STOP To Survive Chaos Like A Natural

April 6th, 2018 | by Matthew Monte
STOP To Survive Chaos Like A Natural

Once upon a time parents trusted me to teach their children how to survive when lost in the woods and swamps of Louisiana. It’s a scary thought, being responsible for a small squadron of 14-year-olds, but one I embraced at the time. For some reason, managing the chaos that is tweens with pocket knives seemed easy. More than a decade later I would understand why.

To work in college athletics is to understand chaos. If you can’t thrive under stress, you won’t make it. Whether it’s a scandal or conflicting personalities, the key is to finding a method of progression that allows you to work through the madness.
You know, just organize the chaos. Simple, right?
But for those of us who are “naturals” at it, chaos is that simple because often, isn’t chaos at all. A decade after teaching those little monsters, a personal crisis would reveal that my “natural” abilities actually came from that wilderness survival class. And it was the lesson plan, not the experience that created it.
The S.T.O.P. Method.
It’s simple. So simple that most people completely ignore it once they’re taught. It’s also so simple that many people also do it naturally without being taught.
It was developed to help people survive longer once becoming lost or disoriented, but I’ve found the applications are endless.
S Stands for Stop.
A little derivative, but hear me out. What should you do once you’re lost, physically or mentally? Stop.
There is a reason we always tell people to stay put once they realize they are lost. Often in a panic or false sense of control over the situation, people will wander farther off their path thab they would have if they would have just stay put. Just stop, sit still and take a breath.
T Stands for Think.
Now that you have oxygen flowing to your brain and the world has stopped spinning, think about your situation in real terms. How did you get here? What are the real repercussions of this? What should you prepare for if things get worse? And often, most importantly, how can you reach out for help?
O Stands for Observe
Look around you. More often than not, the world isn’t on fire. If you had a chance to stop, then odds are your situation isn’t completely dire. There are methods and tools and even routes to get out of this. Not all of those routes are comfortable, and often they require personal sacrifice, but your need to know what they are so you aren’t hiking blind.
P Stands for Plan
Lastly, make a plan. Write it down and expect it to fail at every step. That will make you consider the consequences of your plan, and ultimately, cause you to take the route that will keep you alive.
For most scouts in my classes, that route often ended up being no route at all. Instead, they hunkered down, built a fire, a shelter, and found water. It was the path that allowed them to live another day. When you consider the alternatives, living in the woods for a few days isn’t so bad.
For the professional, the consequences are rarely life-threatening, but could often be career defining. Stop and make the right choices. Before long, chaos won’t even exist in your mind and you will become a “natural” too.

About Matthew Monte
Matthew Monte is Managing Editor of College AD and formerly Co-Managing Editor of Underdog Dynasty. He is a graduate of The B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration at UL Lafayette, mostly because it didn't require a foreign language. Matt is also a recovering stand up comedian who occasionally relapses.

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