The 3 Most important aspects of Survival

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

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Keeping the Faith isn’t always easy

Some days are harder than others to keep the faith. Those are the days that MAKE us who we are, and SHOW who we truly are. It’s easy to keep the faith when the times are easy. It’s when the iron goes through the fire that it becomes steel. You build skyscrapers with steel. You build character with steel. You build hope, and promise, and a future with steel. Don’t fear it. Don’t despise it. Embrace it and be thankful for it.

Backpacking alone in the Arctic Circle


terry-fossum-air-forceElection Day is finally upon us. I believe very strongly in my candidate. THAT BEING SAID, WHOEVER IS ELECTED, I WILL NOT GRIPE, BITCH, COMPLAIN, WHINE OR OTHERWISE THROW A TANTRUM.

Whether I like the choice or not, it is the choice of the American people, and I will get behind that choice. My enemies are NOT those who vote for a different candidate than me. My enemies are those who would strive to take away my right to vote.

As a Veteran, I fought for the right of every single person in this country to vote their conscience, not to demand they vote as I would, and berate those who disagree with me.

If you agree with this, please feel free to ‘like’ and ‘share’.

If you disagree with me, I fought for you as well, and several of my friends died for your right to disagree with me, or anyone else for that matter. I’ll only ask you give me the same respect that I give you – not to berate me or others for our differing beliefs.

I learned a long time ago that it’s equally as important to be a good loser as it is to be a good winner.

A country divided will fall. A country united can stand against those who would oppose us,

The entire world is not only watching this election, but they are watching how we act after it.

Act well.

– Terry

#elections #freedom @TerryLFossum terry-fossum-air-force

Top 10 Ways We Try to Blame our Troubles on Something or Someone Else (and what to do about it)


terry speaking at small conference 3

  1. He ruined my life!

No one can ruin your life, but yourself. They can try, but only you can let them. Don’t let them. Get back to work.

  1. I have the worst luck.

I’ve learned that the best luck comes to those who get up off of their butts, stop looking at their failures and start looking at their successes. Get back to work.

  1. Things just didn’t work out.

No, you gave up before they could. Get back to work.

  1. The timing was bad.

The timing is never good. Something will always try to get in the way and thwart your success. The ‘perfect time’ to start anything is RIGHT NOW! Get back to work.

  1. I’m not as good as other people.

Me, either; but you’re reading MY Top 10 list! You don’t have to be THE best, you only have to be YOUR best. There are always people who can learn from you, and there are always other people you can learn from. Get back to work.

  1. I’m not ______ enough. (insert your own excuse here)  

Then become ______ enough! Get back to work.

  1. You don’t know where I come from.

I don’t care where you come from. I only care where you’re willing to go. Get back to work.

  1. You don’t have the same challenges I do.

Who cares? Many people have had worse challenges than you have and have done better. Get back to work.

  1. I just don’t want to.

Then I can’t help you. Wallow in self-pity long enough, and when your need becomes strong enough to overcome your excuses, look me up – if you can reach me.  For now, get back to work.

  1. It’s too late now.

Bull. If you’re reading this, then it’s not too late. Stop reading this and get back to work!


DON’T Face Your Fears

“People say to face your fears. I disagree.
I say look PAST your fear to your goals, and focus on them. If those are important enough to you, your fears will disappear.”
– Terry Fossum

2006-01-02 09.09.08If you focus on your fears, then that’s all you can see!  They become the biggest influence
in your emotions.  Don’t focus on them.  Focus on your goals.  Focus on why it’s so critical that you accomplish them.  Create emotion.  If you do that effectively enough, you’ll be so inspired, angry, desperate or whatever emotion works for you that you’ll attempt to reach them no matter what.  Then, and only then, can the fear lose its hold over you.

Read the story of Admiral Farragut, who won a distinctive naval battle with a singular battle cry:  “Damn the Torpedoes, Full Steam Ahead”

If we embrace that same battle cry in our everyday life, our fears will shrink back from us, and our goals and dreams will become our reality.

Don’t believe me?  Give it a try for a month.  Look PAST your fears, and put them where they belong, in your past.  Focus on your emotion of why you MUST accomplish your goals.

Then, Damn the Torpedoes, Full Steam Ahead!

To Your Success,


Terry Fossum Center, Rwanda

Excerpts from Terry Fossum’s keynote at the dedication ceremony for the Terry Fossum center in Rwanda, to help train the widows and orphans of the Genocide in marketable skills:

