Often people who didn’t survive tried to impose their own “shoulds” on the situation: People should act this way; nobody should be allowed to be so brutal; nobody should have to eat food with weevils in it. Rather than opening their minds to the way things were really working, they pointlessly occupied their minds with fruitless indignation at what should not be.
Survivors on the other hand, says Siebert, asked themselves questions like, “What is going on here?” “How do the guards see this?” “What must I do to give myself a chance to survive?” They were curious, open, and inquisitive.
This kind of questioning is good for a great many applications besides surviving in a POW camp: at work, in your marriage, with your kids. Find out how things work, what’s going on, who responds to what, what people are feeling and why, etc., etc. There is so much to know and so little time. So open your eyes and ears and start asking some good questions.
Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.
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