Archive for April, 2012

I just received this optical illusion from my friend and thought it was pretty cool.  Stare at the red dot for 30 seconds then look at a blank space (e.g.wall or ceiling) while blinking your eyes.  See what happens!  If anyone has an explanation for why this happens, please share!  Maybe it will actually have something to do with Urban Survival!


Posted: April 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

Are survivors born or made?

Why is it that some people jump out windows when they lose some cash, when others who have suffered some of the most horrific abuses one can imagine trudge on?  When discussing urban survival, this question comes up a lot.  I say that the questions posed are not really on the mark.  The questions should be:  Why do some people jump out of windows when they lose a ton of cash and others who lose similarly do not?  And….Why do some people who suffer some of the most horrific abuses trudge on and some give up?    Resilience

What is resilience?



1. The ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune; buoyancy.
2. The property of a material that enables it to resume its original shape or position after being bent, stretched, or compressed; elasticity.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Or put another way, it is an individual’s capacity to handle stress and not become dysfunctional because if it.

Urban Survival requires us to continually build our resilience.  An event that requires one to employ urban survival techniques is a set-back from your daily routine.  So, is resilience something you’re born with or can you learn to be more resilient?  The answer may save your life, or at least maybe your sanity.

Yes!  Thankfully, you can build resilience!  You just have to go seek challenges out and survive  them.  In a 2000 study in Biological Psychiatry, the authors showed that immediately after a military training exercise, soldiers showed higher levels of a stress buffering hormone called neuropeptide-Y (NPY).  NPY works on the prefrontal cortex of your brain and helps keep you focused on tasks under stress.  The higher the NPY, the more resilient you become.  The offshoot is that with higher NPYs you will actually perform better when stressed…. a highly sought-after ability during times of crisis.

What doesn’t kill me will make me stronger…..or maybe not

So what to do….. Do you have to walk alone at night in the projects wearing your Birkenstocks and hemp sweater whistling show tunes to challenge yourself and build resilience?  Nah….I think we can come up with better and safer ways.  How about a challenge like the Bataan Memorial Death March?  Or maybe a climb or experience that you have on your bucket list.  Whatever you do, it must challenge you.  It also must give you the opportunity to fail, which will then give you the opportunity to recover from your challenge, thereby building resilience.  If you succeed at your challenge… great!  That builds resilience also.  Just don’t wimp out and choose something you know you can do.

Okay folks, go out and challenge yourself.  I would love to hear about it!  If you have a story of something you experienced in the past that helped build your resilience, I would love to hear about that too!