If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking to yourself “what’s the chance of me ever getting stuck on an island?” And that’s a fair point. Yet the problem-solving process you would use is extremely similar to the one your use in your real life. Some people are great at coming up with new, creative ideas. Others are particularly talented at bring those ideas to life. But regardless, it takes a combination of both ideas and execution to find success, or in this case, safety.

Think of it this way…

One day you wake up, and you are in the middle of nowhere. You are surrounded by miles of blue oceans and thousands of tall, forest-green trees. There’s not a soul sight – you are all alone. Your worst nightmare has come true when you realize you are stranded on a deserted island, with no means to survive and no way to send for help. What do you do?

Okay, obviously you make a survival plan. But are your spur-of-the-moment ideas really going to save you? How about the execution of those ideas while your heart is pounding, and your hands are shaking? Slow down. Take a breath. You’ve got this.

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Establish a Voice of Reason

In the midst of chaos, we often forget the importance of reasoning. It’s easy to take any idea you have and run with it. Yet, if it’s not thought out and executed, it can lead to a waste of time, resources, and worst of all, inspiration. The solution? Be open to the possibility of surviving but understand that there’s only a handful of ways to get rescued. Your voice of reason will help separate your good ideas from the bad.

Good Idea: Create a large rescue signal to planes and ships as they pass by the island.

Bad Idea: Start exploring the island without any strategy in mind.

Utilize Your Resources

Look around. The island is full of tools and resources you can use to turn your good idea into a reality. Now’s the time to gather the supplies and improvise when needed. There’s not enough wood to create a large signal fire? The waves keep erasing your SOS sand drawing? Take a step back. What resources do you have that could work? Don’t be afraid to get creative.

Giant palm leaves and a wide-open field? That could work!

Stay Focused on the Mission at Hand

You’ve accepted the idea. You executed it to the best of your ability. Now what? The only thing you can do now is wait. It can be easy to doubt yourself when something doesn’t work out right away. One of the most difficult part of ideas and execution is waiting for the results. Keeping a positive mindset and staying focused on the original mission will help district you from defeat. Good things take time.

It’s been three days… You’re about to give up. Wait, is that a plane? 

You get it. It’s not about the ideas you had or even the execution of those ideas. It’s how you were able to combine the two to bring yourself to safety. Life is a treasure map – it’s your job to put the pieces together.