Updated: Apr 7, 2020
What does it take to have a survival mindset? There are people who refer to the survival mindset as a will to live, but it is so much more than just a single factor. People with this set of mind are usually the once who fought through a very difficult time and feel that they ALWAYS have to fight. They are able to deal with a very high levels of stress. They learn how to become a predator instead of a pray and they can adapt to any situation no matter what life throws at them.
For the length of time humans were developing different skills in order to survive. Perhaps overtime we have lost some abilities that were normal day to day life for our ancestors. Different times, different places on earth, each has offered us a different set of potentials. In todays world we have to acquire unique capabilities depending on continent, country, city or even neighborhood we live in. Imagine yourself in a Stone Age where there is no grocery stores, running water, electricity and who am I kidding even fire. People had to catch their food, and stay alive at the same, but on the another hand they would have not been as lost as we are today if bad weather happens. Over the centuries our survival skills have changed. From mud and sticks we have evolved to technology and have become effectively dependent on it. Its why I would question if evolution is the right world I could use here. Devolution is creeping into my mind even though I know I could expose myself to many critical opinions for this kind of thinking. But imagine this: if you would have the ability to take a child from prehistoric times and plant it into 21 century, would you think that this child would grow up different then other children already born here? Or vice versa if you would have taken a newborn child and return him to the Stone Age, would he be able to grow up and feed himself and his family or would he be totally dysfunctional because he has no access to google? Thing is, it doesn't matter! We humans did not change. Our worlds have changed, and that is the single element that has altered our survival skills.
The only factor that man kind has always had and never lost is the emotions. Whether you're from the Stone Age or 21st century, whenever our emotions are triggered our bodies are instantly and unconsciously affected in a specific way. To be healthy and functional, we need to be able to feel and connect to all of our emotions at different times. No matter where or when you're from, and no matter what skills you may posses in order to survive and exist it doesn't have a lot of meaning if you don't posses the survival mindset. This is the real power behind human existence. The survival mindset is preparing us for the unexpected, unpleasant emotions like fear, disgust, panic, surprise, confusion, hesitation etc. Survival mindset doesn't allow these negative emotions wreak havoc on your life, your relationships, and your stress levels. A surviver is well aware of any situation and is prepared for the day they hope it never comes. To explain the mindset better I will use emotion of fear as an example. Fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat. It causes change in metabolic and organ functions and ultimately a change in behavior, such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing. However when an individual with a survival mindset experience the feelings of fear and panic they focus more on people that depend on them instead of their own emotions. They know that people relay on them, whether it is family, friends or even co-workers and it is enough to keep them going and not give up. This is the mental focus of a survival mindset. They push fear and panic responses into the background or keep fighting to overcome any obstacles in the way of survival. You can compare this to fight-or-flight response.
People with survival mind are good to have around but as always grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Survival mindset is awesome if it walks hand in hand with a healthy mental balance. If not we can deal with an aggressive individual who sees threat everywhere they go. Aggression is a commitment to do whatever it takes to survive and keep your attacker from being successful so you are able to return home safely. It’s like a focused weapon you’re trained to use with precision and directionality. It is determination paired with violence. Aggression doesn’t quit until the battle is over. Even when you’re tired, aggression helps you re-focus again and again. On a long run it can be exhausting and damaging to your physical and mental health. Imagine the feeling that everything is urgent, your back is against the wall. There’s no joy. Your goal is to avoid having a terrible day. Everything is a reaction. You’re never proactive. You’re never one step ahead. You bounce from response to response. Ufff... I got tired only from writing this statement.
If you ever find yourself in this spot, take an honest look at your situation at the moment. We’re proud of our strengths and our self-sufficiency. We’re embarrassed when things break down. But remember that it is always OK to ask for help. When you ask for help, it seems you will end up being the one obliged to them, and hence in a position of weakness. Yet the reverse often happens, that the person becomes more willing to help. This is because in helping you, they become more attached to you. It feels good to help, and when helping is easy, you get that boost for little cost. You also get the good-feeling gratitude of the other person.
To truly be ready to survive, you need to cultivate a mindset that goes far beyond just having the skills to survive. The ability to maintain a positive mental attitude during a survival situation is something that needs to be taken seriously. It’s also something that you need to start working on now. Being able to maintain a positive attitude in a stressful situation takes practice. It’s not an easy thing to master, but once you do, it will be well worth the effort.
Stay tuned for the next article where I will be discussing the third and the final - Thriving Mindset.