Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Using a Different Template, or Switching Gears

Today in the News:  Today is the last day in our gear giveaway.  Click the link for details. Tune in tomorrow for the results.  Odds are pretty good that it might be you that wins!

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Using a different Template, or Switching Gears

I was talking with a recent acquaintance today and we were discussing the age old question of why some people survive in the wilderness and some people do not.  I'm not a survivalist, by any means.  I'm striving to be a woodsman, if anyone can actually achieve such a moniker. 

As we were discussing the subject, he brought forth the term "template" to explain how people respond to situations. He explained that many people only have one or two templates that they use to get by in daily life.   Problem A is solved with Template A and  Problem B with Template B.  I break this down into two groups (with many sub-groups);  Rule followers and people who think for themselves.

 My acquaintance went on to say that he read a book about a plane crash in South America.  There were some survivors after the crash.  They discussed what the plan for the group would be.  It was decided that the group would stay with the plane wreckage and that they would wait in the dense jungle for search planes to find them. 

One young girl stepped away from the group.  She examined her surroundings.  She saw a dense canopy above her, injured people at the wreckage and little natural resources that were familiar to her.  She then thought about where they were located in South America and made the assumption that the country that she was in did not have the local resources to fund a huge search party. 

At that point in time, she made a decision.  She walked for ten days and was able to leave the jungle.  She lived.  The survivors at the plane perished waiting for the search party.

Was she right in her decision?  I'm not saying that she was right or wrong.  What I'm saying is that some of us in society are trained to believe what we're told. The most common direction after a plane crash is, in fact, to stay near the wreckage if you want to be found. 

Think about it - if there is anything left of the plane, you could use it as a resource in itself.  Cloth from the seats could be blankets.  If the fuselage was in one piece it could be used as shelter.  Wire could be used as cordage as needed, not to mention all of the luggage on board and the variables you would find with it.

If you decided to leave the resources of the plane, you would be left to the devices of your own knowledge in the jungle and whatever you could carry with you.  Having wilderness skills would help, but would not absolutely save you. 

All of this aside, the girl in this story decided to change her template.  She didn't use the helpless template.  She discarded the group decision template.  She abandoned the stick-with-what-is-familiar template.  She used the template that she thought made sense in the situation.  We could argue for a thousand hours about which decision was better, but that isn't the point.  The point of the matter is if something does not work, or the odds are stacked against you, try a different template or way of thinking. 

This old quip has endless and important meaning: 

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Think about what templates you have made for yourself.  Take two or three, they're small.

Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,

Mike, Oscar, Hotel......out.


  1. There's a lot of variables at work in that situation. A different group of people at the plane might have survived as well as the girl did by walking. The comparison sounds silly, but I work a lot of crossword puzzles. I've learned that it's not always the smartest guy who does them well, but the most flexible thinker.

  2. Interesting post and sure makes one think about life and our choices.
    Found you tonight from our mutual friend Gorges Smythe and glad I did. Looking forward to being a new follower of yours
    Congrats on your great giveaway.

  3. Good post. At the very least, it would reduce much frustration in everyday life to "change our template", and in a really threatening situation, it could save our lives.
    Glad to see your list of followers growing.
    Jenny in Alaska