The Will To Survive

Are you a member of the Survivor’s Club?

This is the name of Ben Sherwood’s book and it looks at the secrets and science that could save your life.

The book is worth tapping into if you want a better understanding about those that make it and how you can use the experiences of true survivors to your own advantage.

One of the key messages I get from reading the book is that physical strength isn’t necessarily key to survival but the sheer will to survive. In other words, you have to be smart to survive and harness the life force within to be ruthless, single minded, stubborn and determined.

Those with seemingly no chance of survival, ‘on paper’, do survive and what they have is that need to survive and that will within them to keep going no matter what.

The mental outlook required to get through an experience is the fighting spirit but the will to survive is “a mysterious, ineffable force that defies rigorous definition and measurement.”

Ben Sherwood tells us that this will might be related to faith and it might originate with an electrical impulse in the brain, but whatever it is, “Your attitude can be your life preserver, so hold on tight.”

Can the mind triumph over the body? Well, yes it can and there is medical proof of that. In 1979 Dr. Steven Greer found that women with breast cancer who showed a fighting spirit survived longer than those patients who displayed denial, helplessness, hopelessness and stoic acceptance.

Beating the odds has to be a mindset and internalised. Saying that you will overcome is a key part of approaching whatever challenge is in your way, even if that obstacle is something like cancer. I don’t say that flippantly either, as I have advanced cancer myself and this is my second time. My will to live is a strong as ever and I certainly won’t give in.

This is making sure that the ‘commander-in-chief’ part of your brain (the cingulate) is tuned into living in and not giving in. To be a survivor, waste no time in feeling sorry for yourself but devote your energies to fighting and recovering.

So, whether you are fighting cancer, the pandemic or fighting to keep it together in the classroom, your will will play a huge part and this optimism and hope must never be extinguished.

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