Thursday, March 5, 2015

Setting your survival mindset

The subject of survival mindset is often  misrepresented lately.  Some people think that a survival mindset is to simply have the will to survive in an adverse situation.  While this is true, it is also a very incomplete statement.  Many people fail to understand that a mindset is a constant.  It is with you when things are not so adverse as well, but this type of mindset has to be developed constantly. Now I am not talking about survival skills here.  The skills certainly play a huge part in your success during a wilderness crisis but your mindset may be able to get you through a situation that you do not necessarily have the skills for.  I am going to list a few of the daily habits that help, in my opinion, a person to develop these skills and keep them tuned up and essentially "setting the mindset."

AWARENESS:  It is a very import survival skill to have situational awareness at all times. Recognizing a threat and removing yourself from a situation is survival.  If  getting out is not an option then at least being able to position yourself to the least danger and highest tactical advantage is an asset.  In order to develop situational awareness all you have to to do is pay attention.  Watch the world around you and learn its language.  By language I mean the patterns, the ebb and flow of the environment. This is called developing a baseline.  We do this naturally anyway but now you have to simply take mental notes of those baselines and it will soon become apparent when they are out of balance.  Of course I am over simplifying this.  It actually takes a lifetime to get the hang of, and at first can be mentally taxing.  Believe it or not you already do this but you may not understand what is going on.  As you walk down the street you are observing the other foot traffic and constantly making small adjustments to keep from running into people or stepping into other hazards.  Conversely, the person walking and texting slams right into people, garbage cans and even parked cars.  They have effectively turned off all situational awareness. 

LEARN PEOPLE HABITS:  This may not seem like a survival skill but it is amazing how much more clear the world is when you understand the people that surround you.   As a species we are all individuals but time and nature have conditioned the race of humans to respond a certain way to certain stimuli.  If you can pick up and read these patterns you are ahead of almost everyone around you.  My kids like it when we are driving in town and I go through a series of predictions about the vehicle in front of me.  By reading the patterns and measuring them against what I know to be true and a few educated assumptions I can predict what the driver ahead of me is going to do.  Because of this and a keen awareness I have never been in a car or motorcycle accident when I was behind the wheel.  Granted I have a lot of life left in me but I have avoided more accidents than I care to remember.   Last year I was out for a motorcycle ride with some friends and we were stopped at a gas station.  This old pickup truck pulled in just loaded down with firewood and I looked at my brothers and said "we don't want to be behind that guy,  that load is all wrong."  So we waited a while after he left.  Eventually we caught up to him on the highway and I signaled the others to pass him quickly. Just as we got beside him a couple rounds fell off and exploded on the highway.  That fool didn't even notice.  Had we not paid attention and been prepared that would have downed at least three of us at 70 mph on the highway.  Now rather than a funeral, we have a good close call story to laugh at. 

PLAY MIND GAMES:  Play with games like logic puzzles and mechanical process puzzles. These toys condition the mind to play out certain actions and predict the outcome.  It is a fact that this kind of play makes us more productive but it also makes our lives better.  It conditions us to see a problem and solve it.  To many people in this day and age see a problem and avoid it, only attempting to solve problems that they cannot avoid.  I approach everything as a puzzle and because of this almost everything that I own has been modified in some form or fashion.  I cant just buy something and assume that the person who developed it had all the answers.  I assume that they had a good start but there is always room for improvement.  So when I find a better way to use something or a way to modify it and make it better I just do it.  An example of how this helped me recently.  Yesterday when I finished my last Blog post I went out to change the transmission fluid in my truck.  This particular vehicle has no easily accessible fill port or dipstick for the transmission. It turned out that the fill plug is under the vehicle next to the drain plug which means that you have to pump the fluid up into the port rather than letting gravity do all the work.  So I grabbed some parts to try and make a pump.  It is a long way to town so I am not going just to get a fluid pump.  I modified an airbrush to do all the work automatically but it was very slow so I eventually modified a spray bottle with a piece of rubber fuel line, a drill and a bit of RTV.  It got the job done.  Granted, its not rocket science but I used what I had and modified it to make what I needed...that is in every way, the essence of survival and bush craft.    

I hope you enjoyed that little piece.  It is a long road to travel when you finally decide to let the gridlocked social systems stagnate without you.  Once you start to gain some momentum never let it go.  Develop it, streamline it and refine it.  Before you even realize it you will be living an independent life and nothing will be able to hold you back.  

As always, leave me a comment, join the conversation and share your stories in comments below.  I would also appreciate it if you subscribed to this blog by email and shared a link back here.  Thanks for stopping by and entertaining my muse.    

Be Well,
Norseman