I used to teach Wilderness Survival to the Boy Scouts, and I would often get asked, “What is the most important aspect of survival?” Usually they were thinking things like water, food, shelter, and the like. My answer was always immediate: Attitude.
In fact, the top 3 most important aspects of survival are: 1. Attitude, 2. Attitude, and 3. Attitude. If you don’t have that nailed, no matter how good the rest of the circumstances are, odds are you’re going to freak out, make a mistake, and things aren’t going to go well.
It’s really the same way with our every day lives!
You give me someone with money, brains, and contacts but a poor attitude, or someone with seemingly nothing going for them but a great attitude, and I’ll bet on the latter person every time.
For those that don’t know, I’m currently on a TV Survival Reality Show: Kicking & Screaming on Fox.
In fact, the good news is: I’m actually currently one of the Final 4 teams remaining!
The bad news: My competition is 2 Marine Special Forces guys and an Air Force SERE Instructor!
Keep in mind, that I’m the ‘token old guy’ on the show – older than anyone else on there. I’m also the ‘token Boy Scout’, wearing my Scout uniform the entire time!
Things don’t look good…
When my time was done on the show, I asked Matt Kunitz, the Executive Director if he thought I would last as long as I did. His immediate answer: “NO.”
So, why have I lasted as long as I have? Many of the other Survivalists are more experienced than me. All of them are younger than me. Most of them are stronger than me.
So what’s with the old Boy Scout?
I think one of the cast summed it up when I walked into camp one day. “Terry, he said: You’re gonna live forever. You’ve got the best attitude I’ve ever seen!”
I found out later that the crew behind the scenes were calling me ‘Benjamin Buttons’ because the longer I was on the show, the younger I kept looking! The host Hanna even mentioned it on the air.
Well, I wish all that were true, but I do look back over the successes I’ve had in my life and realize: I may not have been the smartest, or the most talented, etc., but I worked hard to make sure I kept my attitude in place to the best of my abilities.
It’s amazing to me how we let so many other people and circumstances control our attitudes. They don’t TAKE control from us, we willingly HAND it to them!
It’s probably the most important thing in the world we have going for us, but we so easily let things affect it.
I’m going to say that it’s the people who control their attitude that do the best in the world.
It’s not the smartest, it’s not the strongest, it’s not the most talented. It’s those with the best attitude, and they only have it because they keep control of it, instead of giving that control away.
So my thought for you today is: Protect your attitude like your life depends on it – because it does.
Terry L. Fossum, Author, Speaker, Kicking and Screaming, Fox, Scoutmaster
For more inspiration, books, etc., check out: