If you’re looking for proof that the human spirit can overcome challenging conditions and long odds, then look no further than the latest story from Popular Mechanics. A few days back, writer John Wenz published an article on the Pop Mech website sharing his picks for the ten greatest survival stories of all time. Each of the entries tells a tale of overcoming long odds in order to survive an ordeal that would leave most people paralyzed with fear and indecision. But in this case, each of the stories serve as inspiration, reminding us of what we are capable of when desperation sets in and the sheer will to go on living takes over.
Chances are, you’ll be familiar with at least a few of the stories that made the Popular Mechanics countdown. For instance, the tale of Ernest Shackleton, and his ship the Endurance, who spent months trapped in ice in the Antarctic is amongst the most famous survival stories of all times. Likewise, the tale of Aaron Ralston, who famously cut off his own arm after a boulder fell on it, has become an legend amongst outdoor enthusiasts. Last year’s ordeal with the teenage Thai soccer team also made the list, and for good reason. The boys spent 17 days trapped inside a cave that eventually started to flood with water, before they were rescued.
Some of the other stories are not quite so well known, but are just as compelling and awe-inspiring. For instance, Steven Callahan spent 76 days adrift at sea waiting to be rescued, while Juliane Koepcke was the lone survivor of a plane crash in the Peruvian jungle, who then had to overcome the wilderness in order to make it back alive. Her tale is a harrowing one indeed, particularly as you learn more of the details.
Reading these stories of survival can make you wonder how you would react if you found yourself in such a desperate situation. It’s easy to say that you might just give up and die, because you could never do the things that these survivors managed to do. But when placed in such dire circumstances we often find an inner strength that keeps us moving forward. Sometimes we even surprise ourselves when it comes to our own self preservation. Most of the folks who lived through these harrowing adventures were just normal people like the rest of us, and yet they still found a way to make it out alive. Their determination is a reminder to never give up, as you never know what might happen. `
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