How I Stopped Worrying and Used P.M.C.T.- Part 1, by D.D.

With the apparent imminent collapse that I have focused upon in my years of preparedness, I was worrying. My focus became a frantic effort. I made plans. Yet, wisdom came with P.M.C.T.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”-Proverbs 16:9

“Man plans and God laughs…” -old Yiddish adage

The Tenth Man Theory

In the 2013 zombie apocalypse movie World War Z the hero has a conversation with an Israeli Mossad agent about the Tenth Man Theory. It states (and I paraphrase) that in the midst of military planning, if nine people agree on a particular strategy or belief, the tenth man is duty-bound to disagree. The rationale behind this is to bring to light problems or other factors that sometimes the majority does not want to acknowledge or is blinded to due to a group-think/herd mentality. I have become my own 10th man, questioning and rethinking my entire strategy of preparedness.

I found it necessary to become my own “devil’s advocate” to prevent my emotional commitment to preparing from completely blinding me to what may become inconvenient realities. There were three realities I needed to see. First, what I was preparing for may happen completely different from what I had envisioned; second, I had to be more mentally prepared, no matter the circumstances; third, what I was preparing for may not happen at all.

What Led to Self-Examination

I have been prepping for nearly a decade and have made a substantial commitment, both financially and psychologically, to the preparedness lifestyle. After years of living and working within eight miles of my retreat property in the foothills of the Eastern Tennessee Mountains, the need to care for elderly parents and the conclusion of a seven year employment contract expedited a return to the suburbs of central Virginia. My retreat property and the majority of my preps are now eight hours and a 500 mile drive away. I was forced to make a very uncomfortable, yet revealing self-examination of my survival plans and future.

The Rookie Mistakes

Prepping demands a degree of secrecy, which by default creates a situation that prohibits any sort of meaningful mental support structure. Other than my wife, (God bless her for limitless understanding and tolerance) who watched over my finances and listened to me ramble about the New World Order, I had no one in my early days of prepping who I could trust with the secret of my new passion. Unlike most passions, hobbies, or professions, prepping had no formal training apparatus or mentorship program that I was aware of to guide you down a slow but steady path to mastery and success.

You were left mostly to your own devices and personality quirks to figure it out on your own. I did as many do and rushed in head first, knowing that at any moment the world around me and my family could collapse into chaos. Time was crucial and sacrifices had to be made.

One of the Biggest Mistakes

Trips to the store became treasure hunts for canned meat with the longest shelf life. “Canned salmon? Heck, I’ve never even tried it, but give me three cases!!! Spam? I hate Spam, but I’ll eat anything when the collapse comes! Give me four cases!” I had it all– guns, ammo, storable food, gardening supplies, solar panels, batteries, inverters, medical supplies, canning jars, propane, rice, beans, honey, salt, sugar, toilet paper, non-GMO/non-hybrid seeds. I purchased land to serve as a retreat property and set about building a cabin, starting a garden, setting up the solar panels, collecting rain water, raising chickens, burying caches. And so it went, every day for years.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had made the biggest of rookie mistakes— concentrating solely on accumulating stuff. Not only was this the wrong approach, but I had become trapped in a vicious cycle of self-reinforcing delusion.

Deconstructing the Delusion

As humans, we tend to gravitate toward things that confirm or affirm our beliefs. This is clinically known as confirmation bias. I am no exception. Early in my prepping journey, I fell into what I now call the “Prepper Trap”. I didn’t exactly fall; it was probably more accurate that I jumped in. With an enthusiasm that only comes with newly discovered enlightenment, I devoured every scrap of “doom porn” available. I spent hours on the Internet and YouTube discovering the dark secrets of The Federal Reserve, the Rothschild’s, the Rockefeller’s, false flags, EMP’s, and the New World Order.

Sandy Hook, Ebola, Jade Helm, Shemitah, Martial Law, Stock Market collapse were all subjects of interest. I was that guy telling everyone that would listen, “Doom and gloom is just around the corner and you had better be prepared or suffer a horrible death because I saw it on the Internet and it had to be true!” I refused to entertain any other point of view because, in my eyes, I was rational, informed, and armed with special “red pill” vision that granted me secret access into the hidden world of the elite and their evil plans for society. The unenlightened were the “sheeple”, existing only to be loathed and scorned for their ignorant consumerism and denial of how the world actually works.

An Unhealthy Perspective

It became unhealthy for me, both mentally and physically. I withdrew from friends and family, stopped attending events that took me too far from my preps, and generally became a cynical old man. I found myself almost wishing for some sort of calamity to justify my prepping. Life during this time for me was a blur. I only focused on the date of the next event that was supposedly going to hail the beginning of TEOTWAWKI, all while I continued to build upon my mountain of supplies.


