Friday, August 19, 2011

The Will To Survive

As I review case after case of survival situations — whether it's in the wilderness, or in an urban setting after a disaster, or in an incident involving conflict such as an abduction — there is one common thread that ties all of them together.

It isn't luck.

It isn't age.

It isn't gender.

It isn't physical fitness (although that never hurts).

It isn't survival skill (although that doesn't hurt either).

It isn't experience in prior survival situations.

The one common element in all successful survival incidents is The Will To Live. The will to survive is what keeps people alive. It's the inability to say, "I quit."

It's some kind of motivation that creates an unwillingness to give up and die. That motivation might come from thinking about the family and having an overwhelming desire to live long enough to be with them again.  It might be raw stubbornness. It might be a wonderful faith in God that everything will work out okay, if you just keep going.

Whatever it is, you need to have it if you want to survive. Those who don't possess the will to live are the ones who die without a fight.

So, how do you develop a powerful will to survive? You have to be a fighter, a scrapper, a person who doesn't give up easily. Some folks seem to be born that way — they come out of the womb and hit the ground running. Others must work to develop these qualities.
  • Discover something about life that you just can't live without. It's your passion, your driving ambition, the reason you live. 
  • Develop self-confidence by thinking about all the successes you've had, and knowing that you can also succeed at whatever you're facing right now.
  • Work on a plan for what you're going to do when you get back home safely. See yourself actually doing those things. 
  • Take command of yourself, your thoughts, your attitudes, your actions. Don't lay down and play the victim. 
  • Learn to endure pain and misery without whining about it. Whiners whine so someone will feel sorry for them, and come to take care of them. They live an entitlement lifestyle, and they are not survivors. 
  • When things are tough, get up and do something about it. Plan your work, and work your plan. 
  • Do a little bit every day to improve your situation, then reach out and help someone else. 
Don't wait until you find yourself in a survival situation to develop a powerful will to live. If you're alive today, prove it.

1 comment:

  1. Oh face it, we have very little respect for life or we wouldn't do many of the things we do.

    But one of the few instructions we have when we arrive on this is - survive.

    We get lucky a lot with that.