Pessimism: Are you a glass-half-empty kind of character? If so, your innate pessimism is the opposite of a positive attitude. We have all had that pessimistic, negative friend, co-worker or relative. They always see the bad side of a situation and often feel overwhelmed. If that’s you - suck it up and try to stay as positive as you can, while maintaining a firm grip on reality.
Panic: This is one of your worst enemies. Panic costs people their lives. If your fear seems overwhelming, find something small to focus your energy upon. A helpful task, or even focusing on your breathing, will help you maintain control of your mind and emotions.
Laziness: Get to work! Survival is not a vacation from your job. Being lazy and always seeking the easiest path will eventually cause you some serious trouble. You need to honestly look at your work load, pad it a little for some extra security and then get it done. Lounging around camp means that you are not out looking for food. Guess which lazy person will starve… you. Lounging around camp means that you are not building the most enormous bonfire signal beacon on the hilltop to alarm not only our government, but foreign lands as well. Guess which lazy person doesn’t get rescued… you again. Skimp on the size of your fire wood pile, and somebody’s going to have a long cold night. That’s you. In summation - don’t be lazy.
Ignorance: What do you mean, “I’ve never struck a match before, can you show me how.”?!?! Yes, I’ve had that guy in my classes. True story! And the guy who never used a sleeping bag before. And plenty of people who didn’t know how to close their folding pocket knife. Despite the wealth of information available to the world today, there are a lot of people who couldn’t survive their way out of a wet paper bag. It’s not stupidity. It’s just an appalling lack of experience. Yes, they can recite text from the latest survival guide, and they’ve seen every survival show on TV (twice!), but they don’t know how to strike a match, close their folding knife, put up their tent, or whether to go feet first or head first into a sleeping bag. Don’t confuse information harvesting with experience. Most people think survival skills are easy, because they look easy on TV. The majority of people also overestimate their ability to do anything physical. Don’t let anybody’s lack of knowledge and experience get you hurt (even your own lack). You need to know what to do, how to do it and how you have successfully done it before in order to survive.
Stubbornness: Don’t keep throwing lit matches into a poorly constructed fire lay. That’s stubborn. Sometimes stubbornness can be a real stumbling block for some people, and they have a hard time getting past it. Being stubborn can be a good thing occasionally, like being too stubborn to die. But more often, that stubborn streak will hurt you. Stubbornness is a refusal to adapt. That’s it. It’s very simple to identify. The causes of stubbornness, and what can be done to control it are very different and complex issues. Maybe you were born stubborn, or your ego says you cannot fail therefore you keep doing the same thing hoping it will eventually work. The thing to remember here is this. Don’t be afraid to change the game around. If something is not working, change it up. Don’t let your stubborn side kill you, or kill someone else.
And if that’s not enough, you can:
Follow Tim on Twitter @timmacwelch
Take one of his survival classes at www.advancedsurvivaltraining.com
and check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles at Outdoor Life Magazine’s survival site, The Survivalist.