Letter: Check Yourself for Readiness

Readers,

Are you prepared to handle BIG change? What if China invades the U.S. tomorrow, or Russia drops a nuke on NYC, or global warming causes the U.S. to become the poorest country in the world, or really any other life changing event occurs? Have you thought about what you will do differently? Many people gear up for that catastrophe by storing gear and food in the basement and buying weapons. While that is important, it is not nearly enough. Nothing will make you invincible, but as Curly said, “The One Thing” is your attitude.

I own and run a business that is focused on preparedness and have been coaching others around that theme since I was very young. I grew up outdoors hunting, camping, and fishing. I joined the Marine Corps at 18 and learned some good skills. I joke that with all my training that TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) will hit and I will miss the adventure because a tree fell on me as I was getting out of my hot tub. When the inevitable dark day comes (it does not need to be war or an invasion), it is always helpful to keep things in perspective. Humor is as good a survival tool as anything because it can help us to keep that very important perspective. People will say, “If that happens I don’t want to be here.” Well, you may not get a vote. It may not be up to you, so regardless it may help to think about it a bit.

How many times have you already experienced TEOTWAWKI? You probably don’t even realize that you have already been tested several times. The end of the world doesn’t have to be “THE END OF THE WORLD”. For example, if you lost your job at some point in the past, then didn’t the world as you know it end, if only for a short time? Yet, you’re still here. How did that happen? Everything is relative, meaning relative to a POW, or someone with Lou Gehrig’s disease, or Bruce or wait I mean Caitlyn Jenner; you are in a better position. Things can always be worse, and we often forget that. Maybe you need to check yourself and remember how resilient you really are because of the way that you have handled difficult change in the past. Train and practice all you want, but if you forget that you can make it and thrive, you won’t.

I was deployed to the Middle East in 1991 as a young Marine. The night I hit the rack before our ground assault that ended Desert Storm, I remember thinking tomorrow could be anything, even hand to hand combat. While we all know how well it ended for us, I’m not sure I realized that my attitude of “either I will die or I won’t” was a survival skill, because it just was all I could do. I don’t even recall what gear I had on that day, as it didn’t matter. All that mattered was my attitude. I had a hummer and three Marines with me. I was trained and equipped, but if I went in without that attitude it could have been dangerous for me and those around me.

This past July, my 17 year old son was diagnosed with very serious brain cancer. Upon hearing the news my stomach clenched and I felt like throwing up. Very quickly I reminded myself that “Damn, this is TEOTWAWKI for me and my son! This can go two ways– either we crumble under the weight of this terrible illness and wither away, or we meet the challenge head on and grow because of it. When I received the news I was in the car with all of my kids returning from a day of fishing on the ocean during our summer vacation. After hanging up with the doctor, I turned to my son to give him the news, and I was already proud of him because I knew he would handle it well. That’s survival! That day was TEOTWAWKI, and since then while it has been intense it has forged us. I pray that when the world does fall apart again for me that I can quickly get over the shock and check myself like my son has. That’s survival, not filling your basement with stuff.

The point of this all is to chill out, and while you should continue to train, learn, and practice, the more you carry in your head the less you have to carry in your pack. No matter what, the most important weapon in your arsenal is a good attitude. Remind yourself that you’ve done this before. Yes, make an effort to stock up on things you may need if things fall apart. But while you are inventorying your gear, make sure you inventory yourself, and remind yourself that you have already seen TEOTWAWKI! – Tom

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