Improve Your Disaster Personality

The Wild Resiliency® model is first an attempt to identify certain keystone processes of Life itself, and secondly an attempt to apply these processes to the field of resilience thinking. This approach is informed by the indigenous observation and inherent assumption (see WR Assertions) that “Life Wants to Happen!

Embedded within this observation is the idea that there is also an inherent impulse within Life for wellness, hardiness and wholeness; hence, the WR Keystone Process: The River of Life – Wellness, Hardiness and Wholeness. It is in this particular process or gravitational field of energy that the WR mapping coalesces to prescriptive thinking as well as ecological and mythic modeling. Thus it is here that the WR model easily embraces and incorporates other models of resilience arising out of the positive psychology and healthy communities and sustainability… movements.

Within this growing attention to ‘all things resilient’ is a cover story in the June 9, 2008 Time magazine: How to Survive a Disaster. The recommended article is adapted from The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes-and Why, by Amanda Riply.

A sidebar in the article’s printed copy and not available online is titled 5 Ways to Improve Your “Disaster Personality. These strategies are listed below with excerpted copy and occasional brief summary added […].

“We all have ideas about how we might handle an emergency. And we’re probably wrong. People who are leaders-or basket cases-in everyday life often won’t behave that same way in a crisis. But we do know there are ways to become more resilient, and they don’t all involve luck or prayer (although those are good too).”

1. Attitude

“People who respond well to trauma tend to have three underlying advantages: a belief that they can influence events, an ability to find meaningful purpose in life’s turmoil and a conviction that they can learn from positive and negative experiences. …it is possible to teach yourself to be more proactive and avoid the victimization trap….”

2. Knowledge

“Sometimes a small amount of information can help us tap into a vein of resilience we didn’t know we had.” [56% of air-crash passengers between 1983 and 2000 survived: reading the safety card may just give you the edge you need to do the same.] …

3. Anxiety Level

“…certain coping devices-like controlled, rhythmic breathing-can keep anxiety under control. …” [Develop a practice of quieting the mind and of accessing the deep silence.]

4. Body Weight

“Get in shape! The cruel reality of physics is that overweight people move more slowly and need more space, so they have more trouble fleeing. …”

5. Training

“The best way to improve performance is to practice. Consider what you are most afraid of (or, even better, which risks are most statistically relevant to you).” [A human brain that is trained to perform under specific stress circumstances is more likely to do so, so plan and practice for the same.]

Now this is a worthwhile short and simple list of what we can do to improve our survivability and resilience. I like short and simple, I just rarely seem able to achieve either. Unfortunately also, as T.S. Eliot eloquently reminds us in The Hollow Men:

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

It is here, in its recognition and incorporation of The Shadow Realms as one of the Keystone Processes that Wild Resiliency differs from models emphasizing only the ‘positive’ side of resilience. In this acknowledgment of The Shadow Realms is the recognition that resilience serves homeostatic functions as well as adaptation and transformational ones. These stasis functions may be ones of stagnation or even of self-destruction, of addiction and rigidity of personality… as well as functions oriented toward our health and wellbeing.

It is in coming to terms with how our shadowed resilience functions to create the very disasters we seek to better survive if not avert, it is in that perceiving and knowing that we can best mitigate the disasters themselves. Now that perceptivity and self-acceptance will be an improvement upon our “disaster personality!

Disasters are becoming more frequent and more destructive, mostly because of the way we live. (Emphasis mine.) This mesmerizing, real-time map of world disasters is brought to you by RSOE EDIS, a nonprofit emergency services organization based in Budapest,” and can be found at www.theunthinkable.

All this is reminiscent of another book referenced and recommended elsewhere on this blog: Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Lawarence Gonzales

Soon to come also is a related post on the work of Naomi Klein and The Shock Doctrine.

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2 Responses to Improve Your Disaster Personality

  1. jane says:

    can you discuss something about resiliency ad personality?
    how can resiliency affect one’s personality?

  2. Larry Glover says:

    Thanks for the challenging and provocative request, Jan. I’ll have to do some incubating on this, however it does strike me that a number of posts here reflect on your question indirectly. Particularly those that have to do with what I call, “The Power of Arrival: A Self in the World.

    The most immediately relevant post might be this one: Dimensions of Resilience, at:

    There is also this quote from the recent Sleeping with Rumi: Two Kinds of Resilience post at: http://wildresiliencyblog.com/2007/09/17/dimensions-of-resilience/ “There must be as many forms and kinds of resilience as there are people,” I tell him. “Now go back to sleep.”

    And I promise a post on resiliency and personality… after some incubation. Thanks for the interest.

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