Respect for the survivor

It is said the human species has survived so long because of the ability we have to adapt to our evolving environment and its dangers and opportunities.

A survivor – says the dictionary – is a person remaining alive after an event in which others have died, or a person who copes well with difficulties in their life. There are many types of survivor, each with his or her own methodology and response mechanisms.

In my experience, however, there are some common threads we find in the long term survivor. They quickly understand what they’re up against. They’re able to instinctively assess imminent danger and risk. They’re always prepared to make confident decisions to preserve life, there and then. Life in whatever form it takes: physiological, emotional, mental, personal, professional, financial.

Such abilities may be invisible to the naked eye, difficult to quantify or measure. A survivor’s make-up is like a iceberg. The tip may show its pristine self to the outside world. Yet in the swirling waters beneath, creaking and cracking, lies a bulk of uncertainty where larger issues are addressed, unseen.

A survivor is expert in accepting the tip of the iceberg is only part of the story, and is adept at managing the hidden dangers heaving below to overcome them. A survivor recognises no-one can eat an elephant whole, and finds ways to make gigantic challenges or threats, accessible and digestible. A survivor never gives up on the possibility there’s a way through the risk, predicament, danger du jour – to preserve life, in whatever form that may be.

Respect for the survivor. We can learn a lot from them – personally and professionally.

 © Amanda Yensa Manor 2015

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