Finally, I had had enough. If the collapse wasn’t coming to me, I would go to the collapse. Starting on January 2nd, 2017, I went to my retreat property cabin and remained there for 84 days. If you have ever entertained the idea of moving off-grid, clear from your mind any thoughts that it will resemble some sort of Thoreau-esque spiritual journey or be some kind of a back-to-nature experience where you spend all day watching squirrels frolic in the trees while writing in your journal. Not that those things aren’t possible, it just is not realistic.

My roosters, born without a sense of time or tradition, became my alarm clock at 0 dark thirty every day, and I went to bed every night not long after they did, exhausted from daily tasks. I ate from my supplies, lived on solar power, tended to my chickens, prepared my garden fencing for the spring, and tested almost every piece of gear that I had accumulated over the past seven years. There was no television or Internet, and I only had enough cell phone reception to let my wife know I was alive and well.

I traded eggs with neighbors for crappie fillets and venison tenderloin for my dinners. It was unusually cold this winter in Tennessee, which forced me to become a slave to my wood stove. (Note: When you think you have enough wood stored, double it.) Chopping wood for kindling was a daily chore. During one week, it never climbed out of the 20’s. I used a propane heater and tarps to keep the water in my rain collection tanks thawed for use. This task was one that often took 4-6 hours to accomplish.


On the 83rd day, I declared a truce with my psyche and packed for home. I came out of the woods the next day with a different understanding of myself and the world around me. There is no doubt that this excursion saved my sanity to some degree. I had matured from “Doom Prepper” to someone with a greater appreciation for life and nature. I had freed my mind from the constant bombardment of negativity and reemerged a changed person.

Today’s Reality

Flash forward to today and here I sit, smack dab in the middle of College-Town USA. Are the stock markets rigged and will they eventually collapse? Yep. Is our nation’s debt unsustainable and are we hopelessly enslaved to Central Banks? Yep. Is there a global cabal seeking to make us mindless minions and strip away all of our rights? Probably. Have I done everything within my power to prepare for these inevitable failures? Yep.

But for now, I have to live in the present. My 13-year old daughter wants to go to the movies, hang out with friends, and live a normal teenage life. My wife wants to go to dinner and do day hikes. I have found peace in being the silent warrior, ever vigilant and ready for the struggle. How did I come to this place of contentment while living in what I would have considered several years ago to be a certain death trap if the collapse happens? The answer is P.M.C.T.

Tomorrow, I will explain what P.M.C.T. is and share more.

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been another entry for Round 72 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
  6. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  7. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  8. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by,
  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  8. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  9. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  3. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  4. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  5. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
  8. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value), and

Round 72 ends on September 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. Thank you Sir, I needed this. I am trying to find my way out of the same mess. You have given hope, guidance and a wisdom from personal experience that is priceless.

  2. What you have completed sir, is called a sabbatical. Everyone occasionally needs this, though few actually ever do it properly. One to two weeks a year “vacationing” isn’t the solution. Constant work and Consumerism (often disguised as Preparation) such as we Americans are prone too isn’t going to work either, as you have discovered.
    We all need a life/work balance. Seems you’ve found yours for the time being.

  3. Yes, it is quite the trap we set for ourselves. Perhaps the easiest and most useless thing is to spend money on “stuff” we think we will need. I have gone through three garages full of “stuff in the past decade, realizing that it is my mania to “acquire”. I am a big advocate of spending time out of the rat race, away from the things of man, and tuning back in to being human again. Sadly, I am compelled to remain in my trap. There is a certain comfort in being part of the crowd I suppose. At least I’ve learned that I can survive without all of it, however painful that might become.

    1. “Perhaps the easiest and most useless thing is to spend money on “stuff” we think we will need.”
      Really? I think I will need gas in my car, but since I am suffering from “confirmation bias”, (a false premise and made up phrase), Then I will resist buying any. Being prepared is simply insuring success in case of a hardship or other event. Being prepared is not like the tv shows. being prepared is not a drama,
      it is simply an insured lifestyle.

      confirmation bias…OY!

  4. Amazing. By that I mean except for the chickens and the 83-day hiatus, I could have written the first part of this article, every paragraph just as it appears.

  5. Good for you.
    Your transition from scared victim to prepared warrior is the journey more folks need to take.
    The question we should all ask ourselves is “Are you preparing to survive (insert tragedy) or are you preparing to live live to it’s fullest regardless of what God puts in your path?”

