Imagining the Unimaginable: How to Survive Anything and Everything

By Ben Sherwood

In the remote forests of Washington State near the Canadian border, where the U.S. air force teaches its aviators to survive in hostile environments, the instructors hate the sunshine. They prefer conditions to be cold, wet and miserable. Rough weather, they say, makes the best pilots and survivors. Adversity is the best teacher. Stripped of every comfort and left to their wits, the pilots are forced to think, adapt, and make an action plan.

The same goes for surviving everyday life.  If you want to beat the odds, you need to be able to adapt quickly and forge new plans. And if you want to be ready for the worst, you need to be able to imagine the unimaginable … and then do something to prepare.  This isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Consider the simple fact that more than 60 percent of us ignore the safety briefings on airplanes even though we’re about to hurtle down the runway in a winged aluminum can brimming with jet fuel.

The Survivors Club

By Ben Sherwood

For the past few years, I've explored the secrets of the world's most effective survivors and thrivers while researching and writing The Survivors Club. I met people slammed by life who managed to recover, repair and rebuild. Along the way, I spent some time at the air force's survival school in Spokane, Washington, where specialists teach men and women how to survive, escape, resist and evade (SERE) in extreme situations.

The basic lessons of survival school apply to all kinds of adversity, like vanishing jobs, foreclosed homes, disappearing 401(k)'s, not to mention hurricanes, earthquakes, and devastating medical diagnoses.  You need to create an emergency action plan that can help your family overcome virtually any challenge.  What follows are the most important steps:

1. Situational Awareness. The military acronym is S/A.  It means knowing what's going on around you and being able to act. Are you alert to threats to your survival and what's your plan and backup if everything goes to hell? In this tough economy, many of us don't have much S/A. We see the news about factory closings or tornado warnings but we don't change our behavior. We refuse to open our 401 (k) mailings or go to the cellar because we don't want to upset or inconvenience ourselves.

S/A means facing reality no matter how unpleasant the feeling. It means recognizing that nearly half of America's households are underfinanced for retirement. The average retirement account has lost a third of its value in the last year; collectively, some $2 trillion in retirement savings have been erased. Sure, many of us may realize this, but the air force guys know there's a big difference between awareness and action. It's not enough to notice your wing is on fire. You need a plan. When it comes to a crisis or emergency, experts say that as many as 80 percent of us freeze and fail to act. We wait for an authority figure to tell us what to do. If you want to survive, you need to take action. Quickly.

2. Hug the Monster. It's pretty scary when the earthquake strikes or your bank calls to say you’re two payments behind on your mortgage.  Worse is letting your fears run wild. Neuroscientists say that the fear of losing money can activate the same alarms in the brain that go off when we're attacked, unleashing neurochemicals that can wreak havoc on clear-thinking and decision-making. The Air Force calls this "analysis paralysis." What to do? Instructors tell trainees to hug the monster: grab hold of their fears, wrestle with them, and turn them into motivation. Grapple with your fears and they become more familiar to you. Soon, those fears can become your allies and help you survive and thrive.

3. Eat an Elephant One Bite at a Time. Survival is one big ornery animal, and if you try to swallow a 15,000-pound pachyderm in one gulp, two things can happen. You'll either give up or you'll get really bad indigestion. The key is to slow down. Take one small bite. Chew. Swallow. Then take another. Using different language and metaphors, nearly every survivor described the same method: Divide unwieldy challenges into achievable tasks. One goal at a time. One decision at a time. One action at a time. Before you know it, you can make real progress. The military acronym is STOP: Stop, think, observe, plan. Follow those steps in a financial crisis, and soon, you'll be moving deliberately in a better direction.

4. Know Yourself. In the end, experts say, the best survival kit is right between your ears. So use it. It also helps to know your Survivor IQ. How do you behave in a crisis? What are your strengths (and weaknesses)? Working with a team of personality testing experts, I developed the Recession Survival Quiz that gives you a glimpse of your Survivor Type and matches you with top business leaders who share your strengths. The free and fast quiz also points you to some of the best resources and guides on the Web for dealing with unemployment, credit and debt problems, and other financial challenges.


Ben Sherwood is the author of The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life, a New York Times bestseller.  An award-winning journalist and former executive producer of ABC’s Good Morning America, he is the founder and CEO of, an online resource center for people facing every kind of adversity.

Ezra Levant, founder of Rebel News, joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to describe the shocking footage he and his team captured of Canadian police harassing and even arresting Rebel News reporters during a protest in Montreal.

