When we think about survival or preparing ourselves to survive it means forcing ourselves to control fear, check your emotion and lose the ego. In order to really be prepared to survive, we need to foster a mindset that goes above and beyond the physical and learned skills, bush and trade craft.
I would not suggest that knowledge is not an important tool in your toolbox, It has been said more than a few times by more than a few people that know what they are doing that knowledge is a (or the) key to survival. When we consider our options, choices and outcomes it becomes clear that knowledge alone is not enough to survive. Think about all those people and stories of people who managed to survive the unthinkable with little to no survival training. There must be something within those individuals that allows, or rather, pushes them past the boundaries of the ordinary and forces them to accomplish the extraordinary.
You can take any example you like from any number of stories or new articles about people in life or death situations, but let’s consider one of the most popular. In fact a movie was made on the real story of the Uruguayan rugby team that crash landed in the rugged snow swept Andes. The movie is Alive and it is based on a real story.
Consider this group of men that had little if any actual survival training, practically no gear, you would not be alone to think they would have a very slim chance. These individuals had little food, no fire or heat source and didn’t have proper clothing or shelter for the freezing environment. However, despite unfavorable odds being heaved against them, many of those men survived and were rescued after pushing through over two months of unimaginable conditions.
Driven to Survive?
It is the opinion of many experts in life of death cases like the one above the key was mental attitude. Their minds refused to accept or ponder a scenario in which they were helpless. They refused to accept any reality or outcome where they might die. Instead, the survivors had an unbending will to survive. They were not going to let their situation dictate their outcome. To put this in the simplest terms, they chose to survive.
On the opposite hand, someone with all the training possible and provide them with every piece of survival gear for the situation, but without the will to survive failure is inevitable. In this case to fail means to die. Survival knowledge, bushcraft and other learning is important; the will to survive is, without doubt, the most significant factor in survival.
What is the mindset that will ensure survival?
When thrown into a survival scenario and individual is going to experience “mind killers”, extreme stressors that will negatively influence and impair thinking. Being overwhelming by the amount of stress of a survival situation, and how we respond to the stress, will be the key factor in our ability to survive any given situation.
Fears’ Negative Affect
In any situation, but especially a survival scenario fear usually affects an individual in two ways. First, are those that let fear dictate their actions and immobilize them to the point that they are unable to act or re-act. People like this are disabled by fear; to the point that they are unable to be decisive, until their indecisiveness takes them down.
Secondly, people who let fear drive them and their actions towards some unknown end. These people submit to their body’s natural reaction, and allow chemicals to take over. Often decisions come too quickly which compromises rational and critical thinking. Their downfall is the trouble that comes with quick, shallow decisions that can create bigger problems than sometimes they find themselves in, or escalate current negative conditions.
In both type of individuals, the base of their problem is fear and how it controls their minds and actions.
Mindset to Survive
It is important to note, we are in control of the keys to overcome stress and fear. The key to survival or success, in a stressful situation, is the ability to manage your mind, anxiety and fear. The ability to assume control of your mind is foremost to a person’s survival ability. The reactions a person will experience in a stressful survival situation, when focused and applied, can drive them into performing extraordinary tasks.
An individual can do a few things that can ensure their ability to handle and maintain control a stressful situation.
Leggo’ the Ego
A lot of people fall into this very common pitfall. The, “it will never happen to me” mentality. They fool themselves into thinking they have no fears, this is particularly common in men. Fear is thought of as a weakness to most guys to the point that some may never own up to it or take the time to analyze what does strike fear into their hearts.
Being the strongest man on earth would not allow you to escape your own bodies chemical reaction to stress and fear. Part of our DNA is hardwired as part of the human condition.
Pretending that you have no fear is not the answer or a solution. We must truthfully analyze what causes the most anxiety in a life of death scenario should we ever find ourselves there. In analyzing fear, we can start to train ourselves in areas of concern, and build the needed confidence to overcome our own unique fearful situations.
Cultivate Mental Positivity
Some people like to downplay the importance of building and maintaining a positive attitude. It is also one of the most difficult techniques to master. Positivity should be taken seriously and our ability to maintain that attitude during a survival situation will test the mettle of most. The great thing about positivity is we can all work on it now and test it wherever we go. There are almost no points in our day to day that we don’t have the opportunity to be more positive. As we find ourselves in more and more stressful situations we have a chance to test ourselves over and over in a variety of scenarios. It’s not easy, but once mastered it will be well worth the effort.
Train and Put into Practice.
When we are prepared for a situation we are less likely to experience fear and stress. Preparation comes through training and practice. As we do so we find that we become less likely to submit to fear and irrational behavior/thoughts. Over time and training we may even discover instead of simply not succumbing to fear we are controlling it. Not to be confused with we have no more fear, the fear may always be there, but we have learned techniques to bypass our natural reactions to it and we’ll be prepared to manage ourselves in our surroundings.
A majority of survival situations can be conquered by practicing basic techniques. With more training and practice comes a better response to physical and mental stressors. As we refine our responses we can being to gain control over our situations.