We’ve all heard about Jim Rohn, the motivational speaker and business philosopher who said that we are the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time. This relates to so much more than business success.
If you are a person who is striving to be better prepared, it applies to you too. With this in mind, perhaps the best way to up your prepping game is to find some prepper friends.
Whenever we’re surrounded by people who don’t understand what we do, it makes it a lot more difficult to maintain motivation. It’s so easy to slide into their habits when that becomes your “norm.” Regardless of what you want to achieve – whether it’s a higher level of preparedness, self-reliance, weight loss, business success, or some other goal – surrounding yourself with people on that same path can propel you to success much more rapidly.
Now, I’m not saying you have to ditch your best friend or your spouse if they aren’t on board with prepping. Definitely not. However, networking with people who are more into preparedness is a very good idea.
Here’s a real life example of how we can be influenced by those around us.
The other day, I had to go to the courthouse to fill out paperwork for my new Concealed Carry Permit. The City Clerk’s office happened to be on the same floor as the criminal court. There was a marquee just across from the elevators, and while I was waiting for mine to arrive, I overheard a conversation that really got me thinking.
A mom and her boy, who was maybe 6 or 7, were looking for her name on the board to figure out which room to go to. They found the mom’s name and before they turned away, the boy read off another name and said, “Hey, isn’t that Daddy’s friend who was at our house last week?”
His mom confirmed it was indeed Daddy’s friend. Then she continues to read the board and pointed out a person she had gone to high school with and a distant cousin.
Now, obviously I don’t know the entire story, but if their names were on the board, it is likely that they had been charged with crimes. Whether or not they were found guilty that day, I have no idea, but all of these people within the woman’s circle of acquaintance facing some type of criminal legal trouble.
It made me wonder what kind of future that adorable, precocious little boy would face if this was his experience from the beginning.
And then it made me think that this is all of us.
No, I don’t mean we’re all in legal trouble. But we are all influenced by the people with whom we spend the most time. If all of your friends and family are frivolous, spendy people with their heads in the sand, it’s going to be quite difficult for you to remain motivated to be prepared and frugal. It is going to be hard to socialize and not spend money foolishly when everyone else is buying $9 drinks at the bar wearing an expensive outfit.
They won’t understand why you’re willing to spend $150 on a pair of good hiking boots, but you shrug dismissively at the idea of the same amount of money on a pair of high heels. They won’t get it when you drop hundreds of dollars on emergency food instead of gourmet meals at a restaurant. They won’t understand your glee at cooking an entire meal off-grid or growing everything you served at dinner on your homestead. In fact, many of them will find these things ridiculous.
In fact, many of them will find these things ridiculous. Just as ridiculous as you find spending a month’s worth of groceries on a fancy dinner out.
There are so many things that preppers do that are virtually unfathomable to the “normal” people.
And eventually, this can drag you down.
Now, I’m not saying that you’ll stray from the course in every single situation. Any of us who have been doing this for a while have dealt with the scorn and the blank stares. We know that there are some folks who will absolutely never get it until it’s too late.
But if all of the people in your inner circle think you’re nuts, it can be difficult to remain motivated. If no one else cheers your yard sale find of a Coleman camp stove in perfect working order for only $5, it’s sort of a letdown. If your spouse complains relentlessly about the stockpile of food you keep stashing away, chances are that one day you may decide it’s just not worth the argument.
It’s just so discouraging.
That’s why you need some people around you who understand.
First of all, I’m not suggesting you cut off contact with family members, divorce your spouse, and ditch all your friends. Please don’t do that or force me to become a witness in your divorce case. The people you love are irreplaceable.
You can add to your circle and find people who will cheer your yard sale victories and stockpile coups. Not only will this help you to remain motivated, but it will also help you to feel normal and accepted. And no matter how often we say, “Oh, I don’t care about that,” deep down, most of us care. Constantly being treated like the “crazy one” can be hard.
Here are some ideas for finding your circle of prepper friends.
Here are a few ideas that have worked for me. Perhaps you can tweak them to make them fit your circumstances. You’ll love the rewards of having like-minded friends.
