I don’t like to be the Doom and Gloom guy, but I do a lot of thinking about various topics and something the other day got me thinking about this: not everybody has the will to survive when things get tough. I’ve heard people say things like, “I don’t like camping. I can’t stand to be without electricity,” or “If civilization ended I’d kill myself,” and statements to that effect.
Now, if it doesn’t get bad then this is a wasted train of thought, but if civilization does go to hell then at least you’ve got a little thinking done about the subject. So with nothing to lose except our happy thoughts here we go…
This is as much about mental toughness and the will to survive and persevere as it is about surviving after TEOTWAWKI or in a SHTF situation. For example, people who have been lost at sea have struggled and fought and survived when common sense said there was no way they could. Yet they did. If you want to talk about mental toughness and making hard decisions take a look at Aaron Ralston. He went hiking without telling anyone where he was going (bad decision) and wound up getting his arm trapped under a boulder way out in the middle of nowhere. Did he give up and die? Heck no. HE CUT OFF HIS ARM WITH A MULTI-TOOL and hiked out!!
In the movie “The Road” the man’s wife decides she can’t go on like that any more and walks out into the cold with the intention to die. Now, if you’re reading this blog I highly doubt that you fit this description; however, you may know someone who does. If that someone is your significant other you have some hard thinking to do. You can try talking to this person about why they feel that way, but you might also want to prepare yourself for the fact that they might decide not to be around if things get tough.
It may be that if/when TS does HTF that person will toughen up – mentally as well as physically – as we all will. It may be harder for them, but they might step up when they’re needed the most.
Then there are the people who won’t want to. It’s a shock when you take away someone’s lifestyle. Some, I’ll even give humanity the benefit of the doubt and say most, people will come around and do what needs to be done. But when some people’s luxuries and status and importance are taken away it’s hard to say how they will react.
Since I don’t want this to be all about negative thinking today I’d like to share a story from my own life about when TSHTF and a little trick I employed to manage the situation. As many of you know I broke my leg hiking on the Appalachian Trail about five years ago. I wish I could tell you how brave I was when it happened and how I jumped up and hiked out on the broken stump, but alas, that wasn’t the way it happened.
Right after the fracture, as I was laying there with my head burrowed into the wet forest floor clenching my fists in agony, I had a quick mental image of all the things I had to do to get out of there. Take off my pack, splint my leg, make my way back down the trail, etc etc. It was like a tidal wave of information and nearly overwhelming. I had an ultimate goal to shoot for and that was to get to the hospital for medical treatment, but there was a hell of lot of stuff to do between where I lay with my head in the dirt and that nice clean hosptial room with the pretty nurses and the helpful doctor.
Here’s the trick I used: break the whole thing down into manageable steps. This was something I read in the book, “Touching the Void,” <– (movie trailer on Youtube) where a climber falls and breaks his leg and then manages to get off the mountain by himself. It’s an amazing story.
Quite honestly, I never thought I’d be applying that technique to my own predicament, but there I was. So what I did was first focus on getting the pack off. This is easy when all your parts are working normally, but it takes on a new complexity when the slightest twitch can put you in agony. Once the pack was off I focused on making a splint. To make the splint I needed sticks, twine, a piece of my sleeping mat, and so on. Each step is broken down and that becomes the sole focus until it’s done and then you focus on the next step without looking too far into the future.
If you ever feel like giving up or know someone that feels like giving up – no matter what the situation – use this technique and you’ll be surprised at how well it works. If you’re out jogging and feel like quitting say, “I’ll just jog two more telephone poles,” and when you get there set another goal to the corner or whatever. This can be applied to nearly any situation that I can think of. It works!
How do I know? I’m still here ain’t I?
Your Jarhead Survivor five years ago. Still alive and kicking!
Could you get tough if the chips were down? Are you a survivor?
Happy Presidents Day!