(Military - Special & Task Forces Mindset Disciplines)

How to Survive (Almost) Anything: 10 Survival Skills

By Roy Maia

Most people believe that survival means having a pack full of equipment, food and water that would allow them to make fire, drink water, eat food and build shelter in the wilderness or in a disaster crises zone. Wrong.

During my years in extreme combat zones I kept coming across cases, in which someone had survived for a longtime  without any equipment, tools, food or water, and others had perished or died while in possession of all the right tools and survival needs. Obviously something else was at work here. After more than three decades of analyzing who lives, who dies, and why, in combat zones, disasters and in the wilderness, I realized that character, emotion, personality, styles of thinking, and ways of viewing the world and life had more to do with how well people cope with adversity than any type of equipment, tools or survival needs. Although I still believe that equipment, tools and survival needs are essential and good to have, but, most survival and combat writings and training leaves out the essential and powerful human element ďthe brainĒ in the equation. Thatís why over the years Iíve concentrated my efforts on learning about the hearts, the will to live and the survival mindset of survivors. You too can start developing these powerful mind tools of survival now. It takes time and deliberate practice to change. But new research shows that if we adjust our everyday routines even slightly, we do indeed change. The chemical makeup of the brain even shifts. To make these powerful mind transitions useful, you have to engage in learning long before you need itóitís too late when youíre in the middle of a crisis or a dire situation. Presented here are 10 concepts that have proved helpful to survivors in extreme situations, as well as to people trying to meet the challenges of daily life.

1)  Do the Right Thing

The mental, emotional and psychological attitude is the key elements of survival and winning. "Each step, each chunk must be as simple as possible.... Simple directed action is the key to regaining normal psychological functioning.  This approach can sometimes seem counterintuitive. And yet almost any organized action can help you recover the ability to think clearly and aid in your survival.

2)  Control Your Destiny

The importance of realistic mentality is evidenced in all survival statistics. This doesnít mean we should be overconfident. Rather, we should balance confidence with reasonable doubt, self-esteem with self-criticism. And we should do this each day. Your habitual way of reacting to everyday events influences your chances of being a survivor in a crisis."

3)  Deny Denial

Denial plays a large role in many survival accidents. Learn to Recognize your tendency to see things not as they are but how you wish them to be and youíll be better able to avoid such crises. See it as isÖFace Reality and Possibilities...Mind Games and Arrogance Costs LivesÖ

4)  Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Every new challenge you face actually causes your brain to rewire itself and to become more adaptable. Take tasks that require no thought and re-invent them so that you have to think. This bears repeating: Survival is not about equipment and training alone. Itís about whatís in your survival mindset and your emotional system. Living in a low-risk environment dulls our abilities. We must make a conscious effort to learn new things, to force ourselves out of our comfort zones.

5)  Be Cool

Acting cool is not the same as being cool. As the head of survival training for the Green Berets once said, "The Rambo types are the first to go." Siebert wrote in his book The Survivor Personality that "combat survivors . . . have a relaxed awareness." People who are destined to be outstanding in combat and survival situations will get upset when something bad happens, but they will quickly regain emotional balance and immediately begin figuring out what the new reality looks like, what the new rules are, and what they can do about it to win and/or live. In effect, losing your cool makes you stupid. Examine the way you handle yourself under pressure: Do you blow up when youíre stuck in traffic or when someone cuts you off? Are you able to accept failure philosophically and move on with resolve to do better next time? If youíre rejectedóin love, in business, in sportsódo you stew over it? Practice being calm in the face of small emergencies and detrimental situations and youíll be more prepared to deal with large ones.

 6)  Surrender, but Donít Give Up

The concept of surrender is at the heart of the survival journey. While that may sound paradoxical, it starts to make sense when you realize your limitations. If you are terrified, for example, you are more vulnerable in a hazardous or dire situation. "Donít be afraid of anything," if you are afraid, then you have to lock yourself inside your house. But if you want to keep on living, then you must forget about your fears and deal with death as something that is a must, something thatís going to happen anyway. Even if you donít die this way or that way, you will die normally, naturally.... Whatever [you] do, [youíre] is not going to change this." Once you surrender and let go of the outcome, it frees you to act much more sensibly. It actually puts you in a better position to survive, to retain that core inside of you that will never give up. A good soldier or survivor says: "I may die here. Iíll probably die here. But, Iím still alive. I must think, observe, analyze and make the right decisions. I am the only one that can change this situation and save my life. I must keep going anyway."

7)  Think Positive

Let me recount the story of Don Wilson, who was a member of the Green Berets when he was hit in his neck in combat. Wilson was completely paralyzed and had to use a stick held between his teeth to type a letter to his parents. Wilson wrote, "I view my life as being abundant with meaning and purpose. The attitude that I adopted on that fateful day has become my personal credo for life: A bullet broke my neck, it didnít break me." According to research, individuals with a "survival mindset"óthose who are not discouraged in the face of a challenge, who think positively, and who are not afraid to make or admit mistakesóare able to learn and adjust faster and more easily overcome obstacles.

8)  Donít Celebrate the Summit

Climbers learn this the hard way: Donít congratulate yourself too much after reaching a goal. The worst part of the expedition may still be ahead. Statistically speaking, most mountaineering accidents happen on the descent. Celebrating at the halfway point encourages you to let down your guard when youíre already tired and stressed.

9)  Know Plan B

When undertaking anything risky, always have a clear bailout plan. When formulating a bailout plan, itís important to establish parameters by which to make the decision. Whatever the criterion, make sure itís specific. Then, when youíre brainís not working well because of stress or exhaustion, youíll still make the right decision.

10)  Help Others

In a survival situation, tending to others transforms you from a victim into a rescuer and improves your chances. This phenomenon was documented in the Nazi death camps, where people who helped those around them stood a far better chance of surviving. Practice being selfless in daily life and it will become second nature when disaster strikes.

For "LIFE SURVIVAL MINDSET" Programs, please call Central 604-682-3269 Extension 8008 or Call Corey 778-823-6120

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