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Monday, May 14, 2012

Book Review: The Survivor Personality by Al Siebert

Book Review: The Survivor Personality by Al Siebert

I just finished a great book that I want to talk to you about. It’s called the Survivor Personality. In the book, the author studied and talks about the qualities that make a survivor.

The Survivor Personality outlines some basic characteristics of a survivor: Adaptable, Resilient, Non-judgmental, Fighter and Non Victim Mentality.

The survivor personality is very chameleon-like in nature. They are the person that can debate both sides of an issue. They confuse most people because that can display character traits that are opposite.

For example, if asked, “Are you a optimist and pessimist?” They may answer “Both, depending on the situation.”

The author talks about the Good Child Syndrome where we’re taught to be nice, courtesy, listen to adults. We carry these attitudes into adulthood. The problem with the good child syndrome is that in stressful, life-or-death situations, these attitudes can be detrimental to our survival. In some situations, for example being mugged on the street, being a nice guy will not help you survive.

These attitudes are so ingrained in our personality that we have difficulty getting around them. They hold us back from turning it on and switch our attitude at that moment.

The Survivor Personality is very resilient and bounces back quickly in the face of adversity. When bad things happen - they lose a business, a relationship fails, or get ill, they will jump right back into it and become a success.

They don’t cast judgment of something being right or wrong. Their views aren’t very black and white – right or wrong. They are likely to think that the situation is what it is.

This attitude is common for survivor types that are veterans of the military. This allows them to take action quickly without too much judgment. They look more from the perspective of whether it’s was effective.

He gives a great example of Cancer patients or terminally ill patients that survived after given a diagnose that they had a couple months to live. The ones that survived tended to question and not accept the Doctor’s diagnose.

They were the worst patients because they didn’t listen and believe everything the doctor said. They would request a second opinion, ask tons of questions, and were disagreeable. They just continued to challenge the diagnose to the end.

Non-Victim Mentality
The survivors never accept the role of the victim. You know the old saying, “When going through, keep going.” They don’t take on the poor-me attitude. Even in bad situations, they didn’t act like a victim. They do what they needed to make turn the bad situation around.

A few years back with my karate school when the economy went sour, I was worried but I decided that at the least, I would go down swinging. Sometime this Victim Mentality becomes a convenient excuse to fail. At this time, many of the other karate schools succumbed to these excuses to fail.

We went from having 15 karate schools in the Yellow Pages to 3. This left our school with fewer competitors and we did well over the course of the bad economy. 
Music by Kevin MacLeod (

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