10/22/2013 04:56 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

3 Things Gravity Can Teach Us About Overcoming Adversity


The first thing I love about the film Gravity is the resourcefulness, courage and bravery exhibited by a powerful female lead Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock).

However no matter your gender the film serves as a strong reminder about facing your fear and triumphing over adversity despite overwhelming odds.

For most of the film we -- the audience -- flail and panic alongside Dr. Stone. But mid-way through the movie Dr. Stone reaches a pivotal moment in her hero's journey.

There is a scene that best captures her rebirth in which we see Stone floating in a fetus-like position. Soon after Dr. Stone morphs from a frightened and anxiety ridden woman to an unshakeable warrior -- alone in the abyss -- who fights for her life.

This moment in the film provides a turning point in the character's story. She has a renewed will to live. She exhibits the clarity and steadiness she needs to get home.

The film reminds us that all people must go through their own journey. Even with the comfort and luxury of planet Earth -- where we are outside the food chain with every need met with 1000 options -- the hero's journey still exists within every individual. Even in the era of lattes, Facebook and alumni networks individuals must dig deep for the strength to overcome adversity. Have you noticed that the more adversity an individual must overcome, the more powerful their core sense of self is? This can also be called a resiliency muscle.

This resiliency muscle is critical in thriving in times of change. Change can be extremely uncomfortable. But what if an individual's ability to sustain uncomfortable situations will determine their ability to get home?

How resilient are you in your ability to keep up with the rate of change, or even lead it?

We can compare Dr. Stone's ability to anchor herself while floating in space, ultimately alone -- with the individual struggle to not only overcome fear and isolation on the hero's journey, but master it.

Your ability to stretch your resilience muscle will determine your ability to find success in life. But strength doesn't always come from the obvious source.

You are entirely in charge of how anchored you feel, particularly in times of change. In an age where humans have more comfort than ever, learning how to live with being uncomfortable can be an important predictor of success. But people have forgotten how to be uncomfortable. The reliance on phones means less time actually sitting with silence -- with nothing in your hands. Has an inability to be quiet with oneself made the individual less powerful in their own lives? I believe it has, but there are things you can do to gain control and order back in your mind and your spirit.

Today we're taking three cues from Gravity. Here's what we can learn.

1. Stay calm by watching your breath, every day.In the beginning of the film Dr. Stone's inability to control her breath while spinning uncontrollably into space, detached -- almost kills her. For much of the film the viewer is guided by the audio of Stone's panicked shallow breathing. Much of the film the concern is around Stone's oxygen tank -- that it will run out. What if I told you that effective deep breathing is a critical aspect of resiliency? Do you personally follow your own breath? Try this. Take just a few minutes a day and lay on the floor with your eyes closed scanning your body. Take five to ten deep breaths from your belly. Additionally during times of extreme stress or pressure ask yourself where you breath is. You will find these exercises very helpful in creating more clarity in your mind and relaxation in your body.

2. Let go, trust the process. In the beginning Stone is so nervous she drops equipment. Her senses are dull -- her reactions are delayed (as displayed by her inability to stop working when asked). Nervous, awkward and anxious she isn't operating at full capacity. Fast forward to the Russian space craft and she decides to let go -- turn off the oxygen in the tank. The missing link to her emergency landing comes to her in a dream. This is an important reminder that trusting the process is the first step in trusting yourself. The rules are vice versa as well. Trust yourself and the more you trust the process. Do you ever notice that when you "stop caring" all the things you've been pushing so hard for finally fall into your lap? This is one of those crunchy rules of the universe but it's true. Understand when to let go.

3. Find time to be quiet. The world today is rarely quiet. The constant device noise is the soundtrack of your life. Arguably, hearing the swoosh of an email alert or the ding of a text on your phone serves as true validation. All the noise serves a purpose. But what is the lack of quiet time doing to your brain? In the film Dr. Stone says her favorite thing about space is the silence. A New York Times film critic says this best, "For all of Mr. Cuarón's [film director] formal wizardry and pictorial grandeur, he is a humanist at heart. Much as Gravity revels in the giddy, scary thrill of weightlessness, it is, finally, about the longing to be pulled back down onto the crowded, watery sphere where life is tedious, complicated, sad and possible." The tediousness of the drama people create in their lives takes away from the human ability to process -- to create calm. Find pockets of quiet and calm in your day -- like your life depended on it.

In conclusion find time every day to be quiet with yourself. You will find yourself stronger and more capable of facing fears and overcoming adversity.

Tell me what did you think of the film? What was your lesson learned?