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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The 10% Solution...

No one is perfect. In fact, most of us as a result of our upbringing and the way we have chosen to live our lives are riddled with inadequacies and personal shortcomings. A sizable part of becoming prepared to face adversity is mental preparation. Long before the power goes out or the taps run dry, we need to have thought about how we should best respond to hypothetical scenarios that we perceive as being possible if not probable.

About 10% of people who unexpectedly find themselves in dire straights be it from a natural disaster, infrastructure disruption, social unrest or other such serious lifestyle setback will immediately make the wrong decision and set about making their personal situation worse. I suspect that because most people never consider the possibility of finding themselves in a life altering predicament they do not have the basics of survival stored in the back of their brains for just such an event. As such, the first decisions they make tend to focus on their immediate comfort rather than their immediate needs. Whatever the situation, 1 in 10 will undertake a course of action that will leave them worse off than if they did nothing, sometimes, these decisions will kill them outright, such as stepping into a flooded basement without turning the electricity off.

About 80% of people in a disaster will mill about waiting for someone in authority to tell them what to do. The operative words in this statement are "in authority". Meaningful advice for some tends to have more of an effect if it comes from a politician, police officer or some such elevated person in the community. A good example of this is a weather related event. You are told that a serious storm is coming. You see your neighbour next door packing up his car and head out to see what's up. Your neighbour has lived in the area a lot longer than you, he says he's leaving because in the past, storms of similar magnitude have resulted in power problems, flooding or blown down roofs. No one else on the street seems to be getting out, so its easy to dismiss your neighbour as over reacting. He may well be, but he is choosing not to take a chance on calamity by staying. Most people presented with a similar situation will not choose to accept a course of action based on causal advice even from a well known friend. It will take an evacuation order to be get most people heading for a safer place. Even then there will be some who for whatever misguided reason will simply refuse to act in their own best interest and choose to remain in harms way. 8 out of 10 people will wait to be told what do do next even when what is eventually conveyed to them is common sense advice.

The final 10% are people who are strong willed independent thinkers who are prone to act after some careful consideration. We also call this type of person "a leader". These are the people to shout out to the 80% and say, "follow me, we're out of here." These are the people who after assessing the situation can and do look after themselves without needing reassurance and encouragement from others. These people act and react quickly and decisively without tending make matters worse for themselves in the process.

Statistics show that the majority of you reading this post fall squarely into that middle 80%. It is time for you to begin to learn what you need to do and to have on hand in order to survive adversity. You need to change they way you make decisions so that you are not waiting around for the nod of approval from the authorities before you begin to look after yourself. While we all can make bad decisions when it comes to choosing a particular course of action, having thought about what to do before you need to make those types of decisions for real, is a big advantage that will save you time and prevent you from making tactical errors during times of heightened stress and pressure.

Deciding today to practice being more decisive is a good start.

[What have you done today to prepare?]

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