Saturday, February 27, 2010

On Maintaining a Positive Attitude

From reading discussion boards and other blogs around the web, it seems to me that far too many survivalists or preparedness-minded individuals place far too much emphasis on acquiring equipment and supplies, rather than developing useful skills and a survival mindset.  Others spend so much time dwelling on doom and gloom negativity to the point where I have to wonder why they would bother to try to survive at all.  If you talk to real survivors who have come through extreme circumstances and lived to tell about it, or if you read the first-person accounts many such individuals have published in books and articles, you will realize most survivors have one thing in common - attitude.  They survive because they have a burning desire to live and to triumph over adversity.

The right attitude often enables those with little in the way of training, experience or equipment to prevail in situations that would defeat most people.  I'm not saying that learned skills and the right equipment are not important - far from it.  But I do think it's extremely important to develop the right attitude early on in your preps and to keep a positive attitude.  Being positive about things is not the same as having your head stuck in the sand and pretending there is nothing to worry about.  It's possible to be a realist and understand the need for self-sufficiency and the survival mindset while still remaining optimistic.  In fact, optimism is essential if you are to attain any goal in life, much less survive an ultimate test such as individual survival in a real SHTF situation.

How do you develop this positive survival attitude or mindset?  I think the best way to do it is to set goals and and make up your mind that you will accomplish them, no matter what.  You can start with small steps, setting easily obtainable goals first to build up your confidence.  Then work on bigger ones.  Once you learn that you can accomplish your goals, you will gradually gain more confidence until you let nothing stand in your way.  This is the key to developing a positive attitude that will see you through a real test.

If it is survival skills that you want to master, start out by setting reasonable goals first and then move on to more difficult ones.  Pack your bug-out bag and head out to the nearest wilderness area to see if you can live out of it for a weekend - or a week.  Want to learn to identify and use local edible plants?  Take a field guide and go locate a new species you haven't used before next time you go on an outing.  Practice building fires in adverse conditions such as rain.  Make the parts for a bow drill and set a goal of learning to build a fire with no matches.  Already a proficient hunter with a rifle?  Learn to hunt with a traditional bow and arrows.  Then learn to make your own bows and arrows.  The accomplishment of each goal will make you a better survivalist and your attitude of confidence will grow stronger until it is unshakable. 

Most importantly, don't listen to those who say you can't do it.  How far would I have gotten on my long-distance sea kayak trips if I had listened to all those who said I couldn't paddle that far?  I ignored them and knew that the key was not thinking about paddling 3,000 miles or even 300 miles, but simply breaking camp each day and paddling my 20 or so miles that I could do before finding another campsite.  Likewise, I would have never bothered to write my first book, much less the five I've written, if I had listened to all those who said it's too hard to get a book published these days.  And what were the chances of getting a new survival book published now with so many excellent titles already out there?  But I did bother and I knew I could make it happen because I set a goal that I was determined to accomplish.  You can too, whatever that goal may be.  But if you don't believe you can do it, then you can't, and if you don't believe you can survive, you won't, and reading about it and collecting gadgets and gear is just an indulgence in fantasy.

For more on what separates the survivors from those who don't make it, check out Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why, by Laurence Gonzales.  This is an interesting and eye-opening book on the subject of the survival attitude and mindset.  This post is also just the beginning of my thoughts on this and related subjects.  Look for much more here in posts to come as I want to dispel some of the myths and bad information going around that it seems to me does nothing but instill a feeling of hopelessness in many people.

2 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more. It's all about attitude. Preps are just tools that make it easier. But they are not the end all or be all.

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  2. Fantastic post. Absolutely my philosophy and I couldn't have said it any better. Thanks for the link to Deep Survival. It will probably be my next read. "Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. And so, we are in charge of our attitudes." - Chuck Swindoll.

    I don't see a lot of posts like yours, keep it up and nice job.

    Bob Mayne

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