This past weekend, Discovery Science Channel featured a Survivorman marathon. Survivorman is the reality-style show where Les Stroud demonstrates survival techniques. Each week, he’s dropped off in a remote and wild location without much food or gear and must survive for a week using his wits.
In one of the programs, Les Stroud talked about some of the feelings and actions of a recreational hiker who becomes lost in the deep woods.
He said that when people realize they’re lost, they panic. When they panic, they begin moving fast—rushing. Not only do their thoughts race, but they move frantically through the environment looking for something familiar and hoping to find the way home. When people dash around, it dramatically increases the chances that the lost person will injure themselves. If that happens, then their problems just increased exponentially.
Les’ advice was that hikers should slow down. Pausing, taking a breath, calming down, and then moving cautiously and deliberately is the safest thing to do. Being very mindful of each step is crucial to avoiding injury.
Les also advised to take the time to carefully assess the situation, ordering priorities such as finding shelter, food, and water; find out what tools they have; determine how much daylight is available. Then he advises making a plan and slowly and methodically follow it.
These recommendations are applicable to everyday life.
When a game-changing event happens—getting laid off, large unexpected expenses, etc.—people tend to panic, which is understandable. But, thinking becomes scattered and jumps from one thought to the next, searching for a quick and easy fix. Decisions made under these conditions are not the best, and can even be harmful.
This is where Les’ advice can help.
Slow down! Take all the time you need to calm yourself and settle your thoughts. Once you are composed, assess the situation. Determine what are the priorities—usually food, shelter, and other basic needs. Take inventory of the tools and assets that you do have. Make a plan of how you’re going to handle the situation and then systematically follow that plan.
Your homework today is to slow down, whether you are in a panic or not. Slowing down can be the perfect strategy for moving quickly toward your dreams. So, slow down!
You can do it! I believe in you!
I’m so proud of you!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,