When people talk about “The End Of The World As We Know It” (TEOTWAWKI), it is almost always in ways of how we might prepare for the end, what equipment to have, how much food to store, and what skills we must learn. These are all valid points. Most people can agree on common standards in these areas, but what if the act of preparing for the end can cause danger to yourself and your family?
I’m not mocking prepping; I’m a prepper myself. I’m simply stating that a prepper must be in the correct mindset to make choices they may not have expected to make. Say a disaster happens; you’ve prepared for this years ago, and you know what to do. You go home, get your bug out bag, and get to your bug out location, which you have stocked with ammo, food, and everything you need to survive for at least a year. What if that location becomes compromised? Maybe, word got around about a guy with a lot of gear and food, and people slowly started to flock to your location. Some went to ask for food, and some that want to take it. What do you do?
I’ve asked a few people this question. Some were preppers, some were regular people, and some were people in my life who I considered very smart and successful at life in general. I was expecting some of the answers I got, and I was surprised by others. Most of the preppers I talked to had a “stand my ground” mentality. Nobody was going to take “his” or “her” stuff without a fight. The regular folks said to start hiding supplies. (I wasn’t really sure if this would be a feasible plan.) The answer that shocked me the most and opened my eyes to this problem is what I got from the people in my life that I thought of as successful. (These people are not preppers, but they have good jobs and have climbed the ladder fast.) They said they would grab a bag of bare essentials and leave.
I was very against this idea at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I believed that the common prepper mentality was very crippling. It is impossible to predict the future. You can have a lot of guesses about what might happen, but that is it. What if something comes and you are away from all that stuff you stockpiled, or you get injured right off the bat, or somebody steals everything? Prepping for a disaster is good insurance. However, if somebody doesn’t have the mental fortitude to abandon all of it if they need to, then all the prepping in the world cannot save you.
That being said, how do you prepare for that? Sometimes it’s just the type of person you are. There are survival stories all over the place of people living through almost impossible odds, without any prepping for it. To name a few of these people, there is Harrison Okene, who was trapped underwater for three days when his tugboat capsized; Norman Ollestad Jr., whose plane crashed in the mountains at age 11, and he climbed down, dragging an injured woman; Eric LeMarque, who got lost while skiing and used iPod radio signal as compass for seven days; Ricky Megee, who was lost in the Australian outback for 71 days; and many more. These people were very different in nationality, situation location, and the supplies each one had available to them. I found this very interesting while I was researching this. The recurring theme, in most of the survival stories I researched, was the complete lack of supplies. If any of these people did have supplies, they had no qualms about using them, but they had nothing compared to what is deemed necessary by the average prepper today.
There was some luck involved in these incidents, but was that all? How did these people survive with few or no supplies and little or no training? For every story of survival miracles, there are hundreds of stories about those who died or were never heard from again. What is that special “stuff” that they have that other people don’t?
We need to rule out a few things first. Was it their experience? I don’t think so. Many of these survival stories depict city slickers and woodsman that both survive, so that can’t be it. Is it their dogged willingness to survive no matter what? A lot of people think that this is true, but I don’t. I think that if determination and a little luck were all it took to survive in those situations, then we would have a lot more success stories. So what is it then? I didn’t figure it out for a few months.
It happened when I was talking to my father about getting ahead at work. One simple thing he said to me struck me like lightning. He said, “Dave, you just need to be the guy that gets things done.” I know that doesn’t sound like one of the Ten Commandments, but when you really think about it isn’t that who always seems to come out on top? Isn’t that who gets the big account at work? Who gets the girl? Who are the people celebrated by society for heroic acts?
We all know one or two people like this. They are the guy or gal who are always calm in a crisis and react to situations with speed and decisiveness. They are the guys to take down the robber in the bank. They’re the person who jumps down to pull a civilian away from subway tracks on which they fell. Once I realized this, I started to see it everywhere. You can also. I want you to go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeLTeUn9IHk where you see a victim fall on the subway rail and is then rescued by a fellow commuter. Now watch everyone else on the platform. It’s amazing when you really look. Most people do next to nothing despite being so close to the victim. This is not because they are bad people or just don’t care. It’s just their natural reaction. The person who saved the victim was one of the furthest away, and the reaction was instant without time for thought. That was not the only example. You can search for “real life heroes” on YouTube and find many more. These types of people are the ones who have the natural talent for getting things done. I believe these are the people who have the best chance of surviving TEOTWAWKI. That’s great for them. What is everybody else supposed to do? That is the really difficult question to answer. Luckily this problem has been around for a while, and other people have thought up solutions.
The army needed a way to keep soldiers from freezing up during battle. (I’m former military, and any of the former military guys reading this knows how epically messed up the situation can get, if someone in your chain of command freezes up. The way they do that is to train and train, and after that,they train some more. The theory behind the practice is to convert every action to muscle memory, so that you don’t even need to think; you just react. This is a pretty effective method. The one downside is that it’s very time-consuming, and you need a large amount of discipline, if you want to do this on your own.
Another way to deal with this problem is to just bypass it. By that, I mean that you team up with someone in your life that can just get things done. That way when the SHTF, you just stick to him like glue. I am personally not a fan of this practice. While it is better than nothing, it is just hard for me to completely trust someone like that, unless I know him or her really well. You also may guess wrong, and you can’t take chances with something this important.
So, if you’re one of the lucky few who was born with the natural ability to complete any task you were given, then I salute you and wish you luck. If not, then don’t lose hope. Start practicing those drills until they are second nature. Remember, the right survival mindset is a far more precious commodity then a fully-loaded AR-15.
In conclusion, I now only believe that the people truly prepared for disasters are the ones that are ready and confident to do so with NO supplies. So, you need to ask yourself, can I survive with just my bare hands and the right mindset? The answer for myself is, “No.” If it’s “no” for you as well, then you really need to work on this. Supplies and weapons are great to have, but you can’t bet your life on the guarantee that you will be able to use them. I hope that everyone learned something from this article and that it won’t be too controversial. Good luck and stay safe out there guys.