July 8, 2013 at 8:56 AM ET
As the bestselling author of "Mud, Sweat, and Tears," and host of "Man vs. Wild" and "Get Out Alive," Bear Grylls had made his name by pushing himself to the limit at every opportunity. In "A Survival Guide for Life," Grylls advocates techniques for personal enrichment in both the wilderness, and in your life. Here's an excerpt.
1. HAVE A DREAM
This isn’t a get-rich-quick book – this is an insider’s guide on how to follow your heart, and live an empowered, effective, between the two, there is only ever one real winner.
The place to start this life journey is with ﬁnding your dream.
Dreams are powerful. They are among those precious few intangibles that have inspired men and women to get up, go to hell and back, and change the world.
And I’m not talking about the sort of fantasy dreams that can’t physically happen – I am talking about the sort of dream that will inspire you, one that you are really prepared to sweat for, in order to make it become your reality.
This quote from T. E. Lawrence means a lot to me:
All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.
Our job is to be the dangerous type. The one who dreams by day and acts to make those dreams come alive and actually happen.
So take some time to get this right. Go for a long walk. Think big. Think about what really makes you smile.
Ask yourself what you would do if you didn’t need the money. Ask yourself what really excites you. Ask what would inspire you to keep going long after most people would quit.
Find those answers and therein lies your dream. We all have our own personal Everest, and if we follow its calling, that is when life truly becomes an adventure.
Now, obviously your dream needs to be realistic and achievable, so use your common sense and exercise good judgement – but don’t confuse realism with pessimism! Think big, make sure it is physically possible, and as long as the key ingredients to achieving it are vision and hard work, then go for it.
Write it down. Pin it on your wall – somewhere you will see it every day.
Words and pictures have power.
OK, we have begun...
2. DON’T LISTEN TO THE DREAMSTEALERS
The very next thing that will happen, once you write your goals down and start to talk to people about them, is that you will meet those all-too common cynics who will look at you and smirk.
I call them the dream-stealers.
Beware: they are more dangerous to mankind than you might ever imagine.
In life, we will never be short of people who want to knock our conﬁdence or mock our ambitions.
There are lots of reasons why people might want to rain on your parade: perhaps they’re a little jealous that you want more out of life than they might hope for, or they’re worried your success will make them feel inferior. It might be that their motives come from a better place and they just want to spare you the failure, heartache and tears.
Either way, the results are the same: you get dissuaded from achieving your dreams and from fulﬁlling your potential.
The key is not to listen to them too hard. Hear them, if you must – out of respect – but then smile and push on.
Remember, the key to your future success is going to be embracing the very same things those dream-stealers are warning you about: the failure, the heartache and the tears.
All those things will be key stepping stones on the road to success, and are actually good solid markers that you are doing something right.
3. JUST BEGIN . . .
The greatest journeys all start with a single step.
When you stand at the bottom of a mountain, you can rarely see a clear route to the top. It is too far away and the path too twisty and hidden behind obstacles. The only way to climb the sucker is to start – and then keep putting one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.
There’s a quote from Martin Luther King that I love:
Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.
It is good advice.
When you are setting out on a long and difﬁcult journey towards your goal, you will not be able to foresee every obstacle or anticipate every lucky break. But what you will ﬁnd is that with every step you gain experience, perspective, skill and conﬁdence. It is these elements that will ultimately help you reach your goal.
But you only gain experience, perspective, skill and conﬁdence when you start moving.
See how it works now?
Sometimes the journey ahead can feel so daunting and so implausible that we lack the courage to take the ﬁrst step. And there is never a shortage of good excuses: it’s not the right time; the odds are too stacked against me; or no one like me has ever done it before.
I’m also willing to bet that Neil Armstrong, the ﬁrst man on the moon, Sir Edmund Hillary, the ﬁrst man to climb Everest, or even Thomas Edison, trying thousands and thousands of times to make the light bulb work, had a good list of excuses that they could have used, too.
And I can promise you they all felt inadequate at many times along their path.
You know what the sad thing is? It’s that most people never ﬁnd out what they are truly capable of, because the mountain looks frightening from the bottom, before you begin. It is easier to look down than up.
There’s a poignant poem by Christopher Logue that I’m often reminded of when people tell me their ‘reasons’ for not embarking on a great adventure.
Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It’s too high!
COME TO THE EDGE!
And they came,
And we pushed,
And they flew.
I have a sneaking suspicion that if you can just take that ﬁrst step off the edge, you might ﬁnd that you, too, can ﬂy.
If you can just take that ﬁrst step towards your own dreams – take that enormous leap of faith towards beginning whatever it is – then new possibilities open up before you.
It is the magic of beginning. Things start to happen.
Then it is all about hanging on for the ride – keeping cheerful, not quitting, trusting the right people, listening to that inner voice, doing what others won’t or can’t, and never losing sight of the goal.
But more of all that good stuff to come...
4. CHASE THE GOAL, NOT THE MONEY
We live in a society where people love to equate success with money. It is always a mistake.
I have met enough unhappy millionaires to know that money alone does not make you happy. I’ve seen people work so hard they do not have any time for their families (or even time to enjoy the money).
They doubt their friends’ motives, or become paranoid about people trying to steal from them.
Wealthy people can all too easily end up feeling guilty and unworthy, and it can be a heavy load to carry – especially if you don’t treat that ﬁckle impostor right.
You see, money, for its own sake, like success or failure, is a thing of little lasting signiﬁcance. It is what we ‘do’ with it and how we treat it that makes the life-changing difference.
Money, success and failure can drastically improve or ruin people’s lives. So you have got to treat it for what it is. And you have got to stay the master of it.
Wealthy people so often ﬁnd that the summit of their mountains – the success that they sought – isn’t enough. And they are right. It isn’t enough to satisfy our deep hunger for meaning and purpose. (And we will talk about that later on.)
In essence, you have got to build your house on good foundations – on rock, not sand – and money as a goal in itself will never satisfy you.
So choose wisely. And be careful what you wish for. When you start putting the correct steps into place, good things will start to happen. So you have got to be prepared for the success when it comes.
Money can make the path more comfortable, but it will never remove the potholes.
The billionaire John Paul Getty famously said: ‘I would give everything I own for one happy marriage.’ That is pretty telling. Money doesn’t solve all your ills. In fact, money, like success, tends, instead, to magnify your life – and if you are living with the wrong values, money will make things much worse.
Conversely, if you get it right, money can be an incredible blessing.
So always keep referring back to page 15 at the start of this book. Look at your dream. Never lose sight of it, because if you attain it, you will be rich beyond measure...and I’m not talking dollars and cents.
A ﬁnal note on this, one little secret: when you truly commit yourself to your dream, when you ooze enthusiasm and let your talents shine (however small or ﬂedgling they might be at the start), you will often ﬁnd that the money comes to you by default. But if you just chase the money, like a butterﬂy, it will often ﬂy away.
Follow the dream and let your talent thrive, better people’s lives, stick to it through thick and thin, and I bet you ﬁnd out that money will be close beside you.
So try not to worry about money, ever – instead focus on the journey. And certainly don’t waste time and energy accumulating just wealth.
Follow your goals wholeheartedly and there will be enough to satisfy you.
Just wait and see where your dreams can take you.
Excerpted from "A Survival Guide for Life"by Bear Grylls. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022.