Idea of Perseverance in Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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In late April of 2003, author Aron Ralston goes on a solo-hiking trip outside of Moab, Utah. After spending a portion of his day with two young women he meets on the hike, Ralston parts ways with the women and continues into Blue John Canyon. During his hike he removes a large chockstone, which pins his right arm against the canyon wall. After a variety of failed attempts to dislodge the chockstone, Ralston is left with limited options. He either can wait for an unlikely rescue or perform the unthinkable task of amputating his arm.

With only a small ration of water and two burritos, Ralston survives the next six days. Ralston suffers from dehydration, hypothermia, and starvation. Caught between a rock and a hard place means being faced with a dilemma that only has two unpleasant alternatives. Finally, with no other options and time running out, Ralston amputates his arm and hikes out of the canyon.

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In the book “Between a rock and a hard place” by Aron Ralston, an important idea is failure. This idea is important because without failure Aron would have never succeeded and freed himself from the rock. Another important idea is perseverance. This idea is important because with strong perseverance he managed to free himself from the rock in such a painful way.

The aspect of failure was something that was something I found interesting in the book because without failure Aron would have never survived the horrific incident. Aron Ralston had been trapped in Blue John Canyon in the Utah Desert. From April 25th to May 1st 2003 Aron had been trapped in the canyon. He was out of supplies and had tried many times to free himself but he had failed many times. He learned from his failure each time. At first he tries to chip away at the rock that has trapped him. “I decide to work on an easier option”. Eventually he chips away at the rock with a pocket knife. He fails and learns that it is not an easy task to complete and he must try harder to free himself. “I’ve chipped away (almost nothing) and how much time it’s taken me to do it (over 2 hours)”. This failure teaches him and the next attempt is stronger and more thought through. Next he attempts to amputate his arm and stabs it, but he realizes that he won’t be able to cut through his bone. “I seriously contempt amputating my arm, thinking through the process and possible consequences”. He forgets to calculate all the possibilities and in the rush to free himself he finds despair yet again. “ I instinctively understand that I won’t be able to saw through my bone”. Aron meets failure many times before he is free from the rock and from these failures he does learn. Although using the pocket knife he won’t be able to saw through his bone he rethinks and knows he can cut his arm, so why not snap the bone. He breaks his arm using the rock and manages to cut the flesh and veins. Failure is something that every living being learns from and it can relate to anyone in society. An example of this is the space shuttle challenger disaster. In 1986 a manned mission to space was attempted and unfortunately the rocket blew up 73 seconds into the launch and 7 deaths occurred. After 32 months the mission was reattempted and the specific changes that were made ensured a successful flight and all crew members returned safely back to Earth. This flight exceeded the initial flight expectations and the mission coordinator mentioned to the public “Without the failure of Mark 1, Man wouldn’t have achieved this mission in Mark 2”. Failure is something very important to everyone. Even the bible has written in it “Failure is not limited to just a few, all men and women fail in life”. Without failure Man would not be what they are today.

Another aspect I found interesting in this book was perseverance. I found this aspect important because without perseverance Aron would have never been able to free himself. Aron showed incentive from the beginning and persevered till the last moment. He was determined from the first moment that the rock fell to the last moment. His determination and perseverance was the only thing that brought him so far in his journey. “I have been trapped for an hour and a half, hammering my knife against the boulder for about half the time”. This quote highlights, and emphasizes Aron’s perseverance to free himself, this quote shows that even though he is restricted and trapped he still has enough determination to both live and escape this trap. “I AM FREE, the most intense feeling of my life”. Aron shows lots of courage and lots of perseverance, this is shown by him amputating his arm and later escaping through the pit. Without perseverance a lot of today’s achievements wouldn’t be what they are. The aspect of perseverance is something we all can relate to. An example of this in today’s society is the known co-founder of the apple company Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs once quoted “you always hear about a long road to the top but perseverance isn’t limited to the early stages of a person’s career. Often, failure can occur after a long period of success”. Steve Jobs was at a stage of his life where he got fired from, the company that he created. The stocks dropped and the company began to fail but with perseverance and determination he did a miracle and now his company is one the top companies listed in the stock market, perseverance is important to everyone and without it you would never taste success.

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Idea of Perseverance in Between a Rock and a Hard Place. (2022, March 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 24, 2024, from
“Idea of Perseverance in Between a Rock and a Hard Place.” Edubirdie, 17 Mar. 2022,
Idea of Perseverance in Between a Rock and a Hard Place. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Jun. 2024].
Idea of Perseverance in Between a Rock and a Hard Place [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Mar 17 [cited 2024 Jun 24]. Available from:

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