Mind of a Survivor: Book Review
Megan Hine is a British adventurer, wilderness expedition leader and survival expert. Many people have heard of her because she is also one of the world’s leading survival consultants for TV shows such as Bear Grylls’ ‘Running Wild’ and ‘Mission Survive’.
I’ve long been fascinated by others’ true stories, and in particular, adventure and survival stories. What is it about some people that means they can overcome some incredibly difficult and seemingly impossible survival situations – where others may not make it?
What is the Mind of a Survivor?
Megan’s book focuses on this very thing: the mental, rather than physical, aspects, by examining the human ability and instinct for survival.
There are plenty of ‘how-to’ survival books out there. What makes Mind of a Survivor different and why I enjoyed it so much is that it is more of an inspirational book full of advice on how to handle certain situations, as well as true stories, rather than a book of instructions. To some extent, instructions are of limited value, when you realise it’s mental attributes such as adaptability, creativity and resilience which are more likely to make a difference to the outcome of a survival situation.
What does this have to do with trail running?
In some ways, everything. Certainly, in my opinion, to succeed in ultramarathons, in particular, you need to be able to channel similar attributes to survive a long day out!
Survival characteristics examined in Mind of a Survivor: Intuition, creativity, empathy, adaptability and flexibility
I know I’ve used some or all of these at some point in an ultra – and certain trail marathons – and I could do better in the future by tapping into them more often.
What happens when you run out of water or energy or have a minor injury during a long run? If you feel yourself entering a ‘low point’, how do you pull yourself back out, and regain positivity and motivation to continue?
What if you get lost in the wilderness, how would you deal with that situation? The book recounts the stories of a couple of different runners and hikers who found themselves lost. It was fascinating to read what each of them did and what happened.
Don’t act the victim
Megan’s book also considers the principle of ‘acceptance’, and avoiding the victim mentality. Many of us like to control many aspects of our lives, but the recognition that this is impossible when in certain situations and contexts is really important.
I have been known to emit the odd complaint in everyday life (I’m still coming to terms with Bay Area drivers and the traffic), but when I’m on the trails, I’m a different person, because I instinctively KNOW it is pointless and not constructive to achieving my goals and enjoying myself.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
I’ll leave you with this one piece of wise advice from Megan, which is highly relevant to our experience and development as trail runners and adventurers.
“The more we are exposed to situations that challenge us and make us fearful, the more we develop the skills and coping mechanisms to face those challenges, thereby reducing our fears… if you ever find yourself in the same place again, it won’t seem nearly so tough”.
Buy the book HERE 🙂
Link to Megan’s website and some videos
Megan’s book has made it to our list of “Best Running & Adventure Books”. Have a browse for more reading ideas!