Everything accomplished in life is powered by the will to do it. Take a minute to look back at some of your own personal accomplishments. Some of them required a lot of effort and concentration, while others required, comparatively, very little. The point is that all accomplishments require your own active input, first by concentration, or thought, and then by exerting the effort necessary to complete the task. This is even more true when applied to surviving against the odds imposed by nature.
- Grit, or the practiced ability to keep going, even when you don’t feel like it.
Let’s discuss effort first. Everything in a survival situation requires effort, and lots of it. Finding water and making it safe to drink or cook with, constructing and setting traps for wild game, building a fire and gathering firewood to keep it going, building shelter, keeping up with personal hygiene, making cordage, and on, and on. All of these activities require a lot of effort to complete. These activities must be well thought out and planned accordingly, or the chances of success are greatly diminished.
- Rule #1: You can survive 3 days without water. Actually, the time of survival can be considerable less, depending on the circumstances. For example, if you are stranded in the Mojave Desert and are active during the day time hours, your survival window may only be a matter of hours.
- Rule #2: You can survive three months without food. This is only true if you have ample water.
- Rule #3: You can survive three hours without shelter and fire. Again, this rule depends upon the type of weather your individual survival situation occurs in.
- Rule #4: You can survive three minutes without air.
We’ve broken basic survival skills down into 3 essential areas: 1) Fire making, 2) Water procurement, and 3) Shelter. Most survival situations last approximately three days and if you have taken the time to learn these three basic survival skills you will come through with flying colors. If not, the alternative many times is a terrifying death. So take the time to learn these essential skills, because you never know what lies around the next bend of the road…
Lastly, there is grit. Grit is the ability to keep going, productively, in the face of crushing depression, huge odds, deadly circumstances, and just do what needs to be done. It is the central ingredient of survival and will mean the difference between life and death. The best way to develop grit is to stay busy. Staying busy is not difficult in a survival situation, and this is the key: just stay busy. There are always traps that need to be mended, firewood that needs to be gathered, rescue signals that can be improved, etc.
By way of a parting thought, another added benefit to learning essential survival skills is confidence. Not reckless confidence, but the confidence born out of the knowledge that you have taken the time to learn and develop real skill and are physically and mentally equipped to confront survival situations with the odds tipped in your favor.