11 Random Lessons From the “Alone” TV Series

The Alone TV series is a reality survival show on History channel. What is the point of the Alone tv series? Well they place 10 contestants in a completely remote location with 10 survival items each and have them document their attempt to survive. There’s no time limit, the winner is just whoever survives the longest.

It’s crazy! And so fun to watch.

You witness their rawest moments and hear their deepest revelations. The Alone contestants’ vulnerability allows us to learn from their valuable life lessons without having to actually endure their physical hardships. It’s great.

If you have not seen History channel’s Alone yet, you should. I highly recommend it to everyone I know! Well, just to everyone that likes watching such outdoorsy shows. If you’re reading this on Earthful Life, then you’re probablyyy one of those people.

Where can I watch the show Alone?

At the time of this post, you can watch seasons 1 through 8 on the History app for free. And season 8 of Alone is on Netflix. All 9 seasons are available on iTunes and Prime Video.

Here is my list of life lessons you can take away from the Alone tv series.

If there are any spoilers there will be a “[SPOILER, season __, episode __]” at the beginning of the paragraph. I was liberal with the spoiler announcements, meaning that some “spoilers” are actually just small details, but I’m trying to protect anyone that doesn’t want to be surprised by those details!

Lesson #1 Think outside the box.

Don’t rely on purchased products to only serve their stated purpose, but think innovatively. That could mean crafting an item to serve your own unique purpose.

[SPOILER, season: Alone Frozen, episode 4] Some Alone contestants cleverly think of inventive ways to use their limited resources. For example, one contestant unraveled part of her oversized sweater to use as cordage for marking her snares. Many other Alone contestants have used the skin of animals as pouches to carry other items such as berries.

This is simply an eco-friendly concept we can all benefit from in a world with limited resources. Before throwing away an item that has “served its purpose”, pause to consider how else it can be used.

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Lesson #2 You are capable.

We, as humans, are more durable than we think. Not only can we go a while without food, but we can withstand environments, harsh weather, minimal shelter, and rough living.

You are more capable than you probably think. The next time you are “uncomfortable”, let yourself be reminded of what your amazing body and mind can actually endure. And then toughen up ;P.

“Life” lessons?

Other articles on this topic may be trying to answer the question, “how do you survive the show alone?” My takeaways from the Alone tv series, however, focus more on the bigger life lessons we can apply to our own lives.

woman sitting on mountain peak

Lesson #3 Mental toughness.

Mental strength is KEY! As my husband and I watch Alone, we try to guess who will be going home and who could be a finalist.

As we learn more about each contestant, the things that we can almost guarantee will make them leave early is if they have a family back home, especially one with young kids. The contestant will usually reason that they are wasting time by being away from family. And when they ultimately value family more than the chance of winning the prize money, they tap out. It’s interesting that they don’t realize this before fully committing to being on the show.

Another telltale sign of them leaving early is if a contestant prefers “being busy” rather than spending time with their thoughts. I mean, the show is literally called “alone”…but they didn’t know that their mental health would be so important until they are actually alone with their thoughts.

And then, of course, you need mental toughness to continually tell yourself that you are able to make it through hardships. You need confidence (not to be confused with overoptimism) and the ability to work through worry and anxiety. This mental strength might be as important as the actual survival skills needed to survive the show Alone!

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Lesson #4 Perspective.

Carleigh Fairchild of season 3 said something like, “Living is enjoying the moment. Survival is trying to make it through the moment”. This is one of those life lesson nuggets you get from Alone. It’s perspective.

You have to figure out what your priority is in “living” or “enjoying the moment”. Is it having a family? Spending time with friends? Seeking adventure? Once you decide what “living” means to you, then make sure you do it!

When these people are just surviving day to day in the “wild”, they get a unique perspective many of us are too busy to experience. And that is asking, “what is my purpose? What is it that I want to get out of living? Out of life?” And then some Alone contestants who deal with this question will even quit, forfeiting half a million dollars to pursue whatever it is that is true living to them because it’s worth more to them than money.

Lesson #5 Wild animals are not [usually] out to get you.

This one may seem silly but think about it, the first two seasons were based in a location of extremely high predator density and right before winter when predators are trying to fatten up as much as possible in preparation of less food. And even still, no one is being attacked! No one has been eaten. That’s a good sign…

Sometimes when you are distanced from something dangerous, fear can turn your thoughts to become irrational. I’ve done this. The more I learned about the animals around me from my environmental background, the more I feared what they were capable of. But by watching Alone, you realize wildlife like mountain lions and bears are not typically after you. That should be a relief for any of you that are out “in the field” often for a job or adventure.

