Gravity: The Number One Reason to Never Give Up

Gravity movieBy Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

Do you ever have those days (or weeks or months) where one thing after another seems to go wrong? Or maybe things are going right, but not as right as you’d thought they would? Or you’re just plain tired of working so hard to stay in the same place?

And you think about giving up. Giving up on that project or job or relationship.

It’s tempting because you feel like nothing you try works. You feel alone.

In the movie Gravity, engineer and first-time astronaut Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) ends up as the sole survivor of an accident in space. Her shuttle is destroyed and she’s running out of oxygen. She’s lost contact with mission control on earth.

Worse, everything she tries only seems to make her situation worse. She makes it to the International Space Station, only to find the crew there has already evacuated to escape the same debris field that destroyed her shuttle. The parachute on the only remaining module has been accidentally deployed due to damage from the debris field, making it useless for returning to earth.

Before she can successfully make contact with anyone on the space station’s radio, the station catches fire. She escapes in the module, planning to use its thrusters to reach the Chinese space station Tiangong and use one of its modules to return to earth instead. Except the thrusters are out of fuel.

When she finally reaches the Chinese stations, its orbit is deteriorating (also due to being shoved out of position by the debris field), and she can’t dock with it. She shoots herself across space using explosive decompression and a fire extinguisher and barely makes it inside.

And just when she thinks she’s safe, just when it seems like nothing else could go wrong, when the module lands into a lake, a fire causes her to need to pop the hatch. Water rushes in and drags the module underwater. Ryan forces her way out, but her space suit is too heavy and she can’t swim.

She sheds her spacesuit and swims to shore.

As my husband and I watched this movie, I couldn’t help but think about how there was something to be learned from Gravity about what we can do when we feel like giving up.

Think outside the box and try something different.

When Ryan was inside the module with no thruster fuel, she realized that she had to find an unconventional solution to her problem. She couldn’t keep trying the traditional solution because it wasn’t going to work.

She found a way to trick the module into firing its landing thrusters instead (the ones that are only supposed to fire when the module senses it’s a certain distance from the earth’s surface).

Sometimes the solution to our problem isn’t giving up. Sometimes the solution is to look at our situation a different way.

Walk through your fear and discomfort.

At the start of the movie, one of the biggest things holding Ryan back from making it back to earth alive was her own fear and space sickness. She kept focusing on what would happen if she didn’t succeed.

It’s easy when things aren’t going right to allow our fear of what could possibly happen cloud our judgment or make us freeze. But we won’t succeed unless we push past our fear and what ifs.

And most of all, don’t lose hope.

The number one reason to never give up is we don’t know what will happen next (Click to tweet this.)

If Ryan had given up at any point along the way, she wouldn’t have made it safely back to earth. We can’t know what the next minute, hour, or day will bring. And maybe if we hold on and keep trying, it will be the turn for the better we were waiting for.

Have you felt like giving up on something lately? What do you do when this happens?

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When Is It Time to Quit on Our Dreams?
The Dangerous Side of Hope