The U.S. Navy ‘SERE’ school (short for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) teaches its students to endure under extreme duress, to suffer their abuse and use it to focus their minds on resistance. Many fail. The dropout rate for SERE hovers around 60%. Those few with the survival mindset succeed.
Similarly Navy BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) school teaches resistance as well. Resistance to failure. The whole ‘It pays to be a winner’ thing. The dropout rate for BUD/S is somewhere in the 80%. There have been BUD/S classes where not a single student passed.
Throughout the special operations forces of the United States military the story is the same. Only those who have the mental fortitude to ‘survive’ the training are ultimately selected.
These men and women all share a collection of traits that culminate in a mental fortitude that gives them the grit to persevere when others fail. It is this grit, this stubborn refusal to quit, the absolute commitment to do what it takes to get the job done that propels them through these exceedingly rigorous schools and ultimately it is a big part of what makes them such peerless warriors.
Mental toughness is absolutely crucial to survival. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you have to be a Navy SEAL to survive the apocalypse, only that above all other things, mental fortitude is likely to be the single most important trait that will mean the difference between survival, and the alternative.
What is mental toughness and how do you cultivate it? Mental toughness is the will to do what it takes to achieve a goal. It is not really about how you respond to extreme duress, but rather it is about how you respond to the small stresses.
Do you do 38 out of 40 push-ups and ‘call it good’?
Do you decide you’re too tired today to run 5 miles, so you only run 3, or 4?
Do you have that next drink at the bar when you know you’ve had enough already?
Do you put off filling out your status report until the last minute?
Mental toughness acts like a muscle. The more you work it, the stronger it becomes. The more you cave to pressure, the weaker it becomes.
Survival is HARD WORK. It requires discipline and perseverance even when you are exhausted and unmotivated. So lets re-visit the list above and consider some situations you might encounter when TSHTF;
Do you get up in the middle of the night to investigate a strange noise?
Do you hike 3 miles out of your way to fill your hydration bladder when you dont know where else you might find water?
Do you field dress your kill, even if ‘it is only a short drive home’?
Do you get up at 3am to take the last watch?
After a day working in the rain, do you strip and clean your weapons?
Cultivating mental toughness is simple; don’t give in. Do what it takes to get the job done, even if ‘the job’ is running five miles or cleaning your weapons.
This is the mindset of a ‘survivalist’. Just being here reading this tells me that at some level, this is your mindset as well. I mean come on; who plans on living through the EOTWAWKI? SURVIVORS do.