  6. My greatest concern is having to go it alone, or nearly so. I am reasonably prepared, but as you concluded, I need to live in the present and be a participant. I know a couple others who are similarly prepared, but we don’t have a plan or an organization. When the economy goes south or whatever happens, I doubt that we will be able to connect and form a defensible group. I imagine that after an event, the survivors will ultimately find each other. I just hope and pray that I will be among them.

  7. My daughter gave me a piece of wisdom. Prepare for all hazards, one of them is the possibility of dying of old age peacefully in my sleep. In other words, prepare, but don’t stop living.

  8. Ahh, yes; that fine line that separates being prepared from being insane. I think we all know it, and have all crossed it at some point in time. Indeed; there’s more to life than “survival.” Prepare, and then live your life!

    Then again… seeing what’s going on out there, who’s to say we’re not the only ones who are sane?…

  9. Echoing what Tom Yarbough, said about Organization and, forming a defensible group in the event all hell breaks loose , I have given much thought over the years . came to the conclusion that we are all on our own. In other words , if you don’t have cooperation Now and your group or [ Tribe ] is not established and you think that things will sort themselves out after the fact , you are delusional and are betting your life on an assumpsion. t have spent over 40 years in the Prepper movement and read countless books and talked to countless Survivalist / preppers. and have belonged to most of all of your clubs and org’s and can tell you you need to prepare for a big dissapointmant now and keep your faith in God. knowing that his remnant will survive no matter what , so get right with your lord and savior and Tell Very few what your doing know that even your best friends and loved ones will turn on you for a mouthful of what you have when they find out your hoarding.

  10. Dear Brother,
    You are spot on. I am glad you found your way and helped us understand ourselves a little better.I think it was 08 maybe 09 I told my 5 grown children of the situation I perceive we were in.I was perceived as a crazy old man. I quit talking about it and quietly went on preparing.My youngest boy said, “You can’t change it”. I hate it when he is right.I slowed down a lot but I kept preparing.He has 4 of my 22 grand kids.I admire you for putting into words what I have felt. You have given me hope. Maybe I’m not as crazy as I thought I was.Been there,done that,Too.

  11. Hoarding and stocking up are not the same. Hoarding imo, is when one runs to the store ‘after’ the emergancy, grabbing all one can grab. Stocking a deep pantry, or more is a wise move, and nothing to do with hoarding. This has to be understood by all, with in or outside the prepper community. This word is like “Nationalist”, it’s meaning today, is not it’s original meaning. Propaganda 101

  12. It is always wise to not be consumed by any doctrine or program, unless it is devotion to our one and only Saviour, Christ Jesus. You were wise to come to this realization. I have prepped a great much more than any other I know, but never stopped doing the daily life things which made my family happy. So my daughters and wife think I am a little weird stockpiling food, media and guns/ammo. They put up with a slightly bemused attitude, and then I remind them that, just like insurance, if you need it, you really need it. God bless to all.

  13. You couldn’t know if a SHTF event would have happened then – or when. If it did, you would have been prepped.

    Make your adjustments and continue on.

    I try to take away something from all my bosses and one thing I took away from one of them was “balance”. Include prepping in that scheme and balance life as life occurs.

    For that period of time you were set. Make sure you are set moving forward.


  14. the trouble is that we dont have a time limit of 84 days or whatever when it hits. I agree with all the stuff about the prepper traps. but the heck with people that want to hioff to the movies and so forth. right now in victoria texas we are under a hurricane warning with minimum 85mph winds and maybe 30 inches of rain. the stores have completely sold out already, people are on the verge of panic, and most can’t even carry on an intelligent conversation. i’ve lost most of my ‘friends’ the last 10 hours because i refuse to loan them a life straw, as if they even need one. just one bucket of dehydrated food would suit them fine and they will pay me back later. yeah, right! folks, prepping is prepping, and even the stuff that was not that wise of an investment gives me great peace of mind to know it is there. yet i’m going to lose stuff this weekend. my less than one year old pecan trees will probably not survive. anything over 10 inches of rain will deprive me of right of way to my property for at least a week unless i walk (live close to the guadalupe river). in closing, here is what really bothers me. gov. abbot has, just about an hour ago, declared victoria county, tx. to be a disaster area, qualifying us for federal money. he did this before one drop of rain or one gust of wind has hit our county. the people have exhaled a big sigh of relief and all is well in never, never land, because now they know that the taxpayers will pick up the tab for them once again. so pathetic indeed. thanks

  15. Like you, I believe we should all prepare. But I agree that we can go too far. I tell my family that I try to be prepared for what may come, but until that day does come I’m going to enjoy the comforts of modern life. I know that someday I may have to do without my phone, microwave, warm showers, etc. But for now, I’m going to enjoy my martinis, movies, and microwave. Look forward to reading part two!

Comments are closed.