Monday, June 21, 2010

Do You Have What It Takes?

According to Ben Sherwood, author of The Survivors Club, we all fit into a ratio he defines as 10-80-10. Figuring out where you fit among those numbers makes all the difference.
  • The first 10 represents the percentage of humans who, when faced with a crisis, basically go screaming down the trail like their hair is on fire. They panic, lose control, and end up as non-survivors. 
  • The number 80 represents the percentage of people who don't panic, but don't do much of anything. They freeze up, can't think, can't act, and they also end up as non-survivors. 
  • Then there's the final 10. That's the percentage of folks who instinctively do the right thing. Well, maybe not always the right thing, but they do something. And something is almost always better than nothing (or running down the trail like your shorts are on fire). 
This is an interesting book. It's full of stories of real survivors, and analysis of what they did to make it out of their tough situation alive. It delves into the psyche of the human condition, and makes an attempt to pick out those characteristics that will give you a better chance of survival.

This is not about wilderness survival. It is about surviving every type of deeply emotional and physical catastrophe — whether it's being trapped in the World Trade Center on 9/11, a diagnosis of terminal cancer, finding out you've lost all your family to a tragedy, or hearing the captain announce that the plane you're on is going to crash. It's about all the stuff inside you that determines whether or not you are a survivor. And there's a test you can conduct for yourself, to learn where you fall on the 10-80-10 scale.

Being a survivor isn't only about knowing what weeds you can eat, or how to catch a lizard for dinner, or where you can find shelter. In certain circumstances, those are important details about survival living under specific conditions. But you may never face a situation in which those skills will save you.

However, in every type of crisis situation, if you expect to survive, you must have what it takes on the inside. It's about emotional strength, the ability to remain calm, exercise clear thinking, set achievable goals, take action, and never give up.

It's about your ability to help calm others around you, to lead them to safety, to convince yourself and others that you're going to make it out alive. That's what makes a survivor, when all is said and done.

Despite what you see on TV, being a survivor is not about the public image you try to portray of being "a survival type" (whatever that means — maybe dressing like a native and walking barefoot ). The most important determination of whether or not you fit into the desired 10-percent is really what is on the inside of you.

I recommend the book.

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