Marc Wallert: Are you already living or are you still waiting?

24. May 2021 – Oliver Stoldt

Marc Wallert: Are you already living or are you still waiting?

Self-efficacy through the jungle – “Self-efficacy” helped Marc Wallert get out of the victim mindset and stay strong when he was a hostage in the jungle in 2000. Only when he stopped waiting and started acting did he feel powerful and less at the mercy of others. Feeling empowered to act strengthens psychological resilience, which is what everyone is talking about today as “resilience.” Resilience helped Marc Wallert survive his kidnapping and 140 days in the Philippine jungle. His hostage situation back then shows striking parallels to the current pandemic: trapped in an opaque and threatening situation that we cannot escape. The “jungle strategies” therefore work just as effectively in the current situation as they once did in the jungle. So how did Marc Wallert succeed in using “self-efficacy” back then and how can that help us here and now?

Attention victim attitude

Marc Wallert still remembers exactly this feeling of powerlessness as a hostage: They felt depressed and waited, waited and waited for release. Thus, the hostages found themselves in the typical victim posture, both internally and externally. They squatted on the floor with their shoulders slumped. This makes everything worse, because this posture in itself has a negative effect on mental well-being. Currently, there are many people who are eagerly waiting for their vaccination appointment. They are exhausted after months of deprivation due to limited freedom of movement and contact. The fear of a Corona infection is sometimes so great that even the term “vaccination envy” is making the rounds.

The situation is tense, and so are the people. Everyone longs for freedom. That is human. But who only waits, becomes the victim! Because if humans tie the own fate only to the external circumstances, then they feel delivered. Those who remain passive victims lose their inner strength and confidence. Doing instead of waiting in crisis situations: Do instead of waiting!

Marc Wallert: How you can survive the Corona infection.

Sometimes we cannot escape our fate. But we can ALWAYS do something to improve our situation, at least a little. And that is often enough to strengthen us mentally. In the jungle, Marc Wallert and the hostage sat in captivity for weeks, on the ground and chewing coconuts. At that time, the hostages almost all had back pain. Then, however, the opportunity to become active suddenly presented itself: A few wooden slats, a hammer and a saw. Marc Wallert seized the opportunity and started to tinker a chair to improve the conditions of detention. As it turned out later, this project had an unexpected side effect mentally.

The Corona pandemic has made us all hostages, so to speak, since we cannot escape the global restrictions. But even today we can do more than simply wait for the pandemic to end or for a vaccination date! If you are afraid of a severe Corona infection, you can do something yourself. Yes, it is possible, demonstrably! A healthy intestinal flora, for example, or 30 minutes of daily exercise already reduce the probability of severe courses of infection. So it’s better to exercise than to sit on the sofa with chips and cola. Alcohol and tobacco are also not a permanent solution. Smokers belong to the Corona risk group. Corona is therefore THE opportunity to quit smoking. Seen in this light, this crisis is also a real opportunity!

Strong and self-effective through the crisis

Marc Wallert’s wooden chair was a massive improvement in the (over)living conditions in the jungle. The hostages could finally sit upright again and lean against it for a change. As an office-chair-ridden management consultant, he would never have dreamed back then what a physical boon such a chair could be! The psychological effect was even stronger: the moment Marc Wallert picked up the saw, he felt the power of “self-efficacy”. Immediately he felt “self-effective” instead of at the mercy of others. He could do something himself to improve his situation. He became capable of acting again and this turned him from a powerless victim into an active creator.

Marc Wallert’s tip for the Corona jungle: Don’t wait for the pandemic to end or for a vaccination date. Free yourself internally and take action! What exactly you do is ultimately irrelevant for your mental well-being, the main thing is that you do something. Because life is too short to wait for it.

Book Marc Wallert as a speaker for a presentation – LIVE or online – with The Premium Speakers Agency.

Marc Wallert

Expert Resilience, Agility, VUCA world and Teamwork