How hard is it to survive harsh conditions with willpower? Survival Manuals make it sound so easy!

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by survivalmonkey, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. survivalmonkey

    survivalmonkey Monkey+++

    I read my share of survival manuals and survivalism in general.The one prime thing they always repeat is "Never Give up no matter how hopeless it seems!!!" and "Keep it in your mind you WILL SURVIVE and you will!!!".

    Now just a few days ago I was falling asleep on bed.However just before I fell sleep I felt the need to drink some water. I was already at least near the edge of falling asleep but my conscious was enough to think of waking up to drink water.

    However despite my conscious being alert, IT TOOK ALL MY ******* WILLPOWER just to prevent myself from falling asleep and it wasn't until after exceeding the most effort I could force upon an action that I finally was able to wake up and then get out of the bed to drink water.

    Indeed I was so mentally exhausted from this struggle that I quickly went back to sleep.

    But this seems to make me wonder. If it took all my mental effort and concentration to just keep myself awake and if I was forced to exceed what I thought was possible of my willpower, how ******* hard would it be to keep your mind optimistic and in the "I WILL SURVIVE!!!!" mentality?Especially if you're already near-death (like just suffered from days of starvation and dehydration while traveling in the wilderness)?

    I mean Survival Manuals make it sound so easy to have this "I will SURVIVE" mentality. I have to wonder about this. If it took all my might just to prevent myself from falling asleep, what more for the average Joe in the Western World who require all his mental effort and discipline just to do a basic unpleasant habit like exercising 30 minutes a day to stay fit or watching what you eat? I mean for the average Joe such simple tasks are incredibly hard enough and often require all of their willpower!

    What more if they're put into survival situations?How will they be able to get that Survival Mentality that Survivalists and the Survival Manuals they write espouse if they can't even get basic healthy habits right?

  2. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    We have a friend and member, Frank. L. Ticious, Esq., Attorney at Law, who had a habit of downloading volume upon volume of information but never took the time to actually study and was, consequently, totally unprepared to fend for himself when the need arose. However, it didn't take too long before he was fully engaged in the art of survival and, by sheer determination (and a little good luck) was able to overcome,or at least circumvent, the obstacles to his success.

    I don't think one can merely "will" them selves to survive but faced with the prospect of not surviving, the body and mind can accomplish more than might be reasonably expected.
  3. HOP

    HOP Monkey+++

    I think will power can keep you from just laying it down but sooner or later you are going to need food, water ,heat and shelter from the elements .
  4. JABECmfg

    JABECmfg multi-useless

    I would say that Frank did not just survive, he thrived - in legendary fashion, at that!

    As far as the "will" to survive and the ability to overcome, I agree with RH - you'll be surprised what you can do. Furthermore, I don't think you need to put yourself in a life or death situation to experience that ability or accomplish more than you thought yourself capable of. Ever had anything go not as planned on a camping trip? Broken down in the middle of nowhere, with no cell service? It's a real pain, but rarely a matter of life or death. There are a lot of situations that will test you, where you can sharpen your ability to overcome, without actually risking your life. It's hard to describe, but to be unexpectedly challenged and to overcome that challenge on your own, is a rewarding experience.
  5. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Do you have anything to live for? Any fool can die; it takes the will to live to make you fight. Actually surviving is never a certainty, however.

    Although your will to rise from bed to drink water falls in the same category as willing your body to obey in a survival situation, they are each separate. In a life or death situation, you would have to choose to fight or give up -the consequences for failure would mean death. Since you were merely dehydrated, and a person can last several days without water, your life was not in jeopardy. Honestly ask yourself if you would have died if you had not risen to drink some water that night. This is the difference we must carefully consider: to live or die. If this absolute presents itself, a choice must be made. Why is it that people die in a survival situation, then? There are many factors at play here, from ignorance (not realizing there is a threat), to complacency, even stubborn pride can play into it. I like to think that many, when confronted with a life or death situation choose to live and their will to survive rests hand-in-hand with a proper assessment of the situation. So, you see...what I am trying to illustrate is that the most common reason for death in a survival situation is not losing the will to live, rather it is ignorance, complacency and being too prideful.

    An example of ignorance: "I feel warm right now, I do not need to seek more adequate clothing, shelter or build a fire. I will wait until I actually feel cold."

    An example of complacency: "The electricity will never go out longer than a few days. There's no need to prepare beyond this point."

    An example of pride: "Ick! Who wants to eat bugs! I am a human being, not an animal."

    And the will to survive can bring you past once commonly held barriers, offering the individual the chance to succeed even when there remains little hope. A closer example to your late night water incident would have been the indication you had no water nearby and had to locate it before you collapsed in the Arizona desert. Upon stumbling around for a full day or two, you finally reached a closed gas station and deposited your last $1.00 into the machine, but it didn't return a bottle of Dasani. Mentally crushed, you looked around and there was nobody in sight. Remembering your survival training, you tore off a piece of plastic and dug a hole, urinated in it and placed a small tin can with the top cut off at the center of the hole. You placed the sheet plastic over the hole, covered the edges and plopped a small stone at the center and sought shade. The moral of this story is, you never gave up. This is survival. How it all ends is in the hands of the universe.
    chelloveck and RightHand like this.
  6. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King |RIP 11-4-2017

    Belief that you will survive doesn't necessarily guarantee success...

    But belief that you will NOT survive pretty much guarantees failure.

  7. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    This seems appropriate

  8. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

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