Monday, January 30, 2012


A very important key to survival experiences is your mental attitude.  I’ve studied many survival stories and I’ve been impressed at the difference a person’s attitude can make.  Some stories have been about individuals with virtually no wilderness survival training and without survival kits yet the person survived.   Having a will to live and to keep pushing on when the odds are against you is a crucial element to increasing your odds of surviving.  Of course, pairing up knowledge and tools to work with will increase the likelihood of survival even more if you keep calm and think things out with the attitude that you will get through the experience.  Keep in mind that you may experience a degree of discomfort yet you can survive discomfort too.  Almost every day we find ourselves trying to survive in many of the things we do.  If you are ever in a wilderness survival situation, keep in mind how many other experiences in life you have survived.  Think of positive things you can do to increase your ability to survive.  Make positive goals – don’t over do it though.  Think of positive things that you look forward to doing in life and think of people or places that are positive influences in your life.  Let these positives be a motivation to your survival.   Remember you are a positive influence to others who need you in their lives too.  Your mental attitude is an extremely important element to wilderness survival.  If you ever find yourself in a survival situation, remember – YOU CAN DO IT!!!

Attitude can present more dynamics to wilderness survival situations when you are with a group.  Some people may panic and they may be ill prepared mentally and emotionally to deal with a sudden wilderness survival situation.  They may even be ill prepared equipment wise.  If you are part of a group wilderness survival situation and you are dealing with people who may be prone to be panic which sometimes leads to impulsive and dangerous behaviors, keep in mind that you have the ability to share your positive attitude and work together to generally increase the potential of everybody surviving.  Generally, there is safety in numbers and better odds of coming up with great ideas when you put your heads together.

If you are considering taking a class in wilderness survival or going to a wilderness survival school, try to observe or learn about the attitude of the instructors.  Over the years, I’ve met people who considered themselves to be wilderness survival professionals.  Many of these individuals no doubt have lots of knowledge on the subject.  But, if the individual seems to have somewhat of a cocky attitude or a demeanor that belittles other people who are trying to learn, it is probably better to look elsewhere for a new instructor.  A good wilderness survival instructor wants you to succeed.  If you encounter an instructor with the attitude that they do not need to take precautions such as notifying others where they are going or they don’t need to take a survival kit with them because they have such vast experience and knowledge in the field of survival – it is likely best to avoid such people.  Such instructors will focus mostly on puffing up their own pride rather than focusing on  your ability to succeed.   I was in a conversation with my brother once about this and he stated that some wilderness survival instructors have the attitude that you’re not a real man if you can’t survive with nothing more than a toothpick and a comb.  This is not the right attitude for a good wilderness survival instructor. 

I recall several individuals I’ve watched on TV who were considered by some to be wilderness survival experts.   Some of them have even worked as a couple team in wilderness survival situations.  Although I think that these individuals all have some knowledge and some talent in wildness survival and a person can learn some good things from them, I also believe some of them were very poor examples in some of their actions and their attitudes.  One member of a couple team in particular I observed to be very negative and condescending toward his wilderness survivor companion.  Although they both seemed to make things work out by the end of each episode, I’m sure that his companion would almost have preferred to survive the wilderness alone.  Another so called expert who did a TV series was quite surprising to me in the fact that he frequently did incredibly dangerous activities that were very risky to his health.   One time he took a long jump from a cliff to grab onto a tree to try climbing down the tree when he could not actually see how far down the branches went and not knowing for sure if the branches would hold his weight.  The jump could have ended in death or broken bones – not good when trying to survive.  Although some people find this person to be entertaining wilderness survival (and in many ways he is), I would not recommend many of his ways because young people who watch him do risky activities may try to do the same thing and find themselves worsening their wilderness survival situation. 

While I’m not trying to find the bad in any of these individuals (really trying to keep a positive mental attitude) I would only caution against some of their attitudes and their poor examples.  Look for people who will give you a positive mental attitude and the skills to survive.
Next month I will be discussing what to do when you find yourself in a wilderness survival situation.    I will also present a list of topics I will discuss for each of the remaining months of 2012.  For now, just a reminder – YOU CAN SURVIVE.

Happy adventures,