How to Use Your Survival Skills to Boost Your Confidence and Career!

Escaping reality and living in an uninhabited, unknown and unexpected location with nothing but a knife, fishing net and hammock was something I spent a long time dreaming about.

The search to find a way to turn a sought after vision into something tangible by means of conquering thousands of miles across socialised landscapes to find at the end, something which had been left alone. When found, that paradise soon manifested into an internal living breathing “thing” that you find inside yourself. It cannot be explained or described, you just know it rests somewhere beneath the layer of skin which covers your chest.  

You can only find this inner self as a result of a unique experience which strips you down to nothing but your outer skin, which you can later aid you through your steps in life, career goals and personal targets. It’s a different kind of confidence. 

My journey…

I set out to the Philippines in pursuit of untouched paradise with my colleague Martin, who forever dreamed of escapism and true flawless nature of the untouched kind. We planned our route leaving Edinburgh (Scotland), via Manila and eventually boarded a local flight, landing on a detachment of the Philippines named Palawan. 72 hours of travelling from start to finish, we passed the final fields of Palawan and arrived in a quaint southern village named El Nido. The village felt like a passing place from old methodical ages – in an attempt to bring forward in time, created only by means of visitation from people raised in modern society.

However, the attempt to merge from old to new was not done correctly. Somewhere along this road to change the smokey, traditional yet unorthodox land was lost completely. Left to rest free from influences of an outside urban civilization.


Several fishermen refused our request to search for a remote uninhabited location, until we met a fisherman named Ruel who agreed to take us and collect us again, after a period of 2 weeks. He advised there were no water sources on the island and urged us to take supplies, as the fruit and coconuts may be somewhat limited. I trusted this man. He wore a kind face and warm smile; one of the few whose primary concern was not only money but genuine concern for wellbeing. After composing ourselves for an excursion where the destination is completely unknown, uninhabited and unvisited, we set off with Ruel on his Bangka (local Filipino fishing boat).

Travel time and location shall remain undisclosed.

What you find when you arrive is yourself. Who you are when everything is taken away, stripped of the things we grow to feel are our necessities. The first sleepless nights began as everything starts to move under your hammock when the sun sets into the horizon. When this happens, natural light disappears revealing only darkness, the time in which nocturnal insects come to life moving things all around you. Night is another world to many species. You later find you are sharing a land native to a group of 4 monitor lizards, who are deeply interested in your fish remains.

One alpha male of the group is particularly intrigued in your taste; he invites you to wake to find him licking your back as you sleep. When swinging the hammock to see what”s underneath you, he simply stares right back at you as if to say “what are you looking at?”.

Experiences from having nothing, finding the supplies to keep your body fed, feeling weaker as the days merge together. The need to self manufacture a spear to fish. Making friends with schools of fish which visit you each morning to play with the hairs on your legs as you brush your teeth, a wonderful reminder of the bliss that exists in the same place which also felt like a wasteland leaving you starving under a burning sun, I lost what felt like a stone in the first week (6.3kg).

 But you gain confidence, the will to keep going because your body needs to. To drive to reach a goal because this is what you chose. The desire to succeed because you wanted this, you have to. Your persistence to meet the deadline. Fear, excitement and drive are what build up that “thing” in your chest. It makes you who you are when you leave the experience, as you get to take it with you. Apply it to your personal life; use it in your workplace. This is the greatest career lesson one can ever learn.

Confidence is not something you can be taught; confidence is a state of thought. Positive thinking merged with past experiences can override training, preparing you for obstacles you face in the daily workplace. The thin line separating the characteristics which come from this is arrogance, understanding the two differentiations can change the way you are seen in the workplace completely.


Knowing that one can quite literally survive with the bare necessities in life, and not just survive, but excel in this environment, goes to show that a person”s potential to succeed in their career is huge.  

After leaving the island I feel any set target, goal or objective is never impossible. Apply yourself with the positive outlook towards the task at hand and never lose sight of the end goal. If you feel encouraged by reading about experiences such as the island, test yourself in your own lifestyle, choose something which you feel so passionate about you can barely contain yourself. Cross the line, you will soon find your career and ambitions follow suit with the latest development in your skill set which make you an accredited asset to your team.

Escape the rat race to learn and improve new things about yourself, apply what comes your way to finding your dream job, internationally or locally… is up to you.

Remember to use the skills you found in yourself to always be the person you really, need to be.


 Sourced Images: Owned by author Mark Bowers