S.U.R.V.I.V.A.L. is the Name of the Game

Mind over matter is a phrase most people have heard. Along with that, most people who have any formal survival training have learned of the acronym “S.U.R.V.I.V.AL.” and were taught to refer to it in times of crisis. This acronym is based on the concept of “Mind over Matter.” No matter how awesome the tools are, what gear is available, how well one can shoot, or how far they can hike with a pack, none of that matters if the mind fails, despite the body remaining strong.

Size up the situation: This is the first step of controlling one’s mind and finding the resolve to remain calm and mentally strong. The moment it is evident that you are lost or are in a dangerous situation, STOP. Figure out what you know to be true. Evaluate what tools you have that can help you and develop a plan to solve the problem, evade or defeat the threat, or otherwise survive.

Undue haste makes waste: Did you make your plan? You understand what the problem is and you are now ready to solve it. Hold on there. Are you sure it is a good plan? Don’t start walking until you are sure that plan is a good idea. Is there ominous smoke in the direction you want to go? Is the wildlife fleeing that area? What threats could be ahead of you that you have yet to consider? Take an extra moment after you size up your situation and be sure this is the best plan you can have. This is not to say that you should be indecisive or that if an imminent threat is upon you that you do nothing and have a debate with yourself over nonsensical talking points. Rather, this means to not move faster than is prudent and necessary. If you have a day’s worth of water, the weather is good, you have a full stomach, and are not injured, don’t rush off just for the sake of it.

Remember where you are: This means to get that map and compass out if available and plot your location, and to do it often. If you don’t have that ability, Do the best you can with what you know and keep track of how far you have traveled, what types of terrain you have crossed, and remember why you chose the direction of travel you are headed. Situational awareness is the key here. Always update what you know about your location, where you are headed and why.

Vanquish fear and panic: This is easier said than done, but is non-negotiable. Fear and panic lead to poor decision making and push you to make undue haste. This is why it is important to practice your skills ahead of time, stay physically fit and learn how to calm your mind. If fear finds its way into your mind and you do not conquer it, you will panic and lose all ability to make rational and calculated decisions.

Improvise: Does your plan require a certain tool? Did a piece of equipment get broken or lost? Improvise and create something to work in its place. If that cannot be done, improvise the plan and adjust what can be to meet the goal with what is available. The ability to improvise is often the difference between life and death, being rescued today or rescued in two weeks, or keeping the whole group alive versus being the sole survivor.

Value living: If you do not have a strong desire to survive, you will not make it out alive. Think of what is worth living for, and remind yourself of what makes you happy. Under austere conditions, it is easy to give up and no longer care about staying alive. Death may even seem like a sweet release from the torment of being lost, cold, hungry and hurt. Suck it up, and remember whatever gets you out of bed back home. Why did you keep yourself alive up until you found yourself where you are now? Get back to that at all costs.

Act like the natives: How did the Native Americans live and survive? What primitive skills and tools did they use? Learn them before you need them and when the time comes, employ them. Learn how to make fire, catch food, clean water, and navigate with primitive tools that can be made from scratch in the field. Learn what local plants can be used and for what. If bugs are an issue for you, they were an issue for past generations. Learn how they dealt with it and do the same.

Live by your wits: Without learning skills and practicing them before they are needed, you will have nothing to lean on in hard times. Build your wits by practicing your skills, and you will have the wits to size up the situation, not make undue haste, remember where you are, vanquish fear and panic, improvise, value living, and act like the natives.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Seth Belt

Seth grew up in Southern Arizona before joining the U.S. Navy. While serving in the Navy, Seth was an anti-narcotics operator and an anti-submarine operator for 5 years. He was lucky enough to travel to many of the Central and South American countries, as well as visiting many South East Asian nations and islands. One of Seth’s greatest joys from his time in the Navy was teaching new Sailors firearms education and safety. After leaving the Navy in 2010, Seth returned to Arizona and had a rough time learning how to be a civilian again, often working jobs that could barely pay the bills. After going to school, Seth became an Emergency Medical Technician in the Phoenix Valley, where he now lives with his wife and son.His areas of knowledge cover military, firearms, and emergency medicine.
Seth Belt
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