The Psychology Of Survival In A Group

It’s rush hour in New York. The Blue Line of the Metro Rail has just left the station when something unexpected happens. Initially, you and your fellow commuters attribute the vibrations to a bumpy stretch of track, possibly due to construction. People grip their belongings a bit tighter, thinking it’s a minor issue.

Suddenly, there’s a strong jolt, and it’s not just the train swaying – it feels like the whole world is shaking. The train tilts to one side, causing briefcases and purses to spill onto the floor. Lights flicker, brakes screech, and the wheels jump off the track, slamming the train into the wall with considerable force, shifting everything to the right side of the car.

The noise is deafening, and smoke and dust fill the air as the train comes to a stop in the gravel. The ground continues to shake, making it seem like the train is still in motion. It’s an earthquake, and it feels like a significant one.

When the shaking subsides, darkness prevails, illuminated only by dim emergency lights. The smell of smoke stings your nostrils and eyes. Cell phone screens blink sporadically, resembling fireflies. A man nearby is bleeding from his head, and a woman on the floor cries out about a broken leg.

Some passengers remain surprisingly calm, returning to their seats or collecting their belongings as if the train had arrived at the station. Others, however, appear to have lost their composure, screaming uncontrollably and wide-eyed.

Amidst the chaos, everyone wonders: What happens next? Many suggest waiting for help, believing someone else will rescue them. They assume survival in this modern era is someone else’s responsibility. But not you.

Three Types Of People

Imagine finding yourself in a survival situation, not alone but with 12 other people in the same train car, and likely many more in the other cars. The next moments are crucial, revealing a person’s character in a true emergency.

Do you belong to the top 10 percent, taking command of the situation?

Do you fall into the bottom 10 percent, losing control completely?

Or do you stay in the 80 percent, following orders and relying on others for salvation?

Survival experts highlight traits of the 80 percent. Like animals, they tend to gather together, feeding off each other’s panic and negativity. Shallow, rapid breathing leads to cluttered thinking, hindering emotional control. They might come up with impractical solutions or rely on abdication, saying things like, “The government and the Army will take care of us. That’s why we pay taxes.”

Those in the bottom 10 percent aren’t necessarily crazy, stupid, or selfish. They may lack the skills and life experiences to handle sudden changes, making them potentially dangerous, though not intentionally so.

Dr. John Leach, a psychology professor, witnessed the aftermath of a 1987 fire at King’s Cross St Pancras tube station in London. He explained the role of the bottom 10 percent, noting that denial and inactivity can lead them to act dangerously, driven by emotion, impulse, and the desire to return to normalcy. Leach terms this the “Incredulity Response,” where people don’t believe what they see and act as if everything is still okay.

The Top 10 Percent In The Group

the top 10 percent in the group

In a survival scenario, the top 10 percent stand out by swiftly shifting their mindset from normal to survival mode, avoiding the negative denial and panic that grips others. A successful survivor can silence the fear alarm and channel that motivation into purposeful actions to reduce danger. Essentially, you must be able to switch from ‘I’m going to die’ to ‘I’m going to survive.’

Reasoning that you’re not dead yet implies you’re likely not going to die. The worst has passed, and dwelling on what should-have or could-have been is counterproductive. Staying calm is crucial.

In movies, you often notice the villain is the one overwhelmed by emotions—laughing, cackling, ranting, and raving—ultimately losing. On the flip side, the hero remains calm, collected, and thoughtful, triumphing in the end. Hollywood structures movies this way for a reason; it reflects truth.

Leaders in survival situations share common traits: non-conformity, constant vigilance, thinking outside the box, setting flexible goals, and being empathetic, creative, imaginative, and intuitive. These leaders tap into thousands of years of instinct stored in the oldest parts of the brain, allowing survival instincts to come alive.

As a natural leader, taking action is crucial, but you don’t have to handle everything alone. In this group scenario with 12 others, organizing them with purpose and drive is key.

Identify the capabilities of those around you quickly. Is someone already providing first aid to the bleeding man nearby? Excellent, designate him as the go-to person for medical concerns. Are there sturdy individuals, like construction workers or gym-goers? Consider them your muscle for lifting, moving, or any tasks requiring strength.

Even the seemingly less capable, like the plump guy in tears, can contribute. Suggest he check if the doors will open. The person who stands up, assesses the situation, and shares thoughts is your closest comrade – someone who understands it’s time to work together to save everyone.

Engage two ladies comforting the woman with the broken leg. Ask them to gather belongings, searching for useful items like water bottles, fire extinguishers, painkillers, and working cell phones. Share practical knowledge, explaining how everyday items like tampons or diapers can be used for first aid.

Instead of shouting orders, rationally assign specific tasks to individuals, even small ones, to keep them occupied, divert their minds, and instill a sense of accomplishment. Most people, especially the 80 percent, want to help and can achieve remarkable things when focused with guidance. This is especially true for those in panic or those challenging authority.

The trick is to make each person feel like it was their idea, whether it’s searching for water or checking the emergency radio. If someone is upset, channel that energy into breaking a window for air circulation.

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Keep Moving

In navigating a survival scenario, a crucial and often overlooked step is the imperative to keep moving, to sustain positive progress even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. This forward momentum serves a dual purpose—it not only propels the group towards potential solutions but also plays a pivotal role in maintaining the collective morale.

