Do You Have What it Takes to Beat the Odds?

By Ben Sherwood


The Survivors Club


By Ben Sherwood

Why do some people escape airplane crashes while others don’t?  Why do some people bounce back from bankruptcy while others never recover?  Why do some men and women overcome terrifying medical diagnoses while others give up hope and perish?

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. What are some of the personal qualities that make the biggest difference in survival situations? And what strengths should you try to muster when you face a crisis? 

What follows are the top five strengths you need in your crisis tool kit:

Hold Fast. Along with inked etchings of anchors and knots, hold fast is one of the most popular sailor tattoos. Seamen ink the eight letters on their arms or knuckles. When they tie down lines (a.k.a. ropes) and work the riggings, they're reminded of these two essential words. Holding fast is a fundamental mindset in the merchant marine. It means being strong and never letting go.

In survival, holding fast is synonymous with tenacity, the capacity to keep going and never give up. In Vietnam, American POWs shared a similar mantra. "Steady strain" was the phrase they whispered to each other or tapped in code. No matter the torture and beatings, the POWs urged each other to shoulder the strain with steadiness and stoicism. Above all, they knew the dangers of getting too high and or getting too low. Steady strain meant finding a middle ground and holding on.

The Fighting Spirit. No matter the odds, the most effective survivors keep fighting and never give up.  Remember the story in April 2009 of Capt. Richard Phillips who was held hostage by Somali pirates in a little dinghy?  Phillips embodied the fighting spirit.  For starters, he was a flinty New Englander from Vermont. He was also a 20-year veteran of the merchant marine with a reputation for intensity on the high seas. He's also an aggressive athlete and competitor who broke his neck diving for a catch in a pickup football game.

Capt. Phillips demonstrated the fighting spirit by trying to escape his captors. He reportedly jumped into the ocean and tried to swim for the nearby USS Bainbridge. One of the pirates opened fire with an automatic weapon and Phillips was pulled back onto the lifeboat where he was bound and beaten.

Realistic Optimism. A positive mental attitude is an incredibly important part of survival, but a naïve or foolhardy attitude can be dangerous. It's a phenomenon known as the Stockdale Paradox, named after Admiral James Stockdale, the highest ranking American prisoner of war in Vietnam. In the POW camps, optimists were the first to die, Stockdale told author Jim Collins in his bestselling book Good to Great. Optimists were always hoping to be released at Thanksgiving or Christmas, but were crushed when those holidays passed and they were still imprisoned. They couldn't stand the disappointment and gave up fighting, Stockdale said. Soon after, they died.

The Power of Purpose.  Back to the example of Capt. Phillips, who offered himself as a hostage when pirates first stormed his ship, the Maersk Alabama. From the very start, he was ready to sacrifice himself for his crew and his ship. Many of the world's best survivors and thrivers possess a sense of purpose or a calling greater than themselves. They're driven by a larger mission. And they're capable of enduring tremendous hardship.

The Power of Faith.  Religious belief is an incredibly powerful and universal survival tool.  Some 80 percent of the survivors I interviewed around the world expressed the conviction that God had somehow guided or delivered them from their trials.  Of course, there is no proof for this kind of belief.  That’s why it’s called faith.  And without a doubt, faith makes a profound difference in the toughest situations.

Beyond religion, there are other kinds of faith too. For instance, there is faith in one's country and the conviction that its leaders (and armed forces) will do everything possible to save your life. This conviction proved very important to the survival of the POWs in Vietnam.

Of all the lessons I learned about survival, here’s the most important.  Some challenges are truly and absolutely out of your control. A devastating earthquake in Haiti.  A colossal tsunami in the Indian Ocean.  A high-speed car crash.  A terminal cancer diagnosis.  We all know that some crises simply aren’t survivable.  Some people lose the cosmic roll of the dice, as one survival expert calls it.  But if you’re still standing after you-know-what hits the fan, your life and future are very much in your hands.  Survival is learnable.  It’s a constant process of anticipating twists and turns on the road ahead and steering yourself to safety.  I’m not recommending paranoia or stashing canned goods and flares in your jeans pockets.  Hysteria and panic will only make things worse.

Instead, I’m recommending that you master the Survivor Three-Step:

1. Recognize that bad things don’t just happen to other people.

2. Create Plan A and Plan B (because Plan A never works out).

3. Stay alert and vigilant.

If you learn to dance the Survivor Three-Step, I venture that you’ll feel more confident and capable whenever crisis comes.  That’s the ultimate truth about The Survivors Club.  Eventually, we will all be challenged.  It’s your choice if you want to be prepared and save your life and family.

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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 TheSurvivorsClub.org, 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:

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To donate to these rescue efforts, visit NazareneFund.org or MercuryOne.org.

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.

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:

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.

"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.