My Insight from the TV Show, Alone

 In Goals, Overwhelm

We just finished watching season 2 of “Alone” on The History Channel.  I have to say, it was a little different than what I expected.  The show starts with 10 people being dropped off, each in their own remote spot on northern Vancouver Island.

Sure, there were lots of struggles I expected, such as avoiding predators like bears and cougars, finding food, making a shelter, building a fire, and trying to stay warm and dry. However, I was surprised that the biggest challenge for most people was being alone.  In retrospect, it makes sense, but I didn’t anticipate it when we started watching the show.  Especially in the last few weeks (the winner stuck it out for 66 days), the remaining people really struggled with loneliness.  It became obvious to all of them (and me) that human contact is a primal need like food and water.

There were many emotional moments when they broke down in tears, trying to hang in there for one more day despite missing their families.  And it was very emotional when they came to tell the last person they’d won.  David thought it was the weekly health check-in, until he saw his daughter walking up to him through the trees.  Then it hit him; he was going home AND he’d won $500,000!  Throughout the show, his main reason for sticking it out was so he could provide a better life for his kids, and now he could make it happen.  Of course, I cried….

As they flew David and his daughter off the island, he said something I found very insightful.  He said that there’s great value in struggle.  He noted that struggle can make us bitter and resentful, or we can use it to grow and learn.  Eventually the physical pain of the struggle goes away, but we get to keep the lessons.  Here’s someone who’d definitely had his struggles in the past 66 days!  Starvation (he lost 35 pounds!), and hypothermia were very real problems but loneliness was the biggest obstacle.

Can you think of a past struggle in your life that’s helped you grow?  What lessons did you keep?  What lessons do you want to never forget?

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Tina Hallis, Ph.D. is Chief Positivity Officer of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping people and organizations increase their positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures. She is certified in Positive Psychology, an authorized partner for Everything DiSC®, and a Professional Member of the National Speaker’s Association.

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