Survival isn’t always about the gear you carry…

Hello everyone, this is Rob Raskin of Las Vegas, and this week I’d like to talk to you about what it takes to be mentally prepared to survive a disaster. We’ve all heard stories of people who went into the wild with a lot of planning and equipment and then perished. We’ve also heard unbelievable stories about people who found themselves in life-threatening circumstances with no preparation and made it out alive. What’s the difference between those who make it and those who do not?

Your most powerful and reliable survival tool isn’t something you can buy: It’s your mind. Even when you have no gear, no supplies, and it seems like you have no chance, as long as you are mentally tough you have what it takes to get through it. Often, to get others through it with you as well. Conversely, even with the most high-tech, sophisticated gear and weapons, if you’re mentally weak and you can’t handle pressure, you may very well be doomed.

Traits a True Survivalist Must Have
Here at CATS2010, I have shared an ongoing series of riveting survival stories that have captivated my attention. Despite harrowing odds, these individuals survived because they shared the following traits.

• The ability to embrace learning – A true survivalist reads, researches, practices, seeks out mentors, and looks for new ways to do everything. If you’re never satisfied the first time because you know you can do it better, this describes you.

• A positive mental attitude – A true survivalist knows a defeatist attitude is the first step in…well, defeat. You are going to make it because your mind is sharp and you know how to stay focused, without letting ego, fear, stress, and emotions get in the way.

• A commitment to self-care – How are you going to survive if you aren’t strong enough to endure? The simple answer is, you aren’t. A true survivalist stays in shape by running, lifting, hiking, climbing, swimming, and doing whatever they can to keep strong and active.

• A community they are a part of – Your chances of survival are greatly increased if you don’t go it alone. When the SHTF, you’ll want a trained team behind you, each of whom brings a skill to the table. A true survivalist knows how to build, nurture, and maintain these alliances.

• The motivation to push through the worst of it – A true survivalist will persevere after others have thrown in the towel. Your mental toughness and refusal to give up will not only keep you alive—it will help the people around you to survive.

• Natural leadership ability – A born survivalist is a born leader. You know how to cut through the BS and get straight to the heart of the matter so you can do what needs to be done. People look to you for guidance because they know you can be counted on.

• The ability to be adaptable – Throughout the history of the planet, organisms that could not adapt and evolve have died out. This will include you if you can’t identify what is worth keeping and what you need to let go of if you want to stay alive.

If you see these traits in yourself, you’re off to a great start and likely to survive the worst. If not, it’s not too late to develop these traits now, but someday soon it may be. Time to get started!

How to Develop the Survival Mindset
One of the best ways to develop the strong, positive survival mindset you’ll need is to practice endurance techniques. Push your body and your mind beyond anything you’ve previously expected of yourself. Workout harder. Run farther. See how long you can tolerate immersion in cold water. Use visualization and meditation to focus and picture yourself overcoming obstacles. Step outside of your comfort zone and do something you always said you would not.

One exercise you may find helpful is to picture various disaster scenarios and imagine how you would react. What would you do if there was a terrorist attack wherever you are right now, using whatever is at your immediate disposal? Would you be able to defend yourself? Would you be able to help others? Do you know where the escape routes are? Do you know which rooms can be locked? Once you consider the possibilities, it becomes obvious there is a lot to mentally prepare for.

On top of the possibility of terror attacks, Americans today face social unrest, EMP strikes, natural disasters like flash floods, earthquakes, and tornadoes, and more. Once you have trained your mind to think and react like a survivor, you will have a significant advantage over those who weren’t prepared.

The late Colonel Jeff Cooper discusses mental conditioning for combat.

You can cultivate a survival mindset.