Survival as a Prerequisite to Thrival, by Mad Mongolian

If a disaster occurs next month, be it economic meltdown, war, or highly infectious pandemic, how prepared are you?
The end of the world as we know it has already occurred. One hundred years ago, the west was still being won. The automobile was still a novelty and a competitor for the horse. Orville and Wilbur Wright had created the three axis-control, giving controllable wings to man, making our big planet a little bit smaller. Fifty years ago, manned space flight was still dreamt about by young boys. The Vietnam War and the Cuban Missile Crisis were looming large in the national consciousness and nuclear war with Russia was a very scary probability. The end of the world as we know it has been with us in some shape or form since Adam got his butt kicked out of the garden.

Today we conceptualize a TEOTWAWKI event as a global catastrophe that threatens to wipe out man himself. The scary thing is that it is not only possible, but given our current knowledge of natural disasters and cosmic calamities, it is highly probable. So the question is: what can we do to prepare for these potential events? Since you are reading this, I assume you have thought out various scenarios and are doing what you can for your own survival.

Imagine climbing a pyramid, you have to start at the bottom in order to reach the top. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs puts survival at the bottom of a pyramid, the next level is safety, followed by love, then esteem, and capped it off with self-actualization. Before one can move to the next level of this pyramid, one has to successfully navigate through the level he is currently on. The goal is to reach one’s full potential as a person. This goal often takes a lifetime to realize. For some it remains merely a dream. For many, it gets relegated to the subconscious and withers into a bothersome itch.

We live in a world that provides us with the resources and tools to climb this pyramid if we choose to; to become the best that we can be.  We also live in a world where we are only one misadventure from falling back to the bottom of the pyramid; to the desperation and violence of survival.

One of the unspoken reasons why you you read this blog, why you are reading this essay, is to ensure your survival in order that you may continue on with your journey to the top of the pyramid. Something in you knows that disaster may befall you at any moment. But if you pay attention, that something that tells you that catastrophe may strike, also tells you that there is the other side of survival.

Learning the art of fire craft, firearms training and farming are all part of your conscious desire to have the preparations you may need for a catastrophic event. Learning how to survive and having the resources, skills, and ability to actually survive are part of your subconscious desire to climb the pyramid to becoming all you can be with the time you have left; and pass this on to posterity.

Every survival course worth its salt teaches about the ‘will to live’. That without this ambiguous ingredient, your survival quotient drops significantly. The will to live requires that you nurture the hope that you will survive and facilitate your ability to eventually thrive. In other words, never give up hope and do whatever is needed to get out of a survival situation. This site is full of the tactics, techniques and procedures on how to survive – use it!

You recognize the validity of this concept; that is why you are here. You may be a young man in an urban setting with three weeks of stored food, a pocket knife and a Bic lighter. You may be a multi-millionaire that is watching a crew finish up work on his subterranean survival bunker; with off-grid power, food for a small country, and enough munitions and men to take it over. Wherever you fall in this compendium of ensuring your initial survival, one thing remains true: the need for an exit plan. In other words, what are you going to do after survival has been achieved?
An event that is large enough to usher in TEOTWAWKI is a not necessarily a deal breaker. If an asteroid the size of Australia slams into planet earth – ‘game over man’; but anything shy of complete annihilation offers us all a small ray of hope that we will survive as a species, persevere as a people, and hopefully, hold on to our humanity.

This blog as well as its advertisers have survival down to an art; that is why you are here. Learn from the vast repositories of knowledge and advice that lies at your fingertips. Prepare for the worst, but plan for what comes after. Once your preps have been achieved, have a strategy on what to do next. If the world goes to hell, have a plan on how you and yours will go through hell; and what to do once you come out on the other side.

At the prepping level, you may be thinking of how to retain and store all this knowledge. You could kill a few trees and print all the information out, start a survival library. You could also utilize current technology and keep all this information in a convenient medium that will improve your survival efficiency.

This actually works: take an old laptop and load it up with as much of the vital information as you can on how to kick start humanity after the Apocalypse. Throw in some other electronic items that you may need, such as batteries, walkie-talkies, DVDs, et cetera. Wrap the laptop with alternating layers of plastic bags and aluminum foil, stick it in an old microwave that has its cord cut, and voila! You now have a primitive Faraday cage that will protect your information from the elements as well as an EMP.

I personally have an old laptop, some DVDs, an old smart phone, and a foldable solar panel with power adapter stuffed inside a large microwave. Yeah, some of this gear is pricey; so set a goal and incrementally acquire whatever you think you will need to see yourself through TEOTWAWKI. If the SHTF, and you can no longer access this site to look up what you may need, the information you have prepared in your Faraday cage will be available until the internet gets back online (and given some of the scenarios known to us to be potential threats, this could take years).

I have a solar charger and power converter in my go bag. It doesn’t take much more room than a thick notebook, and is only 6.5 pounds of combined weight. If the SHTF while I’m away from home, I have a permanent energy source for my laptop and cell-phone. If communication is out and the grid is down, my laptop is still functional and I have apps loaded on my phone to ensure I can survive the interim. (Barring a nuclear airburst which causes EMP, then it is dead weight).  But once I get back home, I can open up my Faraday cage and be up and running with information, even if I cannot get online.

At the post-survival level, you will want to think about garnering other survivors to rebuild; think community and relationships. If the situation is bad enough, you will have to think about creating a new civilization. Create a new civilization? That is a tall order! That will take enormous resources, manpower and ambition. But this is where you have to go. You are already thinking about TEOTWAWKI, just take your thoughts out to the logical end conclusion and you either have a situation like that portrayed in the novel The Road by Cormac McCarthy, or you roll up your sleeves and get to work. In which case the world is now an unknown and you have to start over.

Reverting back to the Neolithic era is not necessary. Again, that is why you are prepping. Here is a useful exercise to think about in your spare time: What and who would you like to have with you if you were to be zapped back in time 500 years with no return ticket? Whatever you come up with may be something you would like to have or know how to develop when TEOTWAWKI occurs. (Hence the laptop with a solar power source).

Being able to survive and to survive well is not an end unto itself. Go beyond survival and envision what is going to be required of you materially, mentally, physically and spiritually if you are to thrive. For some, the art of prepping has been taken to an extreme that has had an unbalancing effect. For those who are unbalanced, the fix is simple: Begin the journey up the pyramid. (Who do you want to be? Start becoming that individual.)

Your preps are not going to disappear; in fact I assume and hope that they will continue on. Realize that if you are not the person you can be, a TEOTWAWKI event will not magically transform you into this person. The truth of it is that your life quotient will take a pretty severe hit if your survival quotient has not prepared you beyond material and skill.
My wife is a psychologist and has taught me numerous skills on how to not only cope, but to thrive in life. TEOTWAWKI events happen all the time. A healthy mind, body and spirit are key factors in enabling a person to survive everyday life. When grief, trauma or personal disaster hit, knowing how to best handle these intruders is as important when they strike, as knowing how foil countersurveillance in an urban environment or navigate by the stars in a rural survival situation.

I am a survival instructor. I teach our military’s elite on how to survive the worst this planet or its inhabitants can throw at them. They train for the worst case scenario, but they also live in the now. They have the skills and wherewithal to survive a TEOTWAWKI situation. And once they have these tools in their tool bag, the journey up the pyramid continues; they know that when the stuff hits the fan, they will be ready for it. Trust me when I tell you that a strong body, mind and spirit are essential not only for survival and harnessing the will to live, but also in everyday life. These three elements: body, mind and spirit are the keys to unlocking the doors that usher you to the next level of the pyramid, and set you up for not only survivability, but thrivability.