Buvette Masthead

Monday Moment: Solve enough problems

Emma Grey

Have you seen the new Matt Damon movie, The Martian?

It’s a sci-fi survival movie about an astronaut being stranded on Mars and having to ‘science’ his way out of it (and there’s a great 80s disco sound track!).

This was my favourite line:

“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.”

“There’s no way out but through.”
– Robert Frost

I remember feeling like that during those lonely moments in the depth of childbirth. Despite having my then husband and sister and the midwife and obstetrician in the room, I felt completely alone at one point: nobody else could get me out of this fix. I didn’t want to, but I had to find the strength from somewhere. I had to get the job done.

So I pushed. Once. Twice. An hour’s worth. Two hours’ worth. More…

And, finally, there she was.

The human spirit has a desire to get through.

We might love short cuts. We might love the easy way. We like things to be straight-forward and achievable. A magic solution would be fabulous.

But sometimes a challenge requires us to dig deeper and step up further than we ever have before, often under pressure, and into new things.

Despite how daunting and terrifying this seems, even the biggest dilemmas—the ones that are seemingly insurmountable—are still just about solving one problem. Then solving the next.

One push. Another push.

That’s how things are done.


Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

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