Only in the Movies? Learn Basic Survival Techniques from James Bond

Only in the Movies? Learn Basic Survival Techniques from James Bond

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Assessment

Things happen quickly.  One moment he’s having a drink with a beautiful lady, and the next moment he finds himself in a position where he has to react to a threat without delay.  He seems to always know what to do at the right time in order to neutralize the threat or escape.  All of this comes from being able to assess the situation in just a couple of seconds before taking appropriate action.

The ability to assess a situation and choose the right response comes from training as well as experience.  What would you do if an attacker sneaks up from behind?  What would you do if you were suddenly being chased on the road by a maniac while driving?  How would you react if someone was intent on stealing your food, water or supplies?  Every situation that you will encounter is unique.  You will need to understand the threat, anticipate the impact of the threat and find a way to either eliminate it or escape.

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Appropriate Response

For the most part, we don’t see a lot of collateral damage in explosive and action-packed scenes in Bond movies.  What we do see is a response that is focused and appropriate for the situation at hand.  Sometimes it is necessary to take immediate defensive action whereas there are other times when it’s better to evade the enemy until you are in an advantageous position to strike back.

Whatever you decide to do, you should calculate whether or not there is a chance that others can be injured or killed as a result of your actions.  Choose responses that will minimize harm to innocent people nearby while also giving you the upper hand.  Again, training and experience play a big role in developing your sense of intuition that will be used in your decision making process.

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Be Flexible

One thing that is most entertaining to watch is how James Bond thinks quickly on his feet.  As scenes progress, we see him switching gears and taking advantage of various opportunities and resources as they come up.  We also need to be able to switch gears and adapt and alter our responses as a particular situation unfolds.  No matter how well you have planned and prepared for various contingencies, there will always be the need to modify and adapt to one degree or another.  There will be times when plan B’s, C’s and even D’s will go down the drain and you will need to think on your feet and make immediate decisions.

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Don’t Over-Think

One thing that keeps Bond from getting killed is the fact that he doesn’t over-think situations.  He acts.  Soldiers are also confronted with situations that require them to take action based on the needs of the moment.  There will always be time for reflection and de-briefing later, but don’t get caught-up in worrying about details now.  Over thinking can kill.  Rather, act now and deal with the consequences once you are safe.

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Have Tools

James Bond is famous for being equipped with innovative gadgets and tools.  However, there are also many situations in which they don’t work or they get lost or confiscated.  But, he always manages to use what he has on-hand to his advantage.  He thinks tactically, waits for the right moment and then employs the resource in order to produce the greatest effect or benefit.  He also always seems to have a back-up plan on hand if his initial tool or resource is not available.

There will be times when we lose access to resources that we think will be perfect in a particular situation.  The key is to take what else is available to us, switch gears and be able to use them to our advantage.

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Thinking Ahead

One thing that we rarely see is 007 brooding or sulking over failures, disappointments or mistakes.  He also does not spend a lot of time thinking back and wishing he did things differently.  We all know that some of his choices have caused more harm than good.  However, he manages to think ahead and continue to move forward.

The reality in survival situations is that we will make a lot of mistakes, lose access to resources that make life easier and our failures will often interfere with our successes.  It’s very easy to fall into the trap of second-guessing our actions, wishing we did things differently and become despondent that we didn’t get things right the first time.

Accept failures, learn from mistakes and move forward.  One of the worst traps that anyone can fall into during or after a survival situation is despondency.  Avoid it at all costs, no matter how difficult it may be to compartmentalize those failures and keep our eyes on the prize.  Over-thinking mistakes and allowing them to interfere with our mood, attitude and willingness to take risks can lead to a failure to act appropriately in the future.

These are just a few examples of how we can pick apart scenes from Bond films and use them to help us to develop our own survival skills.  While chances are that we will not be confronted with similar situations, the underlying principles that allow James Bond to get through a dicey problem can be useful for us as well.

Take some time to rewind or pause some fast-paced action scenes and digest what tricks are used to produce a happy ending for most people involved.  You never know when you can use a little bit of Hollywood magic to improve your own level of preparedness and ability to think your way out of a serious problem.

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