Mindset. Why do you do what you do? Why do you prep? What brought you to this point? Once you got there, how did it change you? How did it shift your thought patterns? The answers to these questions and more are what may be the basis for how you are thinking today. I was just at the grocery store, spent 148.00 dollars this week, and could swear that if this were a year ago, I would have only spent 110.00 dollars on everything I bought. Things are getting more expensive, and many incomes are not going up to justify the inflation. Gasoline is at or over $3.00 a gallon when it is usually much less this time of year. People are still losing jobs, despite my own job change. I feel very fortunate, but nothing is carved in stone forever. I just got my gas and electric bill, the price of electric went up, and it was immediately noticeable. I now understand what my father used to complain about when I was growing up and used to hear him say “things are getting expensive,” but I never noticed the bulk food and other consumables in their home until recently. Even my mother has taken to buying more of what they use so that they have it in storage. Her thought process and mindset are changing, and she is becoming a prepper and does not even realize it. Maybe someday I will introduce them to this blog.
Who are you?
There has been a lot written about the mindset of those that are survivalists. I suppose that I too have some opinion about this as well… I’ll preface some of what I am about to type for you by telling you my profession is sales. It has been for the past 20 years. In sales you have to have a certain mindset to not get discouraged, not As far as my mindset, this means that I must be proactive most of the time and reactive a very little bit of the time. My mindset mus be one that must be able to be told no often and not get down about it. To keep on keeping on. Just to illustrate, it means that when someone says no to me it is an indicator to continue finding out why to find the reasons and overcome them, or to eventually move onto the next opportunity… If I get too many no’s, it’s okay, because they are just saying no to my products and services, not me. My point is that I have trained myself not to be affected by the “no.” Just like years of conditioning, your mindset of prepping or being a survivalist is one of attitude, concern, self preservation, and more I am sure. I am not going to define the criteria for the “survivalist mindset” because it is going to be different for everyone…
While how you think is important, I find that there are generally three types of people in the world. This comes from my sales training, by the way. There are those that:
- Make it happen,
- Watch it happen,
- Don’t know what happened,
I used to be number two on that list. I was number two for a good portion of my life. Actually, after some thought, I think I was stuck between number one and number two for a number of years. I know people in number three, and now I strive to be number one. The reason for this was an awakening I had personally. I will get more into that in another post. If you want a taste of what I used to be like, you can get a glimpse in a comment I made on The Apartment Prepper’s Blog on the post, Is Ignorance Bliss. I am going to go out on a limb and say that it is not. You cannot let it be in today’s society. It doesn’t matter who is in office, either. Democrat, Republican, Independent, Tea Party, whoever. Enough damage has been done over the years by those supposed to be serving their constituents, that are simply being re-elected to a job to continue to rob the average person blind. It can no longer be ignored.
Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
By that I mean, don’t go out if you are new to being a prepper and spend 1000.00 dollars at the grocery store. Bad move. Almost everyone I know is on a budget. I have written a few posts about prepping on a tight budget in the past. If you go out and spend too much money all at once you are most certainly going to buy items you will not ever use or consume, so you will be wasting a LOT of money… I did. Take your time, make a plan, and start small. A few items a week. Recently, The Survivalist Blog dot Net had a post of the 10 Things You Should Do Right Now and Ten MORE things to do right now. I think this should be spread out over several weeks or a couple of months. And all of this is subjective, anyway based on the amount of space and storage capacity that you have for food and gear. Prepping can be an expensive venture if you do it all at once. Besides, once you get all that “stuff” home, you have to find a place for it. I suggest you make room first, then plan. Also, do not buy gear you do not have the skill-sets to use yet. You are just wasting money. Again, please follow my lead on this, as I have already made these mistakes. If there is gear you want based on the skills you need to learn, learn the skills first, and then choose the right gear based on your skill levels. You will save a TON of money in the long run… This goes the same for time. Don’t try to do every thing in a day. Take the time, and budget 30 – 60 minutes a week or 15 minutes a day to your preparedness lifestyle, and pretty soon you will start seeing the fruits of your labors. Which brings me to “Your Stuff.”
Another area of the survivalist mindset that I hear and read a bit about online and in several of the books that I have read, is to become a minimalist. I am not sure I agree with this completely. I do agree that having a minimal amount of “stuff” helps one to stay organized easily. However, clutter equals disorganization to me. The disorganization that can come along with clutter can create a lot of wasted time when searching for something. But, if you continue to consume products and add to your collection, I urge you to stay organized. By staying organized you know where everything is when you need it. All of that said, I think that if you have a closet full of clothes you do not wear, get rid of them, donate them, sell them, whatever. Create some space for other essentials. Even I am donating a few suits, shirts, pants, etc. to the Vietnam Veterans Association in the coming week or two. I need to make a little more space myself since I have accumulated a little more gear this year, and doing i by ridding myself of the “stuff” I don’t wear or use anymore is the way to do it in my opinion…
I have written a couple of posts on situational awareness in the past. To that end, in the suburbs, your mindset should be such to be aware of your surroundings. It doesn’t matter if you are in the car, boat, bar, or grocery store