A few weeks ago I received an email from Harper Collins Publishing asking if I’d be part of the virtual blog tour for Bear Gryll’s new book, “A Survival Guide For Life: How To Achieve Your Goals, Thrive in Adversity, And Grow In Character.” Of course I said “Yes.”
You know Bear, right? The survival guy, Man vs. Wild. I used to watch that show all the time. I like survival shows, you know, in case of Zombie Apocalypse. I also like “Man, Woman, Wild” but that’s not a Bear Gryll’s show. Anyway, the best advice I got from the husband and wife team was “don’t name your food.” But back to Bear.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure about this book. I was a little skeptical until I started actually reading it. I like the way it’s written – mini essays on 75 ways you can live a vibrant and full life despite the curve balls life can toss your way.
Most certainly, Bear has faced adversity. As a former SAS (UK Special Forces) who broke his back in 3 places, to summiting Mt. Everest (try climbing it yourself – you summit in the Dead Zone). He may not be part of a stepfamily but Bear knows adversity.
Not in any particular order, here are five of my favorite gems from Bear:
Behind every successful person you’ll undoubtedly find a string of failed attempts. One secret to a successful stepmom is that she’s not afraid to make mistakes and keep on going. Heaven knows I made my fair share of mistakes with Junior but I always got back up and kept on going. Failure is nothing more than a “stepping stone to success.” (Maybe Bear does know something about stepfamilies!)
There is no education like adversity. Remember that. You are being tested on every level, inside out, and backwards. Right now, in the midst of mind blowing pressure, you are going to learn “what you are truly capable of.” Instead of trying (over and over) to control what is happening (as if you could anyway), take a moment and listen to what life is teaching you right now. Bear’s advice is to “embrace the adversity.” I know, it sounds counter-intuitive to the knee jerk reaction to back away from it.
Pack light and toss the heavy unnecessary. Bear talks about first time hikers/backpacker/adventurists who pack way too much for the journey. Have you ever over-packed for a vacation? I know I have. Most of us are over-packed for life as a new or veteran stepmom. As Bear says, we need to “pack the right skills, and the right attitudes.” Speaking from my own experience, we don’t need much more than that.
Paddle your own canoe. Or as I like to say, no one can do your mental pushups for you. No one is going to fix the challenges you have in your life for you. Only you can do that. How do you do that? By taking responsibility, 100% responsibility, for your thoughts, words, and actions. In other words, your life.
To get what you want, you first have to give it. Do you want respect? Do you want appreciation? Do you want healthy, happy relationships? Begin by giving respect, appreciation, and owning your end of a happy, healthy relationship. And don’t forget to be authentic and not manipulative.
Throughout the book, Bear imparts a clear message – you are the owner of your life. You have the ability within you to face your adversities head on. Embrace the struggle for struggle leads to perseverance; perseverance creates character, and character leads to hope (yes, I’m paraphrasing Romans 5:3, but it’s a constant theme in Bear’s book.) In the words of Winston Churchill, “never, never, never give up.”
I enjoyed the book and hope you do, too.