Breaking The Rules

How many of you reading this have ever heard of the “Survival Rules of 3”? A quick search on the internet and anyone can find the Survival Rules 3. Bottom line for the Survival Rules of Three, when the rules are broken, the result is death. The rules are simple, straight forward and can have some small variations, but what is listed below are the standard three rules.

- 3 minutes without AIR and the result is death

- 3 hours without SHELTER and the result is death.

- 3 days without WATER and the result is death.

- 3 weeks without FOOD and the result is death.

- 3 months without HOPE and the result is death.


Now, let me be the first to tell you; in the world of survival IF YOU FOLLOW THE RULES the result is death. I am sure we can recall many cases in popular media and historical accounts where someone had broken the rules and lived. Stories that sound like this; woman gets lost in mountains and survives for ten days with no food, man dies in desert from lack of water after being lost for two days and toddler found dead in the bottom of a pool only to be resuscitated by paramedics 15 minutes later. Many survivalists read these accounts and have been left scratching their heads. These accounts contradict the rules of three and what has been taught to many survivalists over the years.


I live by the saying, “if you play by the rules you will die”. I would say that these rules are convenient reminder to some priorities of survival in extreme situations, but not rules. That’s why these rules need to be broken and pretty much every rule pertaining to survival. True wilderness survival does not have a rule book. Survival is adaptive and ever changing. Survival, real survival like we learn about in history lessons has no rules and is all about mindset.


That’s why its hard to teach survival, because survival is all about mindset. Anyone can teach steps, rules and methods, but not everyone can teach mindset. Mindset is the key to breaking the Survival Rules of 3. The women who survived in the mountains for ten days with no food, her mindset was here key her survival. The paramedics who resuscitated the drowned toddler, their mindset was one of true survival on behalf of the toddler. However, the man who died only after two days in the desert with no water; we will never know his mindset. Maybe he believed he had three days according to the rules.


I cannot bring myself to believing in the Survival Rule of 3 and advise all those who teach, practice or are aspiring to build their survivability not to. However, I suggest you look at the Survival Rules of Three as factors to consider, maybe even priorities survival, but the situation, environment and person will ultimately dictate. The mindset of YOU will dictate what is priority and how to adapt the situation. Play by the rules and your playing the wrong game. Survival rules are never written in stone, make your rules and survive.


Check out these books on survival mindset and survival psychology. Click the book covers to learn more and start breaking the rules!



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