Underrated Talent: Survival
People who survive extreme circumstances
31st October, 2016
You hear about it all the time. From being stranded on an isolated island, having hillsides crumble beneath your very feet and falling thousands of feet from a moving aeroplane — these fatal accidents each have a unique story to tell. The one thing they share, however? The fact that they all are life-threatening, of course. These courageous survivors went against the odds and fought death to narrate their stories to millions. They say, “Sometimes even to live is an act of courage”. These people did whatever it took to prove the saying right.
When you are that segregated from humanity, the chances to keep your heart beating are exceedingly low. Food and water are absent, and to take refuge in a real shelter is impossible. Therefore, having venomous snakes creep up on you, scorpions crawling alongside your body and jaguars taking you off-guard comes as no surprise as one gets accustomed to this new “home”. Within the waters from which you may be sipping in order to prolong your life span reside deadly piranhas and ferocious, jaw-snapping alligators. Crickets, beetles and grasshoppers are your only friends and even they leave you whenever Mother Nature decides to sprinkle some water droplets here and there.
You may be equipped with appropriate tools for the expedition, but who is to say that these tools will miraculously follow you to your fate? About seventy-four percent of these unfortunate souls fail to survive, recent studies state. I go an hour without munching on an edible item and feel food deprived and starved. Needless to say that I would have probably been part of that seventy-four percent, so for these valorous beings to make it back home is an exceptionally big deal. Boiled sweets, peanuts and other snacks of the sort ran out almost instantly due to the immense hunger that was met and not welcomed.
One of the many downsides is how you have to nurse your own wounds. Your mother will not be present to tend to your cuts and broken limbs, so one needs to get the job done himself/herself. Your collarbone could be jutting out and your arm could be oozing with thick blood. What would you aid to? Your oozing blood — at least you can drink that. Extreme conditions call for extreme measures.
As Gandhi put it, “If I had no sense of humour, I would long ago have committed suicide”. Stay positive. Search for a bright side. Hunt for the humour in everything. What were the odds of you, out of a thousand people, surviving something so dangerous? What would it be like to go back home a legend? Those questions alone give you the drive to persist and continue life and to know that it is worth living. Psychology proves that people tend to find motivation in the mere fact that they will have a story to gloat about. Other than that, get to know your surroundings. For all you know, you may just be familiarized with the environment. Once acquainted with it, you will have a fair idea of how to go about your survival and eventual rescue.
Get help. Help will not magically come to you. The simple reality of surviving is magical enough. Rack up all the knowledge you have stored and ponder over it. Did your mother tell you to keep away from certain berries? What about the help-calling birds your biology teacher droned on about? Use it all to your advantage and make the most of it. You would have the faintest of clue of if inhabitants come by and if yes, then when. Not to mention that making use of every fibre in your body to let out a howl for help every once in a while will not hurt.
The next time you board an aircraft, go hiking or take a trip to the Virgin Islands, you will not have any reason to have your heart gripped with fear. Statistics show that majority of people embrace death, but do not do anything to fight it. But, what about the few that DID make it? What was their main weapon and survival tool? Hope. They grabbed onto it with all their might and continued to have faith. Remember: survival is a talent and you have got what it takes to make it out with a beating heart.