No Matter Where You Live, The Most Important Thing Is, by E-Grandma

America, Australia, Europe or Antarctica. No Matter Where You Live, The Most Important Thing Is…

Water?  Food?  Firearms?  A good Bug-out Location, or reliable vehicle to get to it?  There are probably as many answers to the important question of  what the most important thing to have in a survival situation as there are those who would call themselves Survivalists.  Go to any internet board which purports to be survivalist-related, and you will see many conversations telling the new and scared Survivalist- wannabe what they need to have in order to make it past the pole shift, the imminent crash of earth by Planet X, or the end of the world according to an ancient calendar.  You  have probably  heard people argue vehemently that they have the correct answer, and of course it is the answer they have come up with, one they think will provide them the security they seek. 

Why not look at some of the things we have heard touted as the most important thing any self-respecting Survivalist must have in order to survive, one by one?

According to the Webster’s Dictionary which I have sitting on my desk, water is the substance H2O, a clear, thin liquid, lacking taste or smell, and essential for life. If it is essential, it makes sense that some would think it is the most essential, right?  Most sources indicate that without water a person could exist for a few days, but that the human body starts to exhibit distress within hours of starting to dehydrate, especially in less than ideal situations such as a natural disaster.  Dehydration is insidious, and most people do not even realize they are suffering from it.  A source of  clean, reliable water would seem to be the most important thing, but let us move on.

Food by its very nature is something very close to most of our hearts.  Culture, religious beliefs, locale or even personal quirks give us a background of biases regarding what may be acceptable to eat, and sometimes even what to grow or harvest; someone in a small, remote agrarian society might view with disgust something a person in America would find a delicacy.  So, knowing that what we call food is not the same thing the world over, can we at least agree that food is a necessity to survive?  It seems not; there are countless anecdotal stories of people surviving extremely long periods of time without ingesting any food. So if the most important is not food or water, could it be something else?

A safe, defensible place to dig in our heels ( that which Survivalists sometimes refer to as their Bug-out Location, or BoL) should be an important part of the plans (and perhaps one of the first to be thought of) most who would think of themselves as Survivors should face.  Long term survival requires pre-emptive planning.  One of the first things settlers to the New World did was to plant trees, especially fruit trees, even when they knew it would be many, many years before they bore fruit.  Many Survivalists count the trees they grow as one of the best investments of their time and money.  Digging a well which can provide safe, reliable water and tilling and planting a garden are also things which many of us think of when we want to prioritize and make our bug-out location one where we can foresee spending what could turn out to be a very long time, perhaps even the rest of our lives.  It could be said that, like every good  real estate agent knows, location, location, location is the most important consideration for a Survivor to consider.  But is it?

What if a person has a location which he thinks is safe from predators, both human and animal, has plenty of clean, safe water and the means to procure more, can plant a prolific garden, is near forests which can provide his meat, and a cellar of foodstuffs enough to last through any impending apocalypse?  Is it the most important possession of a Survivalist?  Doesn’t he have to be able to protect his family and castle from possible encroachment?

Perhaps his arsenal is the most important thing a true Survivalist can possess.  Without the means to keep his water, food and home from marauding pirates, wild animals bent on finding their own supply of food or zombies out for their own type of destruction, a person will lose everything he has accumulated, perhaps even his family.    Everything he holds dear can be taken if a Survivalist can not defend what is his.  In the U.S., it is an inalienable right to be able to do so.  In other countries being able to defend one’s turf can also be paramount to being able to survive.  Having adequate firepower may mean the difference between having enough to survive and starving (or worse).  Is it the most important thing someone waiting for The End Of The World As We Know It can have?

It has been said skills might be the most important thing anyone can have.  Someone who knows how to farm will surely have an easier time of it if, or when, his life depends on being able to grow food.  A man who has the skill to hunt reliably has a much better chance of his family and small community not going hungry.  A doctor or midwife, or even a knowledge of basic medical needs could mean the difference between his family staying healthy or not in the long run.

Water, food, a good bug-out location, and the ability to keep from having them taken away have been mentioned as important and vital things, items we would all do well to gather and constantly improve upon, as are valuable skills.  All of these are important, but not what would be considered the most important in the life of a Survivalist.

So what is it that is arguably the most important thing a person can possess to ensure a healthy survival for himself and those he loves?  What is the one thing that makes the difference?

Charles Swindoll has said  “ The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.   Attitude, to me, is more important than facts…it is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company…a home.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have,  and that is our attitude…life is 10% what happens…and 90% how I react to it.” 

There are countless stories about how one man will overcome a seemingly almost insurmountable obstacle, while another will crumble in front of the face of what some would call a trifle.  Is the difference that one man is stronger, more knowledgeable, more gifted, than the other?  Definitely not!  The difference is attitude- that indefinable attribute that keeps a person going well beyond that which we often think of as humanly possible.  The can-do attitude which kept the early settlers going west through blistering summer heat and dust storms which filled their lungs with sand and silt, which put one foot ahead of the other during winter storms the likes of which many of them had never experienced, and which left their paths riddled with many graves, unmarked except for memories, is the main difference which sets apart those who will make it and those who will capitulate under the pressure.

The Webster’s Dictionary (still sitting beside me on my desk) defines the word attitude as a manner of thought, or feeling.  A manner of thought…one’s thoughts are the defining attributes.   It does not say anything about skill, knowledge, that Mossberg in the corner,  or a pantry full of canned goods, as important as these may be. 

One can have a cupboard teeming with food, enough to last several lifetimes,  an armory which could power a small army, or farming skills accumulated over many decades, but without the attitude to persevere, survive and overcome, he will not last long.  Many a hunter has perished in forests he knew very well when his attitude allowed him to give up.

How then can a person determine if he has the right attitude?  Being prepared for a situation helps.  Having the knowledge that you have done everything you can, from building up your reserves of food, water, defensive systems and skills is a large step in getting that positive attitude ingrained in your pysche.  Continually adding to your stock of knowledge is something that will always pay off.  Above these, the one thing that anyone can, and must do, to ensure that his attitude will carry him through is, in the words of the famous ad, Just do it!  Get out there and practice your skills, join groups of people that are doing what so many only dream of.  Reading is good, but doing is better…reading and doing are best.  So get up off your keester, and get out there.  You know you want to. Let your attitude determine your altitude.