Is life throwing a curveball? Four “survivor skills” everyone should know.

When I was battling cancer people would say to me, “Susan, you seem so strong .” I didn’t feel that way at the time, but looking back; I realized that I did cope differently than many people. 

First of all, I surrendered to reality. I didn’t want to waste any of the precious time that I had left! I assessed my situation and then created Outcome A: Survive, and Outcome B: Die.

I planned for each scenario, including writing my will (Outcome B), and then I moved forward to focus on Plan A. 

I learned that our emotional responses to challenging obstacles are rooted not just in our temperaments, but also in our ability to assess the situation and what we can do about it. Think of it as a simple equation: 

Emotional Response = Challenge Faced + Coping Ability + Personal Perspective

People who have confidence in their coping ability will find it easier to face challenges. People who have doubts about their coping capacity may be more fearful and less prepared to cope with a problem. 

Similarly, people who approach challenges with a positive perspective fare better than those who set themselves up for discomfort or failure. 

One step at a time

In my workshops, I teach the four survivor skills: Faith, Hope, Love and Gratitude, and how to put them into practice in your own life. 

There is no easy button. Start with baby steps now and practice, practice, practice. In time, faith, hope, love, and gratitude will become part of your subconscious…and your life and coping skills will be better.

The four survivor skills:

You are the master of your thoughts. Your mind is stronger than any challanges if you practice:

  • Faith – Believe that you are part of something bigger. Pray.
  • Hope – see’ the possibilities, during good times and when facing challenges.
  • Love – Surround yourself with supporters. Share your story, because sharing is empowering. Practice self-care. 
  • Gratitude – Big or small, find everything in life that you are grateful for. Keep a gratitude journal. 


Remember, you hold the key to peace and happiness. 

Florida greetings


About Susan Binau
Susan is a motivational speaker, published author, and survivor of cancer and other life-threatening illnesses that changed her perspective on life. 
Her mission is to inspire others through "hands-on tools," educational programs, coaching and self-help books.