Ma Yuanjiang survived eight days trapped under the rubble of an earthquake in China. He had no food or water, so he ate paper and drank his own urine. Ma had no training in survival. He was a business executive, yet somehow, against all odds he survived longer than almost anyone else who has ever been trapped.

How could this be? Movies and books often depict survivors as tough, confident guys who know everything. But what about in real life? Who is most likely to survive a disaster?

This is a question writer Laurence Gonzalez is very interested in answering. Whenever a disaster strikes, Gonzalez begins looking for news headlines about people who survived even when many others perished. Then he contacts these people and learns their stories. He’s been doing this for years.

According to Gonzalez, there are a few specific traits that most survivors share.

You might be surprised to read this, but most survivors are not the strongest or most skilled in the group. In fact, the “Rambo types” as Gonzalez calls them are often the first to die. He says that people like Navy Seals take more careless risks, making them more likely to die.

On the contrary, small children and people with little experience in a given situation are more likely to survive because they take fewer risks.

Gonzalez says being humble is one of the greatest assets of a survivor. He also says that most survivors are people who don’t see themselves as victims. Instead of whining or complaining about what went wrong, survivors try to stay positive.

While survivors tend to be humble, they also tend to be independent thinkers. When the World Trade Center was hit by hijacked planes, hundreds of people were trapped in the towers. Security guards told these people to stay where they were and to wait for help. Most of the people who listened perished. Those that didn’t follow the rules were more likely to survive.

Most of the survivors who were interviewed by Gonzalez also shared something else in common – they had strong family bonds. Many people told him that they never lost their will to live because they really wanted to see a loved one again. Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl, managed to live three years in a Nazi death camp because he was determined to see his wife again.

What about you? Now that you know the traits of a survivor, do you think you’re one?

The post Survivors appeared first on Deep English.

from Deep English » Blog


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