Having a survival mindset means you are always ready to take on new challenges, right? Although I fully believe that new challenges are a good thing, it is sometimes downright frustrating to recognize that prep as we do, we are never really ready.
Part of the disconnect from being totally prepared is having the knowledge that we will never be able to prepare for everything. As recently as four years ago, we were preparing for the end of the world as we know it and a global economic collapse. And now? The flavor of the month is a pandemic, a cyber attack, and the potential for another world war.
As preppers, this leads us down a path of indecision. Do we continue to add to our preps, focusing on the worst that can happen or do we soldier along, preparing for the more likely nuances of Mother Nature?
This is a decision each of us must make on our own or in partnership with others in our household. It is not easy. I don’t know about you, but coming to terms with not being ready for anything and everything is a tough mind game. SHTF this and SHTF that tends to dominate the landscape whether taking a hike, reading a book, or shopping at the grocery store.
If you too are struggling with the dilemma of not being ready and therefore not being prepared, take a moment to re-focus on these 16 rules of survival and preparedness. They just might help you come to terms with not being fully prepared.
16 Important Rules of Survival and Preparedness
1. Skills and stuff are equally important.
What do I mean by that? Simply that you can have a years’ worth of freeze dried food, six ways to purify water and a well-stocked first aid kit but if you don’t have the skills to defend yourself, the knowledge to find food in the wild, and the ability to tend to serious wounds, all of the “stuff” you own will be of little use to you following a post-apocalyptic event.
2. You will never go hungry if you have seeds.
Hoard heirloom (non-GMO and non-hybrid) seeds even if you are not currently gardening and growing your own food. Those seeds, when brought into a survival community, will be worth more than gold. Don’t worry if you do not know how to use them. Others in the community will likely have gardening skills and together you can prepare the fields, sow the seeds, tend the crops and bring in the harvest. But you first need seeds that will reproduce themselves as true, year in and year out.
3. Community organization with like minded people can and will save lives.
Unless you live in isolation, the bad guys are going to come around and it may be difficult if not impossible to defend yourself on your own. Not only is there strength in numbers, but members of an organized team will most certainly have a wider variety of skills at their disposal.
4. Mental discipline and a level head under pressure will prevail when tough decisions need to be made.
When roaming groups of looters show up on your street, or even worse, at your doorstep, they may be tired, hungry and in need of shelter. What do you do? Who gets to stay? How do you decide? This is just one example of the tough decisions you may have to make in a collapse situation.
5. Do not underestimate the need to defend yourself in ways you can not fathom in advance.
How will you defend yourself, your family, and your worldly belongings following an apocalypse? Sure, it is easy to say that you will shoot anyone that comes close but could you really do it? Moreover, have you thought of alternative methods to defend what is yours such as setting up blockades or no-enter zones?
6. Wolves arrive in sheep’s clothing.
Trust is something earned and even though it may feel instinctive, be wary. It is okay to put strangers through some tests and even then, be conservative in doling out trust cookies.
7. Perceived “good guys” may be bad and perceived “bad guys” may actually be good.
No surprise here. Just be prepared to evaluate, interview and act based upon as much knowledge and gut instinct you can muster. Trust no one until that trust in earned. Start building your criteria for trustworthy-ness starting today. Practice your interview questions and learn how to say “no” if you have to.
8. In every situation there is a moment where you may have the chance to turn the tables.
Learn to take advantage of those moments now, while you can hone your skill at recognizing those opportunities.
9. No matter how well you know how to do something, keep training and keep learning.
Practice what you know and learn what you do not know. Read books about life and about history. Discover how others have responded to adversarial situations, whether in ancient history or as a fictional manifestation of a talented author.
10. Feelings and compassion count as does the love and support of friends and family.
This is an important point. Without these qualities, the will to go on may be compromised. A good example of how feelings and compassion play a role in survival is demonstrated in in Cormac McCormack’s “The Road”. In the book (there is also a movie), the love between a father and his son is paramount to their ultimate survival.
11. Grieving is important as is the need to spend personal time alone to rest and recharge.
No one can do it all 24 hours a day for days on end. When and if the time comes, you will need to take time to grieve your losses and also time to rest and recharge your mental and physical batteries.
12. When and if the SHTF, total inaction is not going to save you.
To do nothing is to die. Sorry to be blunt but making decisions and following through with a plan of action will give you at least a 50/50 chance of survival. Do nothing and you become a target.
13. Likewise, if the SHTF, There will be casualties. Be prepared mentally and physically to deal with the seriously wounded and the deceased.
You may feel prepared with a well-stocked first aid kit, antibiotics, suture kit, and a full complement of trauma supplies. But do you know how to use them? How do you determine dosages especially when the drugs on hand may be in short supply? Who gets them and who does not?
And equally important, if people die (and they likely will), what will you do with the bodies? Bury them (hope you have a strong back and a good shovel)? Burn them? The ramifications may be horrific but if you are one of the survivors, you will have to have the mental capacity to deal with this.
14. Take whatever strengths you have and teach others.
Remember that children are like sponges and can be taught survival skills at a very young age. Take them under your wing; they represent the future.
15. There are leaders and there are followers. In a healthy society, both are equally important.
No one is more important than another. The leader is important, yes. But so are the teachers, the scouts, the cooks, and the laborers. All are equal in importance within the context of the survival community.
16. Firearms are not the only weapons you need to survive.
Sure, they help but the most important weapon you have sits between two ears. Although closely related to #4, using your brain encompasses more than mental discipline. Learn to think on your feet, read body language, and act decisively. After making a decision, move forward with resolve but also know that you will not be right 100% of the time. There will be no time for remorse so just keep going and hope that your next well-reasoned decision will be better.
The Final Word
If you have made it this far, you may be thinking that these rules are not anything new and you have read it all before. Okay, I get that.
Still, during these troubling times of angst, it is important to remind ourselves that it is okay if you still have a preparedness to-do list a mile long. It is okay to be less than ready, and it is equally okay to take a break. This is more difficult to do than you think but it is something you must do if you are ever to resolve this very real prepping dilemma. It all gets down to having the survival mindset.
Coming to terms with not being prepared may be a hard pill to swallow but when you think abut it, isn’t being a little bit ready better than not being ready at all?
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!