What’s the “Right” Way to Survive?


This is a question I get all the time from people. Whether it’s in regards to a specific technique, scenario, piece of gear or mindset. I’m going to try to answer “the RIGHT way to survive” as simply as I possibly can, but please understand that survival (and some techniques) can be a very complex. Each and every survival scenario is a fluid and constantly changing situation.– Higgy

So here it is… However you survive, IS the “Right” way.

You might be thinking, “WTF, Higgy?”

Fair enough. That wasn’t much of an answer to the question, let me elaborate just a touch…

First and foremost, everyone reading this IS a “survivor”. We’ve made it this far, right? Some of us may have been tested more or overcome bigger obstacles, but the fact remains that we are all still here. I seriously doubt that any of us took exactly the same path or employed the same strategy to get to where we are; yet we have all made it! I point this out to illustrate that there is no single, absolute “right” way to do anything. Every one of us has different skill sets and backgrounds that lead us to make the decisions we make.

Don’t get too focused on any one way to approach a survival situation. That will only lower your chance of coming out the other side. Learn as many techniques as you can, how to use different types of gear, different ways others have approached the issue(s) you are facing. Most of all, keep an open mind and be flexible.

Wilderness Survival: There are a lot of “experts” on TV and the Internet that will tell you how to survive just about any outdoor survival scenario. Each one of them will tell you that their way is the “right” way and why it is. However, all those other “experts” survive too…
“Well then who’s right” you may be asking?
The answer… All of them. They just approach the problem in different ways, while striving for the same goal.

Follow the K.I.S.S. principle when in a wilderness survival situation. You have to breathe air, shelter (maintain your core body temperature), hydrate, be able to build a fire, eat and either signal for rescue or effect self rescue (navigate out yourself). Learn as many different ways to do each of these tasks as you can and whatever is easiest and works best for you in your situation, that’s the “Right” way to survive. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look as cool as the guys on TV or the Internet, the end result is all that matters.

Urban Survival or Natural Disaster: Pretty much the same. Your priorities and objectives are the same. The difference is the setting and the ways you can go about meeting your objectives. There will be other people to contend with as well. Some may be assets, some may be liabilities and others will be threats (as discussed below).

Violent/ Criminal Attacks: Talk to 10 people that have survived violent/ criminal attacks and you’ll likely find that none of the survivors reacted or handled their situation the same way as the others. Yet they all survived.

Again, we have the TV and Internet “experts” doling out their “right” advice. Or they will analyze a situation where someone doesn’t survive and tell you what the victim “should” have done… The “right” way.

These particular “experts” really piss me off. Monday morning quarterbacks at their best. Easy to say what someone “should” have done when you can go back and review the situation (minus the stress the victim was under) and are already aware of the results; not to mention other factors that were unknown to the victim (such as the attacker’s history). Fucking heroes these guys, huh? Mostly self proclaimed “street fighters”, McDojo Martial Arts Instructors or (this one may get me some heat from my LEO friends) former cops. Not a slam against cops, but in most instances they investigate the crimes after they occur and most are rarely victimized by criminals and have not been in the same position the victim was in (most cops don’t present themselves as “easy targets” for robbery, rape or similar crimes and aren’t familiar with what it feels like to be in those situations).

When it comes to being criminally attacked, you will likely be dealing with many more variables than in a wilderness survival scenario and you will have to process them and react much quicker as well. Things such as, “What does this person want from me? Do they have a weapon? What kind of weapon? Is it likely that they’ll use it? Does he have anyone else with him? Can I run away? Can I fight? Will anyone hear this?…” You get the picture.

In these types of scenarios your instincts are going to have more influence over what you do, than anything else. The key is to trust those instincts and make peace with whatever course of action you choose. If you survive an armed robbery by handing over your belongings, you did it “right”. Same as if you chose to fight the same attacker and you came out alive… that was “right” too.

You see this in the instance of rape quite often. Some people will tell a woman she should submit, others will tell her to fight every time and then you have the one’s that advise them to urinate or defecate to discourage an attacker. All of these may work in different circumstances, only the person that is there can “feel” which might be the right course of action in their situation. Don’t let anyone tell you that you did it “wrong” or that you should have done it another way. If you survived, you did it “right”… Period!

With all that has been said above, here is the summary of how I feel you can survive the “right” way… Be prepared for the worst case scenarios by training in different ways to handle them (everything from wilderness survival training, personal protection/ hand to hand combat training, weapons training to first aid), maintain your “State of Readiness” and trust your instincts.

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