The anatomy of a survivor starts at the top, from head to toe. Without an individual is mentally prepared to survive a catastrophe, he will likely perish. In an apocalyptic life and death scenario, fewer than ten percent of people are emotionally equipped to survive. Survivors are mentally wired to assess the situation correctly, react quickly, accurately, and to make the necessary adjustments which a survival situation requires.
The question is: Are these people pre-disposed genetically to survival at birth or are they created from their surroundings and upbringing. This issue was studied extensively by John Leach, Author of Survival Psychology. His finds shown that survival is based on many times on the individual, but also the nature of the catastrophe that they faced. As Preppers, we face many threats ranging from natural disasters to man-made economic or societal collapse. Our ability to survive is enhanced by our level of preparedness. We have the confidence of knowing that the survival skills and preparationness supplies are available to us for the long haul of recovery. That said, however, a panicked prepper will not be a survivor.
The people most likely to survive an apocalyptic event share certain common exercises. Here are the most important:
WILL TO LIVE
As has been noted, survival is as much mental as it is physical. Under extreme circumstances, some people simply lose their will to live. There are countless stories of people who have survived terminal illnesses or serious accidents, frequently defying the odds. Leach notes that physical size and strength do not seem to be much of a factor. Consider the reports of people achieving super-human strength to lift a car in order to save a loved one. The human mind has the ability to take you to levels of strength that are unimaginable. One must have the will to live to survive.
ABILITY TO ADAPT, OVERCOME
Psychology Today states that "resilience" is "that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever". Rather than letting failure over them, they pick themselves up, dust off their pants and make lemon out of lemonade. They are able to regain their composition and emotional state of mind, then let things go. Resilient people actually gain strength from adversity.
CONFIDENCE SHOWN THROUGH DEFIANCE
Arthur Ashe, the great Tennis professional, once said "One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation." This is what Preppers do. We prepare. If you are confident in your preparations and achieved an acceptable level of self-reliance, then you are less affected by what is going on around you. Further, you are less likely to succumb to the will of a panicked group. In a survival situation, the natural tendency is to seek help from others. Sometimes seeking help is not necessarily the safe thing to do. A confident, well prepared prepper, can defy the group and have comfort in knowing that they can go it alone if necessary. The self-confident survivor is tenacious and prepared to defy the odds.
Be aware of what is going on around you. A survivor is not clueless. Situational awareness is the practice of being alert to your surroundings. Survivors have an internal radar going at all times, even prior to a collapse event. They are constantly scanning, assessing and making judgments about others. The survivor reads people quickly and assesses a threat, if any. They recognize a potential hazardous situation. They also have an innate ability to recognize when the crap has hit the fan. One key to survival is to get a leg up on the events which follow a catastrophe. The survivor recognizes the seriousness of a collapse event and reacts immediately.
Survivors trust their feelings and instincts. Survivors are logical, thereby able to make a quick analysis of any situation. Many times they will act instinctively, quickly, often before others are able to grasp the severity of a situation. Intuition is not magical – but rather is it formed from our past experiences and knowledge. It is difficult to define or quantify. The key is that you have confidence in your intuition and the survivor can not be afraid to make life saving decisions based upon it.
Survivors are creative problem solvers who can use their confidence and knowledge to bring people together into a survival group. Problems that may seem too difficult to overcome can easily resolved by survivors who have mastered this synergy. Synergy is the great force multiplier, dramatically increasing the survival of a group. Survivors can take one plus one and make it equal forty-three. Survivors are obvious take charge people. Survivors will use their problem solving ability to gain the confidence of the group and help them survive as well.
So the question again is: Are these hits something that a survivor is born with, or are these learned characteristics. I believe that while both are necessarily true, it is not too late for all of us to become survivors. The first step is preparation. Create a solid Preparedness Plan which will enable you to have confidence when the collapse event occurs. This is the first step in showing your desire and will to live. Next, practice being more aware of your surroundings. Study people. Watch their movements. Try to assess their background, attitudes, etc. This will enable you to develop an intuition about people and surroundings. Finally, study and learn about the threats that we face. Know the consequences of certain natural disasters or man-made catastrophic events. Role play in your mind how you would react to each. Do you have the supplies and tools necessary to survive such an event. If not, go get them. I wake up every day and ask myself: "If 'X' happened overnight what prep would I wish that I had the most." Then I go and get it. The first step to survival is preparedness. The second step is to get mentally prepared.
Because you never know when the day before … is the day before. Prepare for tomorrow.
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