Video clips show officers making remarks about the "Jew" reporters and calling Rebel News "Jew media." Reporters are pulled out of crowds, handcuffed, slammed against vehicles and arrested. Some have been fined "thousands and thousands" of dollars "because they had cameras pointed at the police," said Levant.

Another video clip shows Canadian police demanding entrance to a rented Airbnb houseboat without a warrant.

"They the claimed it was an illegal gathering. It was just a B and B," Levant explained. "I told them to get a warrant. I went out there ... and they wouldn't let me back in.... It turned into a ten-hour standoff. They couldn't find a judge willing to give them a search warrant, so to punish us, they called the whole thing a crime scene. They actually wouldn't let any of my team off the boat unless they submitted to a personal search, which is illegal. And the craziest part, is that they arrested one of my guys, took him to jail, and they said this to us: We will hold him in jail until you let us search the Airbnb without a warrant."

Levant said nearly all Canadian media have ignored the insane attacks, warrantless searches and seizures, and the jailing of journalists, and warned Americans to take note and protect our First Amendment rights.

"If you do not protect your First Amendment, if you do not hold those hard-won freedoms, you will be like what we are," he said. "This is your future if you don't protect your First Amendment."

Watch the video below for more details:

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On Monday's episode of "The Glenn Beck Radio Program," Glenn opened up about the tragic death of his brother-in-law, Vincent Colonna Jr., who passed away unexpectedly on April 5. He also shared some of the important thoughts and insights he's learned through the grieving process.

"Last Monday, I was sitting in this chair ... the two-minute warning comes and Stu said to me, 'You ready for the show?'' ... And that's when my wife [Tania] came to the door of the studio here at our house and said, 'I...' and she held the phone up. And then she collapsed on the floor in tears," Glenn began. "Tania's brother had passed. To say this was a shock, is an understatement."

Glenn described his brother-in-law as having "a servant's spirit."

"He was always the guy who lit up the room. He was always the guy helping others. He would never stop, because he was always helping others," Glenn said of Vincent. "He was on the school board. He was a little league coach. He was the soccer coach. He helped build the church. He took care of the lawn of the church. He was constantly doing things, raising money for charity, working over here, helping to organize this. But he was never the guy in the spotlight. He was just the guy doing it, and you had no idea how much he had done because he never talked about it.

"We also didn't know how much mental anguish he was in because he never talked about it. And last Monday morning, after spending Easter with the family ... he killed himself. This is now the third family member of mine that has gone through this. And I keep seeing it play out over and over and over again, in exactly the same way."

Glenn described his thoughts as he, Tania, and her family struggled to come to grips with the devastating loss.

"I learned some really important things as I was watching this wake. I'm seeing these people from all walks of life ... the people that were there, were there because [Vince] made a difference in their life. He was a true servant. As I'm watching this, all that kept going through my mind was, 'by their fruits, ye shall know them.' The fruits of his labor were on display. He was a servant all the time. All the time ... he found a way to love everybody.

"There are two great commandments: Love God with all your heart and mind and soul. And love your neighbor. So those two great commandments boil down to: Love truth. Because that's what God is," Glenn said.

"Love thy neighbor. That's where joy comes from. The opposite of joy is despair, and that is the complete absence of hope ... and how do you find joy? You find joy by rooting yourself in the truth. Even if that's a truth you don't want to accept. Accept the truth," he added. "But we have to stop saying that there's nothing we can do. What are we going to do? Well, here's the first thing: stop living a lie."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:

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After imprisoning a pastor for refusing to follow COVID-19 restrictions, Canadian officials barricaded his church. And when some church members retaliated by tearing down part of the fence, Canadian Mounties arrived in riot gear.

Rebel News Founder Ezra Levant joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to give his insight on the crazy situation. He described the new, armed police presence surrounding GraceLife Church in Edmonton, Alberta, and how it not only encouraged hundreds of protesters to stand with the church in support but forced congregation members underground to worship as well.

What's happening is eerily similar to what occurs everyday in China, Levant says, and it must stop. Who would have thought this type of tyranny would be so close to home?

Watch the video below to hear Ezra describe the religious persecution taking place in Canada.

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Enough prayers? Why is supposed Catholic Joe Biden suggesting that Congress ought to stop praying for after someone commits acts of gun violence?

On Friday, Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray filled in for Glenn and discussed President Joe Biden's remarks during his speech on gun control. "Enough prayers. Time for some action," Biden said. Stu and Pat were surprised how dismissive Biden appeared to be on the idea of prayer.

Watch the clip to hear more. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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