From the November 2006 Idaho Observer:
The first lesson in survival: Humility
We are in the middle of perilous times. If surviving our uncertain future is your goal, when presumed expertise may or may not help you, then our first lesson is humility. Kevin Swindle is a survivalist who intends to begin publishing "Kevin Swindleís Preparedness Newsletter" early next year. Because there has been a merger of our respect for Swindleís sincerity in providing (potential) readers with vital, cutting-edge material and our desire to perpare our (existing) readers to survive the coming storms, Swindle has provided us all with THE "point-A" perspective on the subject of survival.
by Kevin Swindle
What is humility? First of all, lets define what it is not. Humility is not shame, as the guilt merchants of the world would have you believe. HUMILITY IS THE REALIZATION THAT YOU ARE JUST ONE OF MANY IN THIS GREAT BIG WORLD, AND THAT NO MATTER HOW STRONG, INTELLIGENT, OR TALENTED YOU MAY BE, YOUR ABILITIES HAVE A DEFINITE LIMIT. To put it another way, you are not Superman.
You might be thinking, "Yeah Kevin, no kidding, thatís obvious." But is it? If you look at most peopleís behavior you will quickly conclude it is not obvious. Graveyards are full of people who did not know their limits.
Here are some points to ponder on the topic of humility.
1. JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE AN EXPERT IN 1 FIELD DOES NOT MAKE YOU AN EXPERT IN EVERYTHING.
Individuals in the medical, scientific, and legal fields are particularly bad about making this mistake. They think because they are in a highly technical field this somehow makes them experts in everything. It does not.
I recently visited with my tax accountant and we talked about this topic. He told me of a medical doctor who decided he was smart enough to do his own taxes. The doctor took about a day and a half to do the taxes. He brought it in to show my accountant. My accountant reviewed the return and calmly informed the doctor he could have saved him an additional $6000.00. This doctor would not have gone to his accountant for surgery, so why did he go to himself for tax preparation? Arrogance, or more precisely, LACK OF HUMILITY.
In his excellent book Deep Survival, author Laurence Gonzalez tells of a U.S. Army Ranger who was killed on a white water rafting trip. Despite all of the survival training this Ranger had, he did not have training in white water rafting. His expert status did him no good, because his expertise did not extend to white water rafting.
Understand and know what you are an expert in, but more importantly UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE NOT AN EXPERT IN. If you are going into an area in which you are not an expert GET TRAINING through self-education, the classroom, or find someone who is an expert in the area you are going into and consult them.
2. YOU DONíT KNOW EVERYTHING. IN MOST SITUATIONS YOUR LUCKY IF YOU KNOW HALF OF IT.
OVERCONFIDENCE KILLS. If you enter into a situation thinking you have all the information, all the relevant data, you may at best be in for shock, at worst it can cost you your life.
Military history, from ancient times to the present is filled with examples of where overconfidence cost men their lives. Sometimes it caused empires to fall.
Survival situations are the most dangerous places for the overconfident person. Nature can throw things and situations at you that you could not foresee in a million years. If you face nature with the attitude that you know it all, that youíve got all your bases covered, nature will embarrass you and maybe even kill you.
Note: CONFIDENCE is a good thing. FEAR is a killer every bit as deadly as OVERCONFIDENCE. You should not be afraid. Just avoid OVERCONFIDENCE.
OVERCONFIDENCE = LACK OF HUMILITY
Always keep this fact in your mind, especially in survival situations, whether they occur in the woods, ocean, or corporate boardroom: IN MOST SITUATIONS, YOU WILL BE LUCKY TO HAVE 50 PERCENT OF THE RELEVANT FACTS. This means that half of the facts that are relevant are unknown to you. If that doesnít make you humble itís likely nothing ever will.
3. ASK FOR HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT
There is nothing more stupid than to err or fail OR DIE when there are people around who are willing and able to offer you assistance. All you have to do is ask them.
LACK OF HUMILITY however, keeps many from asking for the help that is readily available. Some people just donít like to admit they need help.
People have died, and do die on a routine basis simply because they refuse to ask for help. So the next time you find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation, and you donít want to ask for help, you may want to ask yourself if your stupid pride (LACK OF HUMILITY) is worth dying for. Trust me, it is not.
You can email your thoughts to Swindle at manstorekimberly@peoplepc. com
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