rwanda Terry Fossum center name plate
“There are those who would tear down; and those who would build. There are those who would spread hate; and those who would spread love.
There are those who let things happen to them and decide that it is their fate, that nothing can be done about it; and those who, with God’s help, take their fate into their own hands and make good things happen for themselves, and for others.
There are those who lives are but a ripple on a still ocean, those who are tossed about, moving to and fro as the winds and the waves would take them; And those who become a force that can move ships, and change landscapes forever.
In every moment of every day, we chose which of these we will be. It is our decisions, and our actions, that decide who we will be and the difference we will make in the world, if any.
When we’re given hate, will we respond with hate, or will we respond with love? Will we tear down those around us, or ourselves; or will we use our God-given talents and energy to build our world, ourselves, better than ever before?
Will we decide to stop letting others, or circumstances, decide our fate, decide our future, decide our destiny?  Will we become all that God has given us the ability to be?
I believe that each and every one of us has the Power given from God himself to make a positive difference in the world around us. I believe He has given us the strength to love, when our weakness would lead us to do otherwise. I believe he’s given the smallest among us, the weakest among us, great power to do Good in the world.
Every single one of us, regardless of our background, our connections, our poverty, or even our abilities, has the power within him or her to change the course of their future forever; to change their family’s future forever; to change their country’s future in a good way that can make better the lives of millions.
We all have this ability. But all too often, we let excuses and self-doubt get in the way. All too often we waste the time that God gave us on this earth, being lazy; doing what is easy instead of what makes a difference.
Time is both a friend and an enemy of us all. Every minute it is ticking closer to the end of our time on this earth. But every minute is also an opportunity if we take it. Every minute can be wasted away, or taken advantage of to make a lasting, positive difference to help those around us, perhaps even those who we will never meet, but will benefit by the fact that we were alive, and we did something positive, something very good, with our lives.

And when your time is up and you face your final Destiny, you will do so with a smile on your face, and warmth in your heart, because you will be able to say to yourself, without doubt, “the world is a better place, because I was in it.”
– Terry L. Fossum

The Lost Soldier

Homeless Veteran

As the holiday season is upon us and the weather turns cold,

I thought I’d share these thoughts with you as something to remember:


The Lost Soldier

In the cold a former soldier sits
trying to stay warm.
His clothes are ragged, his stocking hat frayed
his gloves are tattered and torn.

The doorway that he calls his home
is only his at night.
The storekeeper who owns that door
shoos him away at morning light.

His hair once cut short and neat
is now an unwashed heap.
Once piercing eyes are clouded now,
with age and lack of sleep

He fought for freedom and righteousness
Now he fights away his fears
As battles haunt his dreams at night
And he awakes to sobbing tears.

He wonders if anyone remembers cheering him
when he returned from over sea
From that far away war that took his soul
and the man he used to be.

So when you see him lying there
Show him the respect that he is due
For there’s no way that you can pay him back
For everything he’s given to you.

– Terry L. Fossum, former Captain, USAF

I am thankful for YOU!

I am thankful for YOU!
If you’re reading this message, then you have almost certainly touched my life in some way.
Even if we’ve never met, I know you’ve touched the lives of others, making the world a better place in your own way – and that touches my life as well.
And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
If you give to others, you automatically receive. So the more we give, the more we have to be thankful for.
You have given of yourself so many times to so many people, that I know they’re thankful for you, as well.
And I am thankful for YOU.


THIS is most important of all

Always Make Time by Terry L Fossum

Always make time for those who are most important in your life.

  • Terry L. Fossum

Who will be with you at your deathbed?  Who will mourn you most when you’re gone?  Whose life will have that hole left in it that only you can fill?

Your boss?  Your coworkers?  The boys (or girls) at the bar?  The people in your club or on your team or, well, whatever?

Don’t get me wrong:  All of those people may miss you, but who in your world will miss you the most?

Your spouse?  Your children?  Your parents?  Your TRUE friends?

Then let me ask you this:  Why in the world do we spend so LITTLE time with the people who truly mean the most to us, and so much time with those who don’t?

I know, I know:  There’s demands on our time.  We have to work to pay the bills.  There are causes that are important to us that take time.  Housework needs to be done.

But guess what:  There is no job out there where you’re not replaceable – except for being a parent, or a son or daughter, or a true friend.  There is no cause more important in the world than being there for those who are most important to you.  The most important housework that needs to be done is making sure your house is truly a home; a home full of love, and discipline, and love. (yes, at least twice as much love as discipline)

This picture was taken by my wife, when she was walking on a trail by a mountain lake, and saw my son and I sitting there, chatting – spending time.  When I married into this family of a amazing lady and 3 teenage and preteen sons, I immediately retired so I could focus on helping put a family together, of raising honorable men.

Doing so, I’ve missed out on earning a large sum of money.  I’ve missed out on an enormous amount of fame.  I’ve missed out on luxury trips, and much more.  It truth, I haven’t missed out on a darn thing that means anything.  In fact, I’ve gained so much more.

I have a partner that I would do anything for, who would do anything for me.  I have sons who are, indeed, growing up to be honorable men.  I have some true friends that are always there for me, and know I’ll always be there for them.  I have people who will miss me when I’m gone.  I have people who will be at my deathbed, and have a hole in their lives that only I can fill.

I have the most important things in the world.  And all of that came because I made time with those who are the most important in my life.

Think again:  who are those people for you?

Call them up.

Call them now.

Get together with them.

Spend time with them.

Appreciate them.

Make time.


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