“Funneling the intense energy of insanity and uniting it with the sound coolness of rational decision making creates a potent force in emergency scenarios. Condensing this potency can best be summed up in one simple statement: the clarion call ‘Party On!'” – Cody Lundin
“If you are scared, you will die.” – Richard Van Pham
This is another rule I consider absolutely important for survival. It builds on and provides a base for many of my other rules, and can be expanded in many ways. The essence here can be captured in Cody Lundin’s “Party On!” Other more common takes include keeping a positive attitude, being a survivor (see my rule 8), and similar thinking, all in the face of the terrible, unfortunate things that will continue to happen in whatever it is you are partaking.
Where my Rule 8 (Always be a Survivor, Never a Victim) talks about being a survivor and not a victim, this rule doubles up on much of what that rule takes. However, it carries with it a different perspective as well.
Similar to Rule 8, this acknowledges that terrible things are going to happen. The unimaginable, unexpectedly terrible will occur. That’s all part of an adventure, after all! An adventure mindset goes in expecting these things (see rule 4: Always Expect the Worst and Always Hope for the Best), and when they happen, embracing them with a positive, energetic attitude.
Cody Lundin, in his book 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive, suggests the mantra “Party On!” He suggests that in the face of the worst things happening in the midst of the worst scenarios, declare “Party On!” He describes this as a “rational insanity”, and that is exactly what this adventure mindset I’m talking about can certainly seem like sometimes.
I look back at a road trip I had, where my car broke down in the middle of nowhere in Northeastern Arizona. It was distressing and troubling. I was trying to make it to Denver, and I never would make it that far that night. If I failed to stay positive and rational, the day would be immensely stressful and difficult. I stopped multiple times, on the side of the road as I limped the car all of the way to Grand Junction, but I kept my mind going. I kept saying to myself, “Now, this is an adventure! Hell yeah!”
The whole time, I could have been stuck on the side of the road in the middle of the desert, in the summer. It was miserably hot and dry, and there were no services anywhere even close to within walking distance. Most of the time, there weren’t even many other cars nearby on the roads I was on. It could have been dangerous, and I knew it. There was plenty of reason to be scared and terrified.
When I did an 8 day section hike over the San Diego section of the Pacific Crest Trail, I had many examples of needing this rule, but the first night was one of the most terrifying to start.
I set off from the Southern Terminus in the morning, with a plan to hike 15 miles to the bottom of Hauser Canyon. A plan that went great. It was a hot, but enjoyable day on the trail. But by the time that I reached the planned camp for the night, I was entirely out of water. Already feeling parched from the long day of hiking and having another five miles to go before the next water source, I was faced with a difficult decision. I sat down and considered my options.
I opted to shoot for making the next 5 miles. Exhausted, thirsty, and scared, I kept pushing. I had to rest frequently, and each time I sat down, it became harder to get back up. Then the next break came sooner than the last. After only a couple of more miles in, I fell asleep sitting upon a boulder.
Jolting myself awake, the fear became more real than ever. Could I even make it to camp? If I tried to sleep, would I wake up? I was already dehydrated, making me feel even more exhausted. The heat of the day had set, but the boulder I was sitting on was chillingly cold. Maybe it was a bit of delirium, as opposed to rational insanity, but I just lied down upon the boulder and slept.
I woke in the morning, alive. With a much shorter route to the water source, I had a real chance. It was a net benefit in the end, and it has given me a pretty crazy story to pass on!
That is two great examples of what this is all about. In a scary, dangerous scenario, facing it with a cold, calm, calculating insanity of positivity and willingness to survive at whatever cost it takes. Declaring the scenario just another adventure to get through and have an amazing story to tell later. That’s maintaining an adventure mindset. No guarantee it will ever turn in your favor, just the mindset of willingness to stay positive and try, even when it is utterly insane to do so.