What I learnt from being on Survivor South Africa

What I learnt from being on Survivor South Africa

In 2014 I had the opportunity to be one of two Captains on Survivor South Africa. I had never watched the series before so I asked the producers to send me some videos so that I could see what it was all about.

After long deliberation and a couple of sessions with my friend and mentor Casper Oelofsen, I decided to take on the challenge. Little did I know that this would not only be the toughest challenge of my life, but also a life changing month for me.

When I watched the videos that were given to me I really thought that they were hiding certain things from the viewers. I really thought that it wasn’t as tough as it was portrayed to the public. So let’s start with toilets. I was 100% convinced that each tribe would have a “longdrop” of some sort hidden in the bush. First mistake. No toilets at all! A spot along the beach and a quick swim was your only option.

Then I also thought that if contestants didn’t feel well from hunger they would be given supplements of some sort to help them. Wrong again!! After 16 days of having a handful of rice in the morning and a few pieces of coconut for dinner, I developed some serious diarrhea and it just wouldn’t stop. I went to the medic who looked after my tribe and I asked him if I could get an Imodium or something similar to stop my stomach pains and diarrhea. He looked into my pupils and told me that I would be fine as long as I drank enough water. 

The only two things we received in unlimited supply was water and sunblock. The only thing that we were certain about was that there would be no certainty at all. Under these crazy circumstances I still had to lead a team of 10 individuals who all had a different mission for what they wanted out of Survivor. I had led many teams in my life before but the reason Survivor was the toughest thing I have ever done, was because I had no food and I still had to win the trust of ten tribe members I had never met before.

Now that I have painted the scene for you I would like to try and give you 5 tips that I learnt from Survivor. COVID 19 has put many of us in survival mode and the biggest lesson to come from it all is how we adapt to our circumstances and new environment.   

1)     Control the controllable:

There is so much uncertainty at the moment that you cannot focus on things outside of your control. Will schools close? Will the kids play sports again? Will my company be able to afford my salary? The list can go on for days but focus on the things you have control of. Your physical and mental health for instance.

2)     Surround yourself with people who you can trust:

In these incredibly difficult times, it is crucial to have people in your life that you can trust and that you can share your deepest thoughts with. Having the luxury of letting off small bits of steam will help prevent an explosion.

3)     Find a daily routine:

On Survivor we didn’t know what would happen next. One morning they wake you up at 6am and the next day you sit around until well after 11am. I decided to bring in a daily routine so that there was some sort of certainty for us. If you are working from home, find a daily routine that is similar to your work routine and stick with it. It will help with concentration and your mental health.

4)     Think long term:

When our body goes into shock mode, we tend to think short term as it is very hard to think further than “Where will I get my next meal?” Try and plan things well into the future so that you have something to look forward to.

5)     Practice mindfulness:

By being aware of other people’s heartache, loss and stress and reaching out to them helps us to be grateful for what we have. Having a grateful attitude in these tough times helps me cope with every new challenge I face.

I am not a doctor but I have led many teams in my life. These 5 tips are things that have helped me through very difficult times, but they may not work for you. If you are mentally, physically, and emotionally drained please seek professional help.

Follow these 5 Survivor Tips on my Facebook and LinkedIn page. For more articles, subscribe to my blog page. If you would like to find out more about Debunking Motivation or have me as a guest at your next corporate or social event, drop me an email on corne@cornekrige.com

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