Survive or succumb? What determines our fate when we face severe adversity?
Attitude, mindset, experience all play a part. Fate does too. Choosing to do everything possible, and more, persevering against all odds, that’s what makes the most difference. Pushes our outcome towards the survive side of the balance.
One of the most extraordinary examples of survival I have read about in recent times was the story of Sergey Ananov who became marooned among the polar bears when his helicopter crashed into the Arctic ocean in July 2015.
The 50-year-old pilot was flying a very small Robinson R22 helicopter over the Arctic ocean trying to break the record for an around the world helicopter flight.
Mechanical failure brought the aircraft down into the icy water. A series of mishaps left the pilot in the water with his open survival suit filling with water. He was unable to retrieve his emergency beacon or other navigational aids. He did manage to get his life raft and a few flares before the helicopter sank.
He got to an ice floe and took shelter from the wind behind the inflated life raft. Bitterly cold, with almost no water to drink and no food, his chances of survival were slim. Three times, polar bears approached him but by shouting and waving his arms he was able to frighten them off.
He did not know if any one of the few enthusiasts tracking his progress had noticed that his helicopter had gone down.
Ananov heard search planes flying over head, he used two of his flares, but the fog prevented them being seen.
By an amazing chain of events, he did survive. A Canadian rescue vessel got close enough to his ice floe during a brief window of visibility to see the dying glow of his last flare.
He was rescued after 36 hours.
Read the full story in this article on the Popular Mechanics site, it is worth reading.
How do we survive our own challenges?
Most of us will never face the conditions and challenges that Sergey Ananov did on his ice floe.
However, his example shows that by choosing to survive, having faith and not giving up, we can tip the balance from succumb to survive.
Are you a survivor? Leave a comment.
photo courtesy Hal Brindley / freedigitalphotos.net