Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A snow day reminds me of the nuances of survival...it's the little things.

A snow day reminds me of the nuances of survival...it's the little things.

How many times have we heard " if only they had made it to [insert destination] a little sooner...they would have been fine"

As I read The Survivor's Club, they make the case that there is no "Good Luck or Bad Luck".  The book goes on to say that in medicine they even say there are no accidents because we all make decisions in life that inevitably make us lucky or un-lucky. Like when I decide to test my luck and lift five plates at a time out of the dishwasher that would of course decrease my luck quotient and eventually I will chip or break a plate.... which I have. Other little things in life such as making sure you have a go bag for household head to the hospital emergencies, your car is good working order with a full tank of gas in your vehicle, and a Bug out Bag.

Luck is Controllable
Of course you cannot control 1 in a Billion chanced acts of God considering a random meteorite striking your forehead, but most luck is controllable. In my case today it was the realization of why I was snow blowing the drive even though all of Eastern Nebraska was shut down and there was now place to go... and at a time most neighbors still had impassible drives.

Walking my dog around the apocalyptic-ly quiet neighborhood. Those neighbors that were out looked under-equipped with most sporting something like tennis shoes and a thin leather jacket. My feet were tucked in waterproof -30 rated Sorels and my jacket was a three layer system. I had a snow blower they had a shovel and I am just guessing here that I am probably the only one in the neighborhood with 20 gallons of extra gas.

In my mind good luck is a set of smart educated choices, paying attention to what is going on around you at any moment and good preparation.

The Example
Let's say for instance on this snowy wintery day where pretty much everything in eastern nebraska is closed that my wife and a mythically ill-prepared neighbor's wife both fell and sustained compound arm fractures that required immediate attention to reset the bone and stop the external bleeding.

  • Starting off I have a little emergency medicine training.
  • I have an household emergency bag prepared with closes, copies of insurance cards, and other information for such emergencies, bujt my neighbor will need to run around and gather everything to head out.
  • We both jump in our vehicles to head to the hospital to take care of our wives. 
  • My drive is already clear, my neighbor will have to do a high speed drive clearing to even be able to back out of the garage.
  • Chances are that my neighbor at this point in a pretty panic'ed state unless he has serious meditation skills.  Once in a panic state he won't be thinking clearly and will make progressively worse judgement  calls all the while decreasing their luck.
  • I have a 4WD truck, he has a 2WD car. If my drive is already clear of snow I am already that much ahead of the game in getting my wife help. If the roads are bad I will probably fair better in my truck and if we get stuck I will be in the right gear to get use going again. 
  • I try to always keep my vehicle tank at least 1/2 full, he may need to stop for gas on the way to the hospital
Who will have better luck at getting his wife safely to the hospital?

Most people are reading thinking, "pretty far fetched example", however we all know at least one person who is unlucky and a complete train wreck.  This person seems to always be ill-prepared, always finds themselves in a bad situation, and always has bad luck.  This is the same dude who heads out in a dangerous snowstorm, and slides off the road, and nearly freezes to death in his tennis shoes and leather jacket with no hat all because he didn't have any food on the shelves.  It's also the guy, who's gun magically jams constantly, but has a gun that looks like it was completely cleaned the last time it was new. It also the guy who uses his hand to push things down in blender that is on, shocks himself becuase he didn't turn the power off before replacing an outlet...etc.  We could go on, but there is already a show called 1000 Ways to Die that pretty much sums up a level of stupidity required to off yourself.

 I believe in luck, but you can see how being prepared and making some good decisions could make you luckier.

It's the little things that add up to good luck.

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