Preparedness is a lifestyle. This habit or way of life isn’t developed over night. It is essentially unlearning former habits of living carelessly and unaware to living strategically in order to thrive when disaster strikes.
The process takes place in a person’s life accompanied with challenges and lessons learned along the way. These lessons help us to improve or warn us of things not to do. Along my journey as a prepper I have learned a few things that I wanted to share with you to help you along your journey as well.
7 Valuable Lessons I’ve learned as a prepper
- Preparedness is a lifestyle developed by a shifted mindset
In the preparedness community there is a big misconception or belief that preparedness is all about buying beans, bullets and bullion. Unfortunately, you can never buy your way to preparedness. Preppers should focus more on survival first then develop a plan on purchasing gear and supplies to assist in that plan.
- It is more than about bugging out
Thanks to the fad created by the show Doomsday Preppers many people come into the movement with a single-minded focus on preparing to bug out or fighting off invaders from their underground bunker. The fact is that these types of events don’t happen frequently if at all.
There are more important threats that preppers should be aware of to help develop a proper preparedness plan. Threats such as natural disasters, riots, car accidents, etc. are more likely to happen than a nuclear bomb dropping in your neighborhood. Don’t get me wrong, there is a possibility of a nuclear bomb being dropped but is less likely to happen than other possible threats.
So as a prepper we need to focus more on those more likely threats instead of just building a bug out bag and gear. You should have your home stocked with the proper essentials to last at least 30 to 90 days. Then you should build your supplies and gear from there. Bugging out should be an absolute last option. The ultimate goal is to be prepared enough so that you never have to bug out. Check out my post on how to determine if or when you should bug out.
- Goals supported by strategic plans are essential
Many people join the preparedness movement then quietly disappear after a year because shit didn’t hit the fan like they have been told that it would. Their goal was focused around surviving one particular event. They didn’t have a future goal in mind. An example of that is Jade Helm when radio hosts and websites were building fear and hype about pending martial law coming to the country. When it didn’t happen many so-called preppers fell off from the movement.
The ultimate goal that a prepper should have is to be fully self-sufficient and not dependent government agencies or FEMA when disaster strikes. I recommend envisioning where you want to be by the end of your life. Then breakdown 10, 5 and 1 year objectives to help you to achieve that dream. That way when you hear a wacko radio host warn you to get in a bunker for a disaster you will still be focused if that happens or not.
- Don’t fall for the “tacticool” fade
It is a pet peeve of mine to hear preppers brag about their tactical watches, scarves and shoes, etc. They have clearly been watching too many reruns of Doomsday Preppers. They think it is all about looking like you are part of military to be ready to fight at all times. Most of these items of gear have no “tactical” functions at all. Companies just put the name in front of the product because they know that it sells.
Preppers shouldn’t strive to appear tactical. Instead we should live our life as the grey man. You don’t want to stir alarm or suspicion. More importantly you don’t want others to know that you are a prepper because they most likely know that you have a whole lot of gear that the junkies can sell at the local pawn shop.
I do recommend buying the appropriate gear and supplies that perform useful functions. Don’t get me wrong I do own items that are labeled as tactical. However, I don’t purchase these items for the sake of having “tactical” gear.
- You’ll never be 100% prepared
There is a feeling of being overwhelmed or unprepared that all preppers will encounter. There may be a looming danger that we are considering that makes us reflect on the gear and supplies that we have. We then start to doubt that we are fully prepared.
The fact is if you have at least 3 days’ worth of emergency supplies you are more prepared than 70% of the population. Will the gear and supplies guarantee that you will survive and thrive when SHTF? No, the ultimate indicator of survival is having the skill to survive. If you have survival skills paired along with other skills then there is a higher chance that you will survive and thrive. Gear and supplies alone do not guarantee survival.
You will never be 100% prepared. There is always going to be something that you may have missed or overlooked. Doing practice drills can help limit that but ultimately your skills are going to make up for it.
- Prepping never ends
Prepping isn’t just made up of stocking gear and supplies. It is only a small fraction of overall preparedness. Continuing with the previous point, we should be more focused on developing and refining skills instead of breaking the bank to stock up on gear and supplies.
Skills are not developed overnight. It takes months and even sometimes a whole lifetime to develop skills. Then once you have developed those skills you have to continue to practice it or you will totally forget.
A good example of skills that are easy to forget is tying knots. Tying knots is extremely helpful in an emergency situation. They can be used to build and tie down a survival shelter, fishing or even using it as a pulley.
For me, learning how to tie a certain knot takes continuous repetition. Because if I don’t I will totally forget how to tie that knot only a few weeks later. That is why it is important to practice these skills. Survival skills should be mandatory for every prepper to practice.
- Don’t be a victim of fear mongering
It goes without saying but I will say it anyways. A lot of preppers are fascinated with conspiracy theories and radio programs that promote these theories. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in what many claim to be theories but a lot of us know are true. But there needs to be a point where we are thinking for ourselves and researching claims that any website or radio host propagates.
Many preppers don’t investigate the true intentions of these websites and radio hosts. Fear is the biggest motivator that influence many people purchase things. Therefore, these websites and radio hosts know that if they can keep you constantly fearing things that are not actually true they will make millions. As a matter of fact, there is a certain radio host that is a multi-millionaire just by promoting his products by using fear.
There have been episodes that I have heard where one radio host claimed that the world economic collapse was coming in just a few months. He stated that all of the elites where moving and heading to their bunkers because of that emergency. Then he abruptly promoted his long term food products along with others at the end of the episode.
Needless to say, that is a year after that I heard that episode and the world economic collapse has never happened. I’m not going to lie. I almost fell for his marketing scheme until I started thinking for myself. Beware of any website or radio host that promotes products by tapping into your emotions especially the emotion of fear.
Altogether these would be some of the most important lessons I have learned so far as a prepper. Please leave a comment below sharing some lessons that you have learned by being involved in the preparedness movement. Your feedback and contribution helps the prepper community.
Photography by Ted Van Pelt