October 28, 2023

Real world examples of soft skill power strategies that can help you survive difficult life situations.

New examples are added at the bottom of the list.


“During the horrifying hour, Meng recalled reading a newspaper story about someone else in a similar situation who had managed to escape, and tried to think positively.

I kept encouraging myself,” Meng said. “Someone did it before, and maybe if I calm down, and think about it, there’s an opportunity for me.”

“Tsarnaev carjacking survivor Dun Meng on why he’s sharing his story in ‘Patriot’s Day’”
Kevin Slane
Boston dot com
December 20, 2016


“A man slips behind someone else into a packed elementary school with an AK-47-type weapon. He goes into the office and shoots at the ground, then darts between there and outside to fire at approaching police.

So what do you do?

If you’re Antoinette Tuff, who works in the front office at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy just outside Atlanta, you don’t run. You talk. You divulge your personal struggles to the gunman, you tell him you love him, you even proactively offer to walk outside with him to surrender so police won’t shoot.”

“Antoinette Tuff hailed as ‘true hero’ for handling Georgia school gunman”
Greg Botelho
Vivian Kuo
Josh Levs
August 22, 2013

Prepared For  a Purpose
Antoinette Tuff


Mike Marshall was a 14 year old victim in the Chowchilla kidnapping. Kidnappers took 26 children and 1 bus driver captive and imprisoned them in a box truck buried in a quarry.

I thought to myself: If we’re going to die, we’re going to die getting the hell out of here.”

Marshall worked to unseal the manhole at the top of the buried truck.

“I was, you know, drained, tired. I had no energy. I was exhausted. My equilibrium was totally off and I didn’t know what was up or down.”

The bus driver was afraid that the kidnappers were waiting at the top of the hole to harm Mike. Mike became afraid, too. When he was first able to see out of the hole, he saw a hallucination. He sat down and wasn’t sure he could continue.

“We took, you know, a little break. But something clicked and I said to myself, ‘You’re a cowboy. You’re going to get on that crazy ass horse. You’re gonna to do whatever it is you gotta do.’

I didn’t care if they were up there. I wasn’t going to give up. From that point on, it didn’t matter.”

Larry Park was another Chowchilla victim. He suffered trauma and depression but…

“…never gave up — not completely, because I was taught, at 6 years old by a 14-year-old boy: You don’t give up. You keep digging.

“After Children on School Bus Were Kidnapped and Buried Underground, 14-Year-Old Miraculously Led Escape”
Christine Pelisek
People Magazine
December 4, 2023

CNN Films and Max


When it comes to protecting yourself…

Do you know when to use social skills instead of violence?

Do you know when to use violence instead of social skills?

Do you know when to be slow and deliberate with violence?

Do you know when your body could save your life while your gun couldn’t?

The Art of Manliness With Host Brett McKay
Podcast #81
Target Focus Training with Tim Larkin
September 14, 2014 * Last updated: September 27, 2021


The Art of Manliness With Host Brett McKay
Podcast #85
Situational Awareness With Patrick Van Horne
October 10, 2014 * Lat updated September 29, 2021.
Entire Episode


© Paula M. Kramer, 2023
All rights reserved.
Updated February 12, 2024.