What Is the First Rule of Survival?

Introduction – The Primal Instinct for Survival

Imagine yourself lost in a dense, unfamiliar forest, or stranded on a deserted island. The adrenaline is pumping through your veins, and the instinct to survive takes hold. This primal instinct, embedded deep within us, dictates our actions in such dire situations. But what’s the primary rule guiding this instinct? This article aims to shed light on that very topic – the first rule of survival.

The notion of survival is not alien to any species on this planet. From the tiniest microorganism to the most complex of mammals, every living being is programmed with a survival instinct. For humans, it extends beyond the physical; our survival also includes our psychological well-being, a facet often overlooked but immensely critical. Let’s delve into this paramount rule of survival.

The Survival Mindset – Establishing the Central Point

The Survival Mindset – Establishing the Central Point

If asked about survival, most people will mention things like food, water, shelter, and fire. While these are undoubtedly essential, they aren’t the first rule. The primary rule of survival is psychological preparedness, often referred to as the survival mindset.

The survival mindset involves maintaining a positive attitude, staying calm, and making rational decisions even in the most challenging circumstances. The harshness of a survival situation can easily overwhelm one’s mental fortitude, leading to panic and bad decisions. Mental resilience, therefore, stands as the first rule of survival.

This mindset influences how we perceive our situation, the choices we make, the risks we take, and, ultimately, our chances of survival. In essence, it dictates our actions long before the need for food, water, or shelter comes into play.

The Hierarchy of Survival Needs – A Research-Backed Approach

The importance of a survival mindset might seem abstract, but it finds roots in psychology, specifically in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This theory places psychological needs like feelings of security and a sense of control at the base, implying their importance in any survival scenario.

The survival situation examined in a 1957 plane crash study confirms this. The survivors, despite suffering physical injuries and battling harsh weather, attributed their survival to their will to live, a manifestation of their survival mindset. This mindset helped them prioritize their actions, ration their resources, and persist despite the odds. Thus, this hierarchy is not just theoretical; it is practical and relevant to survival situations.

Read: 330+ Survival Quotes

The First Rule in Practice – Stories and Examples

Real-life survival stories emphasize the importance of mindset. Take the famous account of Aron Ralston, for instance. Trapped in a Utah canyon with his arm pinned by a boulder, Ralston amputated his arm to survive after being stuck for over five days. His survival can be attributed to his determination, willpower, and, importantly, his survival mindset.

Another telling example is the story of Juliane Koepcke, who survived a plane crash in the Peruvian rainforest and trekked for eleven days before finding help. Her knowledge and calm demeanor, crucial elements of a survival mindset, were pivotal in her survival.

These stories underscore the first rule of survival, reminding us that our mind is our most powerful tool in a survival situation.

How to Cultivate a Survival Mindset – Implementing the Rule

Cultivating a survival mindset might seem daunting, but with the right approach, it can be achieved. Here are some steps to get you started:

  1. Training: Enroll in survival courses. These programs challenge you physically and mentally, developing your resilience and adaptability.
  2. Knowledge: Educate yourself about different survival scenarios and techniques. Knowledge is power and can boost your confidence in your abilities.
  3. Simulation: Regularly put yourself in simulated survival situations. This practice can help condition your mind to cope with real situations.

Remember, developing a survival mindset isn’t easy. It requires discipline, consistency, and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone. But with time and effort, it’s an achievable goal.

Read: 100+ Survival Movies Netflix


Survival, at its core, begins with your mindset. Before you consider your physical needs, you must fortify your mental state, creating a solid foundation upon which your other survival skills can be built. Through maintaining a positive attitude, staying calm, making rational decisions, and cultivating the will to survive, you can significantly increase your chances of surviving a crisis.

Take the time to invest in cultivating your survival mindset – the benefits far outweigh the challenges. And remember, survival isn’t about being the fittest or the most equipped; it’s about being mentally prepared.

Read: Long-term Food Storage for Emergency Survival


The first rule of survival is within your reach. Your mind is a powerful tool, and with the right mindset, you can rise to the challenges of any survival situation. Start your journey towards cultivating your survival mindset today, and discover the potential that lies within you. The strength to survive is within us all – it’s time to tap into it.

Leave a Comment