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Survival of the Fittest (the 24-hour kind)

USA | Thursday, 10 September 2009 | Views [968] | Comments [2]

Photo courtesy of National Geographic Adventure

Photo courtesy of National Geographic Adventure

This article from the August 2008 National Geographic Adventure Magazine, How to Survive (Almost) Anything: 14 Survival Skills,” talks about everyday survival skills, with a few exciting survival stories thrown in. Mostly though, it emphasizes how a person's particular character helps them get through a stressful situation better than having all the best equipment, whether it's a serious emergency (car accident, plane crash, runaway elephant...) or simply a really bad day. It’s quite interesting to become aware of the mental habits you can change so the small things don’t seem quite so tragic.

I’ll elaborate on one point that hit home for me: Control your Destiny.

I'm a big believer in the idea that we control our own destiny and that this starts with the (highly clichéd) positive mental attitude. Many people think life happens "to" them, that the good as well as the bad simply come rolling in like an uncontrollable tide. They don't understand how to roll with the punches, stressing over the little things and yet refusing to change their habits or find a solution for the problem, intent that it will go away if they ignore it. At worst, spending so much time bemoaning their situation or dreading the future that they don't pay attention to the good things in between. These are the people who have a hard time surviving the bad days.

Is God, the universe, or karma causing this hardship, or is it a result of our own choices? By blaming unseen forces, we don’t have to take responsibility and we don’t risk accusing others who may get mad at us. We’re blaming an invisible entity and the one thing that nobody can effectively argue because we can physically prove neither existence nor nonexistence. Personally, I believe in the spiritual and that God has an interest in our lives, and I don’t doubt that he sticks a finger into the muck and stirs things up on more than an occasional basis. But there’s also this tricky concept of free will, which I interpret to mean that even though the unseen entity already knows what path I’m going to choose, I don’t know it, so essentially it’s still my free will – me making the choice and reaping the consequences, good or bad. Attitude in the midst of adversity is the same whether you call it God, karma, the universe, Mother Nature, or another name: If a boulder gets thrown in your path, it’s your decision whether to move it, walk around it, or whine about it. 

As for me, I have big plans (big), but I'm also in a place I enjoy. Whether I decide to stay where I am or embark on some new adventure, there’s bound to be boulders in the road, which will cause tears and strong language and long silent nights staring at the bedroom ceiling trying to figure out what the hell to do next. What I am certain of is that it will happen in 24 hour increments, and there will be more walking than whining.

Tags: musing, national geographic, survival

Comments

1

Hey packlightwalkslow,

We like your story and have decided to feature it this week so that others can enjoy it too.

Happy travels!

World Nomads

  World Nomads Nov 3, 2009 4:23 PM

2

Thanks Nomads! Glad you liked it - Wendy

  packlightwalkslow Nov 4, 2009 2:19 AM

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