Setting correct priorities makes the difference between mere survival and success.

by

Mike Phibbs

Imagine being dropped off in the woods with only a knife and some rope for your survival. The hours are counting down and you are on the clock to darkness. What are you going to do? Most people will sit down and cry, thinking they are going to die, and they may be right. What are your priorities? What must you do to survive? These same scenarios play out in the business world every day. Let’s see how lessons from survival experts Les Stroud, Dave Canterbury and Cody Lundin can save your life in the deep woods or the concrete forest of your town.

Let’s face it, people watch the survival shows because we admire people who can go out into the woods, desert, or ocean and survive on the bare basics that nature has to offer. Even “preppers” go out and buy supplies and store them up. After many months or living off their bought products they too will be at the mercy of nature. Truth be told, we can all survive like Les, Cody, and Dave. It is in our genetic code and in Asia, Africa, and South America many people still live a primitive life style. We, in our modern age, simply don’t have to live that way and most don’t choose too, until fate forces us to relinquish living like a spoiled 5 year old and get back to basics. Even in the modern day world, many independent entrepreneurs and companies fail because they choose to skip the primitive business basics and never create the foundation of success and move forward and instead focus on the end product and work their way backwards.

Let’s observe the success of the “Wild Man of the Woods” Les Stroud and his three keys to survival. On his show, Les works alone, like the lone entrepreneur responsible only for his own safety and survival. When he is paired up with someone else he is an exacting task master that requires absolute perfection from his partner(s). In reality, he also participates in Eco-Challenges and other adventure racing events where team work is required; however, his teams operate at a higher level than most. When Les is dropped off in the uninhabited backlands he has clear priorities: Shelter, fire and then water. First, protect yourself from the outside elements. If the environment disables you then you are dead. Likewise in business, the lone entrepreneur only has himself to seek guidance and find shelter from his or her competitors. For many in business, the basic shelter is a well thought out idea that sets you apart from your competition. Why are you better than anyone else?
Next, Les builds fire to warm himself up and create the first foundation for success that helps create the motivation and drive to survive. For thousands of years the quest for fire went unanswered. Most people today can’t build a fire out of a stick, spool of yarn, and scrapings from a tree. Yet, Les in a poof and wave of his hand seemingly at the wave of a hand creates in fire. He must live, and pay attention to, the moment. Daydreaming and focusing on the future diverts attention from what he is trying to accomplish right now; your shelter may collapse or fire go out. Likewise, the single entrepreneur must also experience the first success that builds the foundation for success. A well thought out business plan that doesn’t simply state the strategy is to succeed, but spells out what success actually looks like and the steps vividly showing every action steps needed from conceptualization to the fulfillment of the endeavor.

Third, Les then works on finding water. It’s crucial to his survival but is third on the list. Why? Because, he can survive a few days without water, while death comes quickly without shelter and fire. He is willing to drink water, or purified urine, that most people gag at the thought of consuming. The question becomes, what are you willing to do to survive? For the single entrepreneur, are you placing the priorities for your survival as a company in the right order? What you are doing may be crucial but not critically important for you to get through the day. Do not go down the path of thinking of your success, and forgetting to live in the moment, before you have ensured your foundation has been set?

Now, think about two highly successful people, such as Dave Canterbury and Dave Lundin, coming together and being forced to resolve differences in order to not only succeed but survive. Like seasoned business partners they have the talent and drive to succeed. The difference between Les and them is they have to work together and resolve their difference in order to be successful. Both come from different backgrounds and possessed their own unique stories before they collaborated on Dual Survival. They use confrontation not as a means to overwhelm the other, but as a vehicle to communicate differing perspectives on the situation at hand. Through confrontation comes collaboration of effort and focused energy. Together, they can rationalize the situation, and develop a better method of attack, to ensure the highest probability of survival and success. Likewise, when you have a business, or a significant other, effective communication of observations, perspective, and ideas is crucial for your success together. You may be extremely passionate and experienced as individuals, but when you come together with a set goal, like survival, your reliance on each other becomes compounded. By actively listening to the other person’s point of view you can gain insight into your own ideas and maybe determine a better way to handle the situation. Build upon your past individual successes to create the pathways to future success. By having an active partner, you are not alone and don’t have to make all of the decisions. Share the burden and create synergy which leads to your survival and success.

Paying attention to what you are doing in this very moment is crucial to your own survival. Success is a byproduct of your conceptualization and implementation of priorities. Even the best plans and intentions do not succeed. To increase the mere chance of survival, while not even guaranteeing success, solid foundations and tactics must be built and created. Then the environment determines if you will survive. Whether you are out alone in the wilderness, or in a forest made of concrete and skyscrapers, for survival you have to ensure that priorities are sound and in the correct order to provide the greatest probability of success. Do not go blindly into an endeavor and hope for the best. Create the conditions that favor not only your survival but your success. After you get the basics down and a solid foundation for your business, or personal life set, you can begin to be creative and reach the success you imagined.

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