F. WHEN THINGS GO BADLY WRONG
When things go very badly wrong, remain calm, stay in the moment, and firstly focus on the worst case scenario. If the worst case involves serious injury or death in the very short term then take action. If not relax, and assess what timeframe the worst case will result in serious injury or death, then assess the options available to you in that timeframe.
I have spent a lot of time living alone and traveling alone. In my every day life I also get around from place to place on my own. One result of this is that I have been faced with lots of difficult situations. In my experience, no matter how dramatic the situation may seem at the time, they are rarely life threatening or likely to cause serious injury. So they are not that bad, despite appearances.
For example, I have fallen out of my chair many times, often a long way from home, and sometimes with no one around. These situations rarely involve any risk of injury. The drama is usually more in the reactions of bystanders rather than any physical threat. For this reason the key skill is to remain calm, take charge and give clear instructions.
There are some exceptions. Falling out of the chair on a busy road, or just getting stuck on a busy road with lots of high speed traffic, is not good particularly if the traffic cannot see you well. Falling out or getting stuck in places that are too hot or too cold is also a potentially life threatening scenario if it is likely to last long enough for you to get hypothermia or heat stroke.
My approach to these three situations (high speed traffic, hypothermia or heat stroke) is to avoid them. I avoid them by revising my plans whenever I believe that my plan includes a reasonable risk that any one of those three threats will actually occur, and that I will have no way out of the situation if it does. I usually revise the plan, rather than abandoning it, so that I have a way out if things go badly. Usually the revised plan just involves choosing an alternative route, or mode of transport.
Other than those three things the worst things that have happened to me have involved varying degrees of embarrassment and/or inconvenience for me and/or the people near me. I am not saying these things are not important, or difficult, but they are not life threatening. That means the best way of responding to them is to get them over with as quickly as possible so everyone can just move on.
Rule number 6 – Take reasonable risks, but consider the worst case scenario and ensure you have a backup plan.
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