Surviving a Storm

12 Dec

“When there is a storm and you stand in front of a tree, if you look at its branches, you swear it will fall. But if you watch the trunk, you see its stability.” (The Revenant, 2015, 20th Century Fox)

No one can accuse the protagonist of the film The Revenant, Hugh Glass, of lacking resilience. Glass keeps on going despite horrific injuries, hostile climate and unbelievable mental hardship. So, what allows Glass to survive in such harsh conditions and circumstances?

First, some context. In the film, Hugh Glass survives a vicious Grizzly attack, and is left for dead by his colleagues in freezing, arctic conditions after witnessing his son murdered. Torn to pieces, freezing, grieving and hungry, Glass makes his way across miles of snowy wasteland before carrying out an act of revenge on the man who killed his son and left him for dead.

Poetic license aside, it is obvious Glass has huge reserves of mental strength, fortified by a desire for revenge. Glass also has expertise in survival, and high tolerance for pain as he manages to not just endure his injuries but seal a wound in his neck with gun powder. But perhaps the most important factor in his survival is a chance encounter, when Glass is near death, with a Pawnee Native American who is travelling alone.

The Pawnee feeds Glass, carries him on his horse, and heals his wounds. This chance encounter, cemented with shared grief, provides Glass with a huge slice of luck necessary to survive. And this is the crux of Glass’s story- he got lucky. However, as the opening quote illustrates, without a certain degree of stability, Glass would never have been able to place himself in a position to get lucky.

Much is written about resilience, and it goes an incredibly long way. But luck plays a role too, especially in the form of help at just the right time, which carries you through the storm. Resilience keeps you in the game, it increases the chances of encountering luck, but rarely is anything achieved alone. The longer you foster the qualities to stay afloat, the greater the chances of being fed, carried and healed when you least expect it.


One Response to “Surviving a Storm”

  1. Indago December 13, 2016 at 1:33 pm #

    Entertaining blog and yet also very insightful…

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