Thursday, May 23, 2013

Keep Calm and Survive

I'm sure you've seen the "Keep Calm and Chive On" Shirts somewhere. This graphic is a parody to that. Keep Calm and Survive. Managing stress will undoubtedly help you perform better but it will also allow you to think clearly and execute your plan.

A few months ago Teton Sports asked me what were the most important things to remember in a survival situation. My answer was this:

  • Remain Calm
  • Accept the Situation
  • Maintain a positive attitude and will to live
  • Make a plan based on your current priorities and basic needs
  • Execute the plan
These guidelines will work for about any situation you may encounter. 

Stress comes from being in an abnormal or uncomfortable situation. It can be physical or mental. Physical stress can be remedied by exposing yourself to uncomfortable situations. Like sleeping outside when its cold or when raining. Or from being hungry for awhile. Eventually you will get used to being without all the creature comforts and will build up a resistance  In the Marines we are trained to become comfortable in uncomfortable situations. No matter how much we are hurting, cold, scared, tired- we push on without thought. How I overcome stressful situations is that I know that it will end at some point. It won't last forever and the discomfort is something I have to deal with for a short time (accept it). Make the best of the current situation and have a positive attitude and never whine or have pity for yourself. 

Having a will to live is critical. Think of it a sense that "I will not lose or be defeated". There are numerous accounts of untrained people (even children) surviving sure death. Why? Because they had the will to live. Develop yourself by accepting new challenges and do not accept failure if you don't succeed the first time. Pushing yourself beyond your physical limitations is one of the best ways to develop "will" (like distance running and not letting yourself quit). It's easy to quit when your tired and you want the "pain" or discomfort to stop immediately. Continuing on when you feel that will help overcome your natural instinct to quit.

Plans make everything easier. It gives you a system to follow by instead of shooting from the hip. "Shooting from the hip" strategies usually lead to stress and disorganization. Without organization we would still be living as cavemen. Develop a plan. Even if its not the absolute best plan- its a plan.

Execution is simple; follow the plan. It's okay if you have to improvise or adapt your plan. Things may not always work out exactly as you expected. Even if this happens don't deviate from or ditch your plan. Adapt it and make it work.

These steps work in overcoming about any situation (not only survival). Use them in your everyday life to work through challenges and it will pay off when your faced with some real adversity.

We will discuss stress, mindset, and skill set in future articles. 

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