Seasoned survivalists have at some point come across the S.U.R.V.I.V.A.L. acronym at some point or time if you do any reading at all.  I think it is a good one to help while you are training.  I personally do not think it is one that will come easily to you in a stressful situation.  Too many things to remember and no discussion on what is most important.  That is why we focus alot of attention on the S.T.O.P.A.  acronym in the Dan’s Depot DVDs and in our Nature Reliance School classes.

With that said this acronym will help us pass on some useful skills.  Most pieces of this are fairly easy to understand without much help or added words.  However today I wanted to place some emphasis on the word IMPROVISE.

One of the most famous uses of this word comes from the unoffical motto of the United States Marine Corp, which is improvise, adapt and overcome.

I have had the good fortune of teaching many, many people the process of wilderness survival.  Those have included regular guys, housewives, engineers and a slew of former and current military personnel.  One of the most enjoyable groups I have ever trained included a handful of prior service Marines (there is no such thing as a former Marine).

They embodied this idea of improvise incredibly well.  Most of our classes go something like this:  I teach you the basics, then you practice those basics, then I stress you out and make you do the basics again.  Pretty simple equation really.  Since I had not had extensive opportunities to train with Marines, I was profoundly aware of just how quickly and seemlessly they would improvise.  This is simply an indicator of good training.  That provides a backdrop for us.

In any given crisis/survival event, things are going to go “wrong”.  I put that in quotations because, that is often what we could emphasize our thought processes on and get down or discouraged over the matters at hand.  However, when you take a different approach it most assuredly will work out better for you.  When something goes “wrong” look at it as an opportunity to do something different, to improvise.  It is a headgame I know.  It is an vitally important head game though.  I have spent alot of time studying those who survive, those that were thrust into bad circumstances.  I have read of those that have died and those that have not.  One of two things seems to ring true for those that make it.   One is that they simply were fortunate, lucky if you will, although I personally do not like the idea of luck.  The other, and the emphasis for us here, is that they seemed to have a strong mindset, and will to improvise when things got bad.

A good lesson for us.  I hope to see you on, or off the trail………practicing this mindset.






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2 Responses

  1. Bryan

    very good article. I think these are good to remember for everyone of any level of outdoor experiance because we all have our moments of panic or feeling of out of control and this is another tool to help make us stop, catch our breath and most importantly, think!


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