Coming to terms with the survival mindset is often the first hurdle that newbie prepper’s must overcome. Once doing so, however, the task of family preparedness becomes easier since each step along the way is defined by unique circumstances specific to geographical area, family situation and current economic status.
Still, even accounting for those individual differences, there are some common factors that we all must consider in our path toward preparedness. For some, these factors will be inconsequential but for others, one or more may be present a challenge. That is not to say that the challenge will be insurmountable – only that is is a valid consideration that will need to be dealt with in one manner or another.
FIVE FACTORS LEADING TO PREPAREDNESS AS A WAY OF LIFE
As I continually mention, the cornerstone of the survival mindset is to first create an environment and a set of goals that meets your own unique requirements. After all, you do not want to be stuck with definitions that are outdated or simply not suitable to your own situation.
But where do you start?
Five factors come to mind: Time, Money, Health, Attitude and Desire.
Coming up with a plan to be self-sufficient takes time. Learning to purify water, determining what foods are right for your family, creating an emergency communication plan; these things take time. For many, the best way to carve out time from busy lives is to treat prepping as a hobby. It can be something you do for fun.
Think about camping. This is a wholesome family activity that will teach you about sheltering from the weather, building a campfire, hiking or walking great distances and a bit of fishing or hunting thrown in for good measure. Perhaps even more important, it helps you learn to be self-entertaining in a power down situation. After all, there are very few, if any, power outlets in the campground or wilderness.
The Two Bugaboos – Time and Money
A big issue for a lot of people is money, and truthfully, it does take take money to prepare. Bottled water, freeze-dried foods, lanterns, battery operated radios, knives and other gear cost money which, for most people in today’s economy, is precious. Still, think about this: Do you eat meat five or more nights a week? Consider cutting that in half by having some meatless meals instead. For a family of four, this could easily save you $40 or more a week. That is $2,080 per year!
How much do you spend a week on fancy coffee drinks? Why not skip the trip to the coffee shop on your way to work and brew a thermos of good coffee at home? What about your cable, satellite TV or cell phone? Do you really need 100+ television channels? Do you really need Wi-Fi on a cell phone? Why not cut these costs in half and spend the savings on survival gear and stored foods?
The possibilities for cutting back are endless and are only limited by your desire to make it happen (which we will get to in a moment).
Health considerations are more difficult to deal with. Included here are the special needs of the very young and the elderly. When formulating your own personal survival plan, you need to take an honest look at your physical capabilities and ensure that your definition and execution of survivalism is realistic. For example, a person that cannot walk without a cane would be hard pressed to go out and chop wood to fuel the fire. This does not mean that there would be no firewood; it just means that reliance on firewood during an emergency would be foolish unless it were stockpiled in advance.
A more serious concern has to do with people that rely on electricity for their medical devices to function or refrigeration for their life sustaining medication. In creating a mindset, these needs must rise to the top. They should be discussed with health care workers well in advance and a plan drawn up so that the individuals involved do not suffer, or worse, die.
Let’s move on to attitude.
This is where a positive view of life comes in to play. Notice that we are not saying a positive view of the economy, the planet or anything else other than your own life. The reason you prepare is to keep on living and to stay as comfortable as you can when a disaster or crisis occurs. It means having an optimism that comes from living each day to the fullest and to the best of your ability. It means surrounding yourself with loving relationships and, if appropriate, a spiritual understanding of your place in the universe.
To approach survival or prepping with the attitude that the world is going to end is counterproductive. After all, why prepare if there will be no tomorrow? A positive attitude coupled with a can do attitude, is paramount to your success in creating a positive and productive survival mindset.
The last thing on the list is simply the desire to do it. If you do not care, you will fail. Why? Because you will approach your efforts in a haphazard manner, perhaps spending the time and spending the money but not seriously taking in to account your needs. You will purchase a survival knife but never take it out of its box. You will purchase a case of Spam, which is something you would never eat in the best of conditions.
To succeed, you must be committed and passionate about what it means to be truly prepared.
THE PREPAREDNESS LIFESTYLE
These days it is becoming quite common to hear people talk about lifestyle this, or lifestyle that. There is the low-carb lifestyle, the minimalist lifestyle, the green lifestyle, the austerity lifestyle – I could go on and on. Quite frankly, a lifestyle is a set of choices by which we define the framework of our lives. It is not something that is thrust upon us – it is something we do willingly as part of our core value system.
THE FINAL WORD
In Survival Mindset Part I I talked about survivalism and this newish term “prepping” which for most folks is a kinder and gentler word without the negative connotations brought on by merely mentioning the word “survivalist”. I also suggested that by asking yourself a few practical questions, you can define survivalism in your own words and under your own terms and thus create a survival mindset.
Today, in Part II, I covered five factors that in one way or another, contribute to establishing preparedness as a way of life. Coming up next is Part III where I outline the “10 steps to a positive survival mindset”.
In closing today I just want to say this: having the motivation and the courage to prepare is simply the right thing to do, in spite of the naysayers and in spite of those that will ridicule. Stay with it and you will be rewarded with the peace or mind that comes in knowing that you have done the best you can to take care of yourself and your loved ones.
Yes, it may at times be a lonely quest. But it also mean that you have adopted the survival mindset and that is a good thing.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.