When you’re not a tough guy, but you live in a tough world

There are some places where the climate, terrain and other factors mean that life is tougher than it is elsewhere. Yet people stay there and thrive, they learn the skills they need to get ahead, they persevere, and they shape the land just as much as it shapes them. These places produce tough and hardy people. People often talk about cities as tough places. They’re almost entirely not. There are rough areas of cities and there are obnoxious people. There are selfish and stupid people. There are kids with baggy jeans and a .22 in their pants. They’re not tough, they’re taking the easy way out. There are bankers, traders and businesspeople who describe themselves as ‘ruthless’ and ‘hard-nosed’. These people are pansies who can’t use the bathroom without the right air fragrance. They wouldn’t survive a day in a tough place.

So, where are these tough places? Invariably they are very rural and isolated. When help and resources are not on hand, people learn to take care of themselves. When nobody else is there to stick up for you, you learn to fight and survive. There are often extreme weather conditions, difficult terrain and hostile wildlife to deal with. Think of rural Alaska, Siberia, the Andes, the Sahara, the Amazon. Are you capable of living your life out there?

Well, perhaps you are. While most people raised in such areas become hardy and aware in their early years, there are some who don’t. Some suffer from poor health or weak constitutions. Some have disabling accidents. In the past, these people would have been taken care of by their families, or left alone to their demise. Thanks to advances in technology and an improvement in communication and the distribution of wealth, it’s easier, if not easy, to survive in tough areas.

Take a simple example. Every morning you leave your home through the skylight and spend a god few hours digging out the snow from your home. If there’s a lot of snow, the whole family and even the neighbors might join in to help out. If you’re a suburban type who has moved out to the boonies to ‘reconnect with nature’ or something, it’s likely that you don’t have the back to put into this kind of work. You can’t get going in the mornings without an espresso and Bloomberg or some other nonsense. Perhaps you need a protein shake and some yoga. That’s not going to shift several tons of snow for you, though.

If you’re smart, you’ll have purchased a powerful snowblower from Snow Shifts that you can use to do the work for you. If you’re extra smart, you’ll have a few dollars ready to hand over to the neighbor’s kid who woke up three hours ago and who has just finished using your snowblower to clear last night’s snowfall from around you building.

One self-defeating tactic that the weak use when they stay in challenging climates, is to lock themselves away in the hope that time will pass quickly and they’ll be able to stay indoors, away from the heat, the cold, the rain, the bears, snakes and so on. This is actually one of the worst things you could do. By staying cooped up, you end up denying yourself essential vitamin B and fresh air. Moreover, you are likely to sink into a depressive state by staying inside a box, like a caged animal. For the good of your mental health, you need to see the sky, the clouds, a sunset, trees, mountains, sand, water. Embrace your environment as much as you can. Think of how lucky you are to experience such wonders. Stop being afraid.

The two things that will really help you in such conditions are to learn from and cooperate with more experienced individuals. People tend to help weaker ones out. Stick at everything you try. Persevere. Take pride in your work. When things don’t come easily, they are appreciated more. If you’ve spent all day trying to catch something to eat, it’s going to taste so much better than if you just ordered it to be delivered to your home.