That said…of course you should still be aware of your surroundings and behavior while in areas with dangerous wildlife. Make your presence known to avoid startling them. [SPOILER; season: 8, episode 8] While there have been no bear attacks on the tv show Alone, one contestant Clay did get charged by a bear. Even he admitted that he should not have stalked the animal and that had been a mistake.

Lesson #6 It’s OK to fail.

One intro quote of the alone series was this: “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat” – F. Scott Fitzgerald. This is a life lesson in and of itself! But it certainly applies to the show. When contestants make mistakes, they cannot let it feed their insecurity as this could lead to more mistakes or failures.

Similarly when we make one mistake or failure, it is important to get back up again! You can learn from that failure and then keep trying. This is the way to succeed.

For example, when one Alone contest let his small mistakes get to his head, he tapped out!

Lesson #7 Discomfort can be good.

[SPOILER, season 1] Sam Larson from seasons 1 and 5, said this to explain how stripping away the complexities of life can actually give you strength and mental clarity. He said,

“when we live in a world of traffic lights and cell phones, it’s very hard to think of anything of substance. But out here in the woods it’s basically all you’ve got time to do. You’re subjecting yourself to an incredibly raw state of humanity. And when you get that raw, it gives you strength. I’m not afraid anymore to ask myself hard questions. And the best way to ask yourself hard questions is to put yourself in a place where you can be completely vulnerable. And that only happens when you’re alone.”

Obviously, this is just Sam’s opinion, but I like what he’s getting at. In our busy society it is easy to get caught up in distractions. Sometimes distractions make it easier to cope with our troubled or jumbled thoughts. But we can lose sight of the value found in allowing your mind to be alone and vulnerable. It’s not easy to let your mind deal with hard thoughts or feelings, but ultimately it can make you stronger and give you clarity that you might not have otherwise.

Another Alone show contestant, Terry Burns from Alone season 9, touched on this when he said, “I think it’s necessary to feel pain and discomfort. We’re fed this narrative that we’re meant to seek comfort. I don’t think that’s right. I think it robs determination from the soul. I think it robs strength from the mind.”

standing tree trunks of forest like the alone tv series

Lesson #8 Humility.

[SPOILER, season 6] When Nathan Donnelly catches a huge lake trout, he reflects with this: “humility is the number one thing you need out here to learn and adapt. It’s just a fact of life. Without it, you’ll keep getting your ass handed to you. Nature is infinite. It’s infinitely abundant as much as it can be infinitely harsh. If you go into nature looking for a fight, you will get a fight. You can’t outfight the infinite.”

Just like I said before, you need to be confident but not ignorantly confident. Respect the power that nature has and know that you can’t win against it.

I call this a life lesson because it can probably be applied to everyone’s lives. We do not necessarily have the control over life that we might like to have. You can plan out your whole life, but it still won’t go exactly to plan. Rather than fighting for control of things you don’t have control over, having humility can help with your mental game as you go through life.

Lesson #9 Be thankful.

In season 7 Mark D’Ambrosio sums up a sentiment that many Alone contestants say as they leave the show: “everything you want, you already have.”

This may not apply to you, but for many of us, it is a necessary reminder. We can get caught up in the rat race of seeking more and more, in the hopes that it will satisfy. But often when you slow down and reevaluate what it is that you truly want from life, you can discover that you already have what you want!

This happened to me during a near-death experience. Afterwards, I was so grateful to be alive that the things I wanted in life were completely stripped down to a very few things that I already had, like my family and my faith.

Lesson #10 We need community.

And finally, a simple life lesson from my husband after watching History channel’s Alone: “You can’t survive alone”.

Some people do like to go through life alone, but I think as social creatures humans need some kind of relationship – we were made that way. Being a part of some sort of community is helpful for our survival, to meet both our physical and mental needs.

Lesson #11 What do you think about this one?

One Alone contestant in season 7 talked about a lesson he learned as a kid from his dad that “if you want to do something, you have to be ok doing it alone”. I’m not sure what I think about this one…

Tell me your thoughts below in the comments! Do you agree? Disagree?

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