- Do prepper stuff. Go to local places where preppers might hang out, like preparedness expos, foraging classes, shooting ranges, gun shows, homesteading expos, wilderness medical classes…you get the idea.
- Use social media to your advantage. There are so many groups on Facebook alone that you are bound to find others who share your philosophies. This is a great way to find local folks who are into the same things that you are. It should go without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that great caution should be taken not to disclose too much personal information. As well, if you’re meeting in person, meet in a public place and make sure others know where you are going, who you are meeting, and when you’ll be back.
- Take a class that you have to pay for. One of the things we have found with our Prepping Intensive class is that many of our students end up becoming close friends. Quite a few of them have met in person after taking the class and some have even melded their preparedness plans to create community. The reason I suggest that you look for classes you have to pay for is because making an investment in education helps to assure you that these folks take preparedness as seriously as you do. (Our next class is starting soon. You can go here to sign up for it and join a community of hundreds of other like-minded preppers.)
- Don’t discount online friends. The beautiful thing about social media is that you are able to find like-minded friends from all around the world. I have friends in Germany, Jordan, Australia, the UK, and all across North America. Some I’ve met in person and others I haven’t, but there’s always someone around who will rejoice in my prepper victories and help me creatively solve prepper problems. You can get a great deal of support an motivation from friends you may never actually meet face-to-face.
- Get to know your neighbors. In one town where I lived, I knew we’d fit right in when the guys that lived at the top of our dead end road showed me their plan to close off the road in the event of an emergency. While your neighbors might not be quite that blatant, get to know them. You may be surprised at the skills they bring to the table. Do they keep bees, raise, chickens, go hunting, raise vegetables, or have a backyard orchard? In many emergencies, the people who live the closest to you will be your community. Get to know them ahead of time.
- Don’t narrow it down to only preppers. Find local groups of people who are enthusiastic about prepper-type things, like homesteading, vegetable gardening, food preservation, wildcrafting, outdoor excursions, bushcraft, foraging… the list goes on and on. Find groups on Meetup.com, at your local extension office, on Facebook, or at community center events. These similar interests may not mean they’re preppers, but at least you’ll have some down-to-earth things in common. And you never know, some of these folks may be there for exactly the same reason you are.
Trust me on this – once you make some prepper friends, you’ll feel less alone and more motivated. No one likes feeling like the oddball all the time. I hate to cite the overused term, “find your tribe” but in this case, it fits.
Warning: Not all groups of preppers are people you will want to hang out with.
You need to make sure of a few things before sharing too much information.
- Do you share similar philosophies? There has recently been a great deal of talk in the media about extremist groups of all descriptions. If you’re a mellow person who just wants to get through the zombie apocalypse (or more likely, the next big hurricane) you don’t want anything to do with these people. Likewise, if their avidly-held political viewpoints are diametrically opposite yours, things may not work out.
- Watch out for groups with a cult-vibe. Have you ever been around a group that seems to practically worship the leader? They hang on his/her every word, never question the orders, and have to constantly “prove” their worthiness. Run, don’t walk, away from a group like that.
- Look out for groups who are overly militant. While security is an essential part of preparedness, some groups are pretty intense about it, with regular drills and militant plans. Does it seem like the group you’ve found yourself with is a bunch of middle-aged folks playing army in the woods? They may be perfectly fine, but it’s also possible they’ve focused too much just on one aspect of preparedness while ignoring the others. As well, they have the potential to be the type of group who intends to take what others have carefully stored or to enthusiastically engage in vigilante justice.
Just because a group has a hint of the qualities above doesn’t necessarily make them terrible people, but you’d be spending a lot of time with them during a tense situation. Proceed with caution, because however they are now will be multiplied a thousandfold in a real apocalyptic scenario.
How did you make prepper friends?
Is your whole family on board with prepping? Has it always been that way or did you have to convince them (or be convinced)? If you have a group of like-minded people that aren’t family members, how did you find them? Do you find it helpful to be around these folks?