We use and hear the word “survival” quite a bit, but I’m not sure that we always think of it in its truest sense – surviving a life-threatening situation. I think we tend to use it more casually, as in, “I survived my final exams,” or “Glad to see you survived the last cut at work,” or “Hope I survive my mother-in-law’s visit this weekend.”
To really get a sense of what survival is all about, I think we need to look to the U.S. military, which trains its soldiers in that exact exercise. Our big choice of the day sometimes might be which energy bar to consume, while a soldier stuck behind enemy lines might be desperately trying to find drinkable water before starting to experience the effects of dehydration. And just as important as dealing with the physical aspects of survival are the mental and emotional components. How someone handles the stress that results in fear, anger, frustration, depression, loneliness, boredom or guilt will go a long way to determining whether that person survives.
I’ve discovered a link to very detailed U.S. Army survival manual. As you can imagine, it’s pretty long, so you may want to check out the Table of Contents to determine the sections you really want to focus on. But if you have time, I’d recommend reading the entire manual because it includes a lot of great training material.
The authors talk about many important components of survival, including developing a survival pattern that enables one to defeat the enemies of survival. They focus on the essential elements including food, water, shelter, fire, first aid and signals, then spell out information about survival kits, survival medicine, water and food procurement, fire craft, plants, animals, weapons, tools, equipment, camouflage and much more.
This manual is very comprehensive, but are there any other thoughts about survival that you’d like to share? How important do you think the mental aspect of survival is? Do you have any survival techniques that are not included in the manual? Let me know your thoughts.