I have just watched the film 127 Hours – well more accurately I watch Julie watch 127 Hours, so I thought I would write something about the psychology behind 127 hours.
I’m pretty squeamish and had to actually stop watching at the point where he took out his contact lenses. That was as much as I could take.
OK, so the film felt like it was 127 hours long however it was a pretty remarkable event. I wondered what I would have done in the same situation? What would you have done? And I guess that’s what the whole film is about.
Why would you make a film where everyone knows the ending? Well quite simply because everyone will run their own scenario. At what point would you have started to cut off your own arm?
Of course it made me wonder what part personality played in this. This chap had a pretty extreme personality. He was an engineer, so he approached it very much like an engineer solving a problem. Ultimately he remained objective and focused on solving the problem. Sure he went a bit crazy along the way as it only to be expected but ultimately he acted true to his nature and worked to his strengths.
Now I am a bit of a problem solver and I like to think I am quite creative. My approach to the world is not “Can we do it?” but “How do we do it?” Yet I’m not sure I would have been able to do what this chap did. He was pretty practical. He was innovative. So despite that I am creative, I’m also “handless” (excuse the pun). I take no pleasure from solving physical or terrestrial problems.
However if it was a problem involving some people, then perhaps I would have been more in my zone. If it was a problem that required some words to be written or some videos to be recorded then I may have had a go.
So my point is that creativity comes in many forms. Problem solving comes in many forms. Problems that phase one person are intriguing to another. I suspect that everyone can solve problems – it’s just the nature of the problem that matters. We need to know the nature of the problems we are best tackling. Once you figure that out leave the other types of problem to someone else.
One of the great movie and story devices is to give the character a dilemma. This works on a number of levels. Not only do you wonder “what will the character do?” but you also ask yourself “what would I do?”
They say that a problem is never truly understood until it can be expressed as a dilemma between two alternatives. Are there some personality types more able to deal with dilemmas than others?
I think it depends upon the nature of the dilemma. As we have seen in 127 Hours I doubt this would be a dilemma where I would shine. However there may be other dilemmas that I would cope better. I think this is true of all personality types.