Advice from Fake Bear Grylls

Drawing || Natasha Michels

WORDS || Aswathi Neelakandan

Dear Bear,

I am always so forgetful and unprepared for everything. I can’t help it! I am falling behind and it’s exhausting. What should I do?


Alas my friend, unpreparedness is not the enemy here. I have managed to check my emails by crafting a makeshift telegraph machine from a fish fin, a bird claw and my wedding ring. I’m currently sitting atop a glacier in Iceland but just had a cup of my finest piss so I’m filled with enough protein and chlorides to deliver this advice and live another 3.12 hours.

Now I don’t know what conditions you are up against exactly, they’re probably nowhere near as rugged and life threatening as mine but I can sense a common spirit between us. Dan, you’re a survivor – am I right? Therefore you are prepared.

Three words: mind over matter. I have ventured wide from the Canadian Rockies to the Borneo Jungle, the Northern Territory to the cover of British GQ. As many have watched on, I have been caught in very slippy, very dangerous situations; where a match, rope or cloth could have improved my conditions dramatically (GQ cover excluded).

But I have never allowed my thoughts to trail off in the wrong direction. Do you know why? Bravery only exits in a hyper-reality where you have sharpened your emotions; you are alert, confident and yes, fearless. The moment you tremble and wish for something better like a blanket or filtered water, you have lost.

It sounds like you are in a comfort pit. I call it a pit because it’s not just a zone, it’s a downfall of ambition. (You can read that in my book Survival Guide for Life by me, Bear Grylls).

You are contained in a box, created by your inability to remember things like your Opal card or a media essay on health misrepresentations that was due yesterday. You don’t have to break the box Dan. Ease up! You just need to accept it and be excited by its potential. That is where creativity thrives and where you can finally lead your own way.

So rub some dirt on that weak ‘save me’ attitude of yours and don’t pack anything at all. You already have all that you require, right inside your head. I hope you can embrace the uncertainty of unpreparedness and transform that energy bouncing within your limitations into greatness.

Good luck my good man.