Why Survival Skills Matter

Is it really necessary to learn wilderness survival in the modern world? We have seven reasons why we think survival skills are something everyone should learn. 

The world we live in is very different from that of our distant ancestors. Most of us never face the need to hunt and gather food, build a shelter, or evade predators. Instead, we learn the skills we need to survive in the modern world, like how to use a computer, file our taxes and improve our credit scores. 

For the record, those are important skills too. But there’s still a lot to be gained from learning the art of old-fashioned survival, including real benefits that you can transfer to other areas of your life. 

They Might Help You Survive

At the risk of stating the painfully obvious, learning survival skills might actually help you to survive. If you consider not dying to be a good thing, you might want to think about learning how to not die. 

Now, you wouldn’t be wrong to point out that relatively few people ever find themselves in a true survival situation. It’s not everyday that your plane crashes in the Andes or your car breaks down in the Sahara. But accidents do happen, and emergencies do arise. If and when they do—no matter how unlikely that might be—you’re better off being prepared. 

“Better safe than sorry” is an expression we often use without really thinking about what it means. When you learn basic survival skills, you can use that expression with the knowledge that you belong in the “safe” category.

Survival Skills Build Confidence

There’s a great deal of self-assurance and confidence to be gained from learning survival skills. And while the skills themselves might be needed rarely if ever, the self-confidence you gain from acquiring them is something you carry with you wherever you go. You take it with you on the train to work, to your next board meeting, to the gym and to the supermarket. 

That confidence also allows you to spend time outdoors with a healthy amount of comfort and self-assurance. If you’ve ever stepped off of a hiking trail and felt for even a second that you might not be sure how to get back to it, then you know how it feels to be in the woods without that confidence. 

You’ll Feel More Connected to Nature

The world, by and large, is not as wild a place as it used to be, and the majority of people live most of their lives without ever feeling particularly connected to nature. But at the end of the day, we are still animals, and we are a part of the natural world even if we’ve decided to live outside of it. 

Learning survival skills is a great way to feel more connected with nature. When you immerse yourself in the natural world, you give yourself back the ability to feel like you’re a part of it. Nature is beautiful, peaceful and captivating. It’s also dangerous, harsh and completely indifferent to your survival. Learning how to derive sustenance from the wild gives you an appreciation for both sides of mother nature. 

It’s Fun

Look, survival is no joke, and it’s not something to be taken lightly. Having said that, it does tend to be regarded as serious business to the point where we forget how gratifying the process of learning can be. There’s a lot to be genuinely enjoyed about learning how to build a shelter, make fire, find water and forage food in the wilderness. 

Learning these skills can be a lot of fun if you let it, and you might find that you also enjoy spending time outdoors more than you used to. There are relatively few hobbies that actually involve learning useful skills, but survival/bushcraft is one of them. 

You’ll Learn About Yourself

Self-awareness isn’t always easy to attain. It takes work. One of the great benefits of gaining survival skills is that you’ll also get some hard-earned insights into who you really are. And we’re not just talking about the confidence and self-esteem discussed above, although that is part of it. 

Testing yourself in a survival scenario can bring up some genuine insights that you might not otherwise have been able to access. Are you really as prepared as you think you are? How do you react under intense pressure? Are you able to stay calm and level-headed in an emergency while making quick decisions? 

There are no right and wrong answers to these questions, but it is important to be honest with yourself. If you don’t like the answer you’re forced to land on, that’s okay. Use it as motivation to grow, change and improve. That might be the greatest benefit of learning essential survival skills. 

You’ll Learn How to Use and Handle Tools Safely

A lot of the tools, gear and equipment you’ll learn to use in a survival situation are plenty useful in other, more common scenarios as well. You’ll become more knowledgeable about everything from knives and hatchets to watches, flashlights and first aid supplies. And not just how to use these tools, but how to carry them, maintain them and—crucially—how to tell a good one from a bad one when you’re at the gear shop.

Your Skills Can Help Others

We often think of learning survival skills as something we do for ourselves. And yeah, it certainly can be. But it’s also something to do for those around you. Friends, family and even complete strangers could end up benefiting from your knowledge and skills.

Again, survival situations aren’t always as dramatic as they might seem in the movies or in our imaginations. You probably won’t become shipwrecked on a desert island or have to survive a zombie apocalypse. But there are plenty of ordinary, real-life situations—car crashes, sports injuries, storms, power outages—in which your survival skills can help or perhaps even save the lives of those around you. Those skills make you someone who can be relied upon.

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