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.

The conditions in Afghanistan under the Taliban rule — for Americans, allies, Christians, women and more — continue to deteriorate, and the people there continue to plead that we will not forget them. On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck gave an emotional update on current evacuation efforts, including the tragic story of one girl — an American passport holder — who was not rescued in time.

"I have a pit in my stomach like I haven't had in a while. What is happening in Afghanistan is both miraculous and horrendous," Glenn began. "What's going on right now one of the most amazing things I've ever personally witnessed — the evacuation of Americans, those [Afghans] who helped us, Christians that are dying, women that are under incredible conditions. I see things that I can't show you. I see the pleadings from people who are in safe houses, 'Please, don't forget us.' I see what they're being sent by the Taliban.

"If I die today, my entire life will have been worth it for what you have helped get done, in just the last three weeks. You have saved well over 5,000 people," he continued.

Fighting back tears, Glenn added, "I ask that you pray for those in the Middle East, that are in the midst of doing work, that a Moses-style miracle will happen. ... There are several people that are in dire need of medical care. Friday, we told you — along with the congressman from Oklahoma [Rep. Markwayne Mullin] who had just returned — [about] a father and two daughters that were blue passport Americans, and a mother who had a permanent residence, a Green Card. The daughter was very ill. And they thought, that if we couldn't get her out of there, that she would lose her legs. I got a call on Saturday morning, that we were too late, that she didn't lose her legs. She lost her life, waiting. There are now two Americans, instead of three."

Glenn showered his audience with gratitude, repeating that "well over 5000" lives have already been saved because of their incredible generosity, but lamented that there are still thousands more people yet to be saved.

Watch the video clip below to hear more updates from Glenn:


To donate to these rescue efforts, visit or

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Megyn Kelly pulled her sons out of the private elementary school they attended after she learned that the boys were asked "weekly" if they were still sure they were boys. But that's not all that this "experimental transgender education program" taught.

Megyn joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to tell the story, which she thought had ended when the school apologized, and to talk about what's next for America as our leaders refuse to promote actual psychological support for our kids and instead "parade" transgenderism as the solution to their problems.

"When [my son] was in third grade, I found out they unleashed a three-week experimental transgender education program on these boys, with really inappropriate videos. The kids were confused. These are 8- and 9-year-olds, Glenn. They have no idea what the school is even talking about with the trans thing. They got really in-depth, with really in-your-face videos — and then parents complained. And the school did something it hasn't done in its 400-year history, which was they apologized. Even they realized they had done wrong," Megyn explained.

"But, then I said to my son a year later, so did they ever round back to the trans thing? Like, whatever happened with it? And he said ... they bring it up every week. ... [They ask] how many people here still feel confident that they're a boy? Do you still feel sure you're a boy?" she continued. "This is not support. This is not nonbullying. This is indoctrination. And it's deeply confusing to the children, and wrong."

Megyn went on to give examples of how she's seen trans ideology turn "support, nonbullying, kindness, friendship, allyship, on its head."

"The absolute surrender of the medical community to this insanity is a scourge on this nation. It's disgusting what is happening with our doctors," she added. "There are people who are legitimately transgender, or who have gender dysphoria. And for those people, we should be supportive and they should get the care that they need. But what we've done instead, is taken everyone who expresses any kind of gender confusion and said, you're trans. You're trans. And we have our psychiatrists doing this."

"It's crazy," Megyn asserted. "The fact that we're doing this so willy-nilly in the name of allyship and support, it's abusive. It's criminal."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation:

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"Never forget" is not only a tribute to those we've lost, it's a warning that it could happen AGAIN. On "Glenn TV" Wednesday, Glenn Beck looks back 20 years ago to the modern generation's Pearl Harbor moment. A day of infamy we're STILL feeling repercussions from.

But in remembering 9/11, we need to look toward the future because the Biden administration is setting us up for the NEXT 9/11. They bungled the Afghanistan withdrawal, and now we have video of top al Qaeda commanders — who served with Osama bin Laden — returning to the country. But could America survive another terror attack?

Glenn asks former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the leader who brought America back from the brink. He tells Glenn about the moment he learned the Twin Towers were struck, the actions he took to prevent more terrorism, and if he thinks NYC could survive another attack under Mayor de Blasio's leadership.

Glenn is also joined by Rev. Johnnie Moore, author of "The Next Jihad." He warns that Biden's policies in the Middle East are Obama 2.0, and "if you thought ISIS was bad, you haven't seen anything yet. We must keep our eyes on Iran."

Watch the full episode of "Glenn TV" below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.