though life and work is impossible. But we can’t get mired down in the number of problems or confused by only talking about them or pulled into a wicked circle of standing by. We just have to start working with one problem, solve it, and then move to the next. Now this is of course the simplest form of this, but the concept is something that many struggle with. But if we can teach ourselves and each other how to take a step back and identify one problem, address it, then move to the next, we’ll get the work done.
And while we all know and understand this simple life lesson sometimes it’s nice to just have a reminder. So be like the Martian and just step up and start working on one problem and then move to the next and eventually “you’ll get to come home”.
Until next time
Peace, Love and Pandas!