As the designated leader, your responsibility transcends the mere physical aspect of movement; it involves projecting an unwavering air of progress. Succumbing to inertia, expressing uncertainty with shrugged shoulders, or responding to queries with a defeated “I don’t know” can unleash a corrosive poison of defeatism that permeates the entire group, eroding both their trust in your leadership and their individual morale.

It’s paramount to understand that, as the leader, your commitment to forward motion is a binding contract. Once you’ve taken the reins, you are the leader indefinitely, until circumstances or external forces necessitate a change. This underscores the critical nature of your role, as the leader is the linchpin holding the collective determination together.

Contrary to being a source of emotional support, your role isn’t that of a shoulder to cry on or a commiserating friend. If the group needs a companion, they can find solace in a canine companion. What they truly require is a decisive leader capable of making tough decisions in the face of adversity.

Furthermore, these decisions, while prioritizing the collective needs of the group, may not always align with unanimous consent. The leader is entrusted with the responsibility of discerning the best course of action, even if it requires making tough choices that might not be universally agreeable.

In the specific context of being trapped underground after an earthquake, the imperatives are clear: immediate attention to the injured, ensuring they receive necessary medical care, and formulating a strategy for the extraction of the entire group from their confined predicament. This underscores the leader’s pivotal role in navigating the group through the challenges and uncertainties of a survival situation.

The million-dollar question in survival scenarios: Team up or go alone?

the million dollar question in survival scenarios team up or go alone

A perpetual debate among survival enthusiasts revolves around the decision to either stay in a group or venture out solo. Hollywood often romanticizes the lone survivor, the solitary hero confronting overwhelming challenges independently. However, the critical question remains: is going solo truly the optimal choice?

Operating alone offers advantages like faster movement over open terrain, but a group brings extra muscle, enhancing the ability to overcome obstacles. While groups can carry heavier loads, a lone individual faces limitations. With a group comes the need for more supplies such as food and water, whereas a solo survivor requires provisions only for themselves. When scavenging for supplies, a group can cover a wider area, but a solitary person expends more energy covering the same ground.

A single person is stealthier and can hide more effectively, leaving a smaller trail footprint and producing less trash or debris when departing an area. Conversely, more people offer enhanced security and reduce the need for concealment.

Group dynamics introduce diverse ideas, leading to disagreements, while a sole survivor bears the burden of making all decisions and solving every problem. Having someone to challenge a decision can be beneficial, as self-confidence may sometimes cloud judgment.

Loneliness emerges as a significant threat in survival situations. Humans, being social animals, require external encouragement for motivation and morale. This crucial support is absent when alone. Additionally, solo survival means no one to take turns on watch, leaving an individual vulnerable to constant attack.

In a group, a richer mix of ideas, a broader range of expertise, a diverse array of gear, and more people to share the burden of carrying supplies and weapons create a formidable advantage over a solitary individual.

Is there a middle ground between a large group and going solo? Absolutely. Consider forming a group with family or close relatives. In a six-person group, two can watch the camp while a four-person foraging team gathers resources. This foraging team can further divide into two groups of watchers and gatherers, providing cover for escape and timely warnings in case of threats. For those on their own, the risk of capture or attack is significantly higher.

Up To You

SOBMay18 2v2Finding oneself in a life-or-death situation is akin to facing the cosmic roll of the dice, determining one’s initial chances for survival. However, beyond this unpredictable moment, the trajectory of events becomes entirely dependent on individual actions and decisions. The critical question that surfaces is: Will you be prepared to assume a leadership role?

The unpredictability of life-or-death scenarios implies that the initial survival is left to chance—a game of cosmic chance where circumstances unfold beyond our control. Yet, once the immediate chaos settles, the narrative shifts, and agency is reclaimed. The spotlight turns to the individual thrust into the challenging circumstances: Will they rise to the occasion and take charge?

The prospect of leadership in the face of such dire circumstances is a weighty responsibility. It demands a readiness to navigate uncharted territory, make crucial decisions, and inspire others to follow suit. Leadership, in essence, becomes a beacon of hope and direction, shaping the collective destiny of those caught in the throes of adversity.

Preparedness to lead extends beyond the mere possession of survival skills; it encompasses mental resilience, strategic thinking, and the ability to inspire confidence in others. In the aftermath of the initial cosmic roll, the onus falls on the individual to step into a role that transcends personal survival and encompasses the well-being of the collective.

The dynamics of leadership in life-or-death situations are multifaceted. It involves not only making decisive choices but also fostering a sense of unity and purpose within the group. Effective leaders must navigate the delicate balance between autonomy and collaboration, understanding when to act independently and when to rally the collective strength for a common goal.

As one contemplates the gravity of the situation, the imperative to be prepared for leadership becomes evident. It is not merely a question of personal survival but a collective endeavor to navigate the unknown and emerge resilient on the other side. The ability to lead in such circumstances requires mental fortitude, adaptability, and the capacity to instill a sense of purpose and cohesion among those sharing the ordeal.

In essence, the cosmic roll of the dice may set the stage, but the subsequent chapters unfold through deliberate actions and leadership prowess. The question remains: Will you be ready to lead when the cosmic dice have cast their unpredictable lot?

Suggested resources for survivalists:

Learning The Differences Between The Cover And Concealment Concepts

Find Out What’s the Closest Nuclear Bunker to Your Home

Small Vehicle Options For Hunting, Patrolling Your Property Or Bugging Out

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