Whether we realize it or not, we all practice survival on a daily basis. We seek shelter in our homes. We prepare food when we’re hungry and drink water when we’re thirsty. If we get too hot or cold, a simple touch of the thermostat adjusts our micro-climate with ease. For most, gone are the days of hunting and foraging for our food. We don’t have to worry about carrying water from the “crick” or gathering firewood for the stove. Major conveniences have made us soft. Could we survive if the power went out for a week due to natural disaster? Do we still have the perseverance and fortitude to survive in the face of adversity?
I believe Creek Stewart from “Fat Guys in the Woods” and “SOS How To Survive” fame says it best, “For thousands of years man lived wild and our triumph over Mother Nature defined who we were. We were rugged, we were strong and as we evolved, our ingenuity led to towering achievements. We secured our place at the top of the food chain and now we have the waist line to prove it.” Ouch!
Most of us live in the “zone”. The comfort zone to be a bit more precise. Although we all have different levels of comfort, most people take the path of least resistance, yours truly included. I guess there’s nothing wrong with living within your comfort zone, if that’s where you want to be. But two issues do come to mind. Firstly, if you never stretch outside your comfort zone, you limit your ability to improvise and adapt to situations that require us to live less comfortably. Secondly, a quote from Cade Courtley’s book, Seal Survival Guide, hits the proverbial nail on the head. “However, most of our daily comfort-zone rituals will leave us unprepared to deal with even the smallest discomfort and will certainly render us incapable of handling an emergency or life-threatening challenge.”
Now if you’re like me, you don’t enjoy change. Most of the time I prefer the status quo. I do not like to be stressed out, so I don’t make any attempt to create unnecessary hardships in my life . The obvious problem with this approach to life is, that it is unrealistic. Murphy’s law is always in effect. For those who may not know, Murphy’s law states, “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. And this usually happens at the worst possible time!
You see, life can be pretty challenging at times. Thanks Captain Obvious! What an understatement! These challenges can range from inconvenient, to devastating, to life-changing in their effects. Now if most of your time is spent in the zone of comfort, you may be likely to respond with a knee-jerk reaction. Have you ever said this before? “Why me?” Or, “Why did this have to happen? This always happens to me!” Again, I’m guilty. I can remember back to some of the those tough times and there was always a common thread in my attitude. I was usually blaming someone or something else for my misfortune. Nothing good ever comes out of having that kind of attitude.
So, what to do… Attitude adjustment? A new perspective? A proper frame of mind will give us the ability to accurately see things objectively. Sometimes we need to stop, assess the situation and see if we can’t possibly adapt or improvise in order to resolve our crisis. As in any survival situation, a good mental attitude is critical. We all know the rules of 3: 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. I’d like to add one more that I don’t see or hear too often, 3 seconds without hope. It’s been said that survival is 90% mental and 10% physical.
In life just as in a survival situation, you may feel like giving up. DON’T. Never, Never, Never give up! Seek help if you need it. We should practice our improvisational skills often. Be prepared and have a plan so when hardship does strike, you can dig deep and bulldog through it. Focus on those things you draw strength from and press forward. I believe Winston Churchill said, “if you’re going through hell…keep going!” (emphasis added)
At one of my low points, I found this quote. “If life doesn’t break you today, don’t worry, it will try again tomorrow.” I used it as the wallpaper on my phone declaring my state of pessimistic bliss. It was my banner of self-loathing. I now use that quote as an inspirational message, I know life will test me again tomorrow, and the next day and the next. But my perspective has changed. Instead of curling up in the fetal position and becoming the guest of honor at my own pity party, I now have options. Get outside my comfort zone, change my perspective, lean on a friend, or bulldog through.
– Creek Stewart photo from an article by Dave Thomas – http://bowhunterplanetcom.blogspot.com/2015/06/q-with-creek-stewart-host-of-weather.html
– “Life doesn’t break you” art from – http://www.thezooom.com/2014/04/15762/