Analysing a person’s emotional quotient can be challenging. Anyone under the lens can portray a different version of themselves, behaviours can be tweaked to show or hide certain fundamentally important characteristics. But in the movies, you get to see the character from a three-dimensional point of view, and this makes it an interesting study of character. One such interesting study was from the film The Martian. The Ares III, a manned mission to Mars, goes horribly wrong, when it’s hit by an intense storm. Crew member Mark Watney is lost. Miraculously, he has survived. However, his communication equipment is destroyed, and he is unable to contact NASA. What happens when realisation hits you like a ton of bricks, you have been left behind in a hostile planet, almost 249 million miles away from Earth, and you are the only human being living there.
When the situation in every which way appears hopeless, our coping skills have to be extremely robust. Watney displays tremendous ability to withstand adverse events and stressful situations by clarity of thought and sheer focus. This active and positive management of stress, enhances his survival and problem-solving skills. Acceptance, a realistic understanding of the problem, and confidence is the first step towards stress management.
Flexibility is an important attribute to intelligently managing emotions. It’s the ability to modify your emotions thoughts and behaviour to changing situations and conditions.
Accessing and taking stock of reality is often challenging, one should be so finely tuned into the real world so as to be able to read and pick up nuances from the environment. Watney evaluates his own strengths. He is a botanist, so he uses his knowledge to convert the mission’s artificial habitat into a self-sustaining potato farm.
How does he overcome the lack of fertile soil in Mars, which is incapable of producing anything? He improvises by fertilizing it with compost from vacuum-packed toilet waste. His next survival need is drinking water. He uses a system that turns every drop of used water, sweat, and even urine into drinkable water.
Intelligent use of emotions can make any human, perform gargantuan feats even in the most hostile of circumstances.
R A Nadesan is an executive coach, behavioural and soft skills trainer with a pan India presence. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org