Monday, June 29, 2009

The Survivor Mentality

People seemed to have enjoyed my “Thinking Outside the Box” post so I wanted to do a bit more on the survivor mentality or as it is more commonly known, psychology of survival.

Simply put there are two types of people:
The Survivor: The smart, mentally strong individual who takes the bull by the horns. This person may not be strong physically; physicality seems to have less to do with survival than people think. It is the person who can keep his emotions in check, assess the situation, think outside the box, and take a lead in making their current state better than it was just a few minutes ago. This person’s forte is solutions.

The Victim: This person blames everyone but themselves for their situation in life, they have either had a bad upbringing, been a victim of the system, and they are always looking to “others” as a solution to their current state. This person could conceivable bench press 400lbs, but it makes no difference because their state of mind will lead to their downfall. This person’s forte is making excuses.

What separates these two groups is not training, strength, ability, intelligence or any of those obvious things we look for…it is initiative and common sense.

The guy picked last when choosing sides for the football game when you were a kid…that guy with initiative, common sense and the survivor mentality will outlive the captain of your high school football team all day long.

There have been books written on the subject but if I had to sum it up in one sentence it would be:

“If you have the will and the mentality to survive, you shall.”

We have all seen it; the guy you swore would be a rock under pressure collapses faster than Orson Wells running the New York City Marathon. He may have the physical toughness, but inside he has the mental toughness of a 3 year old screaming for mommy.

Nothing irritates me more than people who make excuses. Dennis Miller said it best, “I will help the helpless, but I am not going to help the clueless.” Everyone at some point in their life had a bad time of it, it is what we have made of that bad situation that separates the winners from the losers; the survivors from the victims. If you lay down and die and from that day forward, blame everyone else for your short comings, then I have no use for you and Darwin will rectify the situation eventually. I will help people who for some reason or another have had a bad time of it and need that helping hand to get them back on track. I damn well expect you to work for it though; there will be NO free rides.

One way to start this transformation from victim to survivor is to eliminate the word “BUT” from your vocabulary. There are no “BUT’s” just take control of what you can and make the best of what you can’t! Stop making excuses and blaming everyone back to your great-great-great uncle who was the alcoholic that beat his kids. You being a putz has NOTHING to do with him and if your parents were incompetent, well you have my sympathy but you are an adult now and it is time you take control and responsibility for your actions or lack thereof.

After eliminating “BUT” from your vocabulary you need to do if establish your belief system. What do you believe in? And why? With those beliefs in place you now need to make a decision on what you want to do with your life; do you want to be a survivor? If you do then you need to toughen up mentally. Do the self assessment like I said in the “Think Outside the Box” post. Take control over your life and your situation. Decide what you want to be ready for and put a plan of action into place.

Learn all you can by reading and then get your butt in gear and have at least 72 hours worth of provisions ready for your family in the event of a problem. Get a “go-bag” put together for each family member in case you need to bail out quickly.

Get your financial house in order. Get out of debt and start saving your money. This will help release you from the bonds on consumerism and allow you to focus on more important things like preparations.

Dogs can be taught new habits after a lifetime of bad ones, so can human beings. Reward yourself when you do well and punish yourself when you fall off the wagon. I cannot stress enough; if you rely on others you will be profoundly let down when you need it most. The Fedgov is not going to come rescue you, they will be focused on the population at large (when they get around to it), individuals will be on their own when the SHTF.

For those of you who thinks I am nuts, it is not a matter of IF there is the next national disaster it is WHEN. You can pick your poison but the shit will hit the fan somewhere, just make sure if it is in your neighborhood, you are ready.

...that is all.

 Subscribe to Be A Survivor and Follow me on Twitter

Buy Be A Survivor stuff! ~ Donate to Be A Survivor! ~ Join "The Survivalists"!


  1. Great book on the survivor state of mind (you've probably already read it): Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales.

    My key takeaway from the book (and my Army experience backs this up) - Anyone trying to prepare for a survival situation should embark on a campaign of self-inflicted pain.

    He's not talking about cutting yourself or anything like that - just intentionally make things more and more difficult for yourself. Teaches you initiative, common sense, and helps with mental toughness.

  2. RS,

    Deep Survival is on my bookshelf and was a good read.


  3. Great post Flea. You hit the nail on the head.

    Kentucky Preppers Network

  4. Preach on, Flea!

    If I had to sum up in one word what has caused the demise of our society today, that word would be "Entitlement."

    Too many people expect solutions to just be handed to them. We've forgotten how to do for ourselves and how to think for ourselves. We think the government is supposed to cover our asses and bail us out. Prime example: Katrina.

    It's not going to come to a showdown between the haves and the have-nots. It'll be the survival of the do-somethings versus the do-nothings.

  5. You can see this principle in action on the Survivor television show. Some of the biggest most muscular contestants will lose physical contests to dumpy fat guys who won't quit. It's attitude that is the most important.

    Yeah, I know TV sucks, but there's a lot you can learn from certain programs.


  6. Anon (Jack),

    The point you make is perfect and exactly what I am talking about. TV is useless, like you say but in many cases it imitates life more than we know.


  7. TennZen,

    Yep...entitlement is what is wrong with America. People think it is their God given right to have whatever it is they WANT. Wrong people, get your ass out there and WORK for it.


  8. Great post. I agree about the survival mindset being of utmost importance. The same as a person lost in the woods. The first thing they tell you to do is stay calm and think rationally. Don't panic. Same here. People tent to flip out when their world is rocked a little. A good reminder to us all. Thanks!

  9. Hit the nail on the head with this one!!!

  10. Very good post. You are correct that the mind and the will are a persons very best survival tools. It seems to me that more and more people in the survival community are coming to this realization.

    Keep up the good work,

  11. I am loving your posts right now! This couldn't have been said any more honestly, thank you for manifesting it into words...... and for the record, your no where near nuts as you are brilliant for speaking the truth. You have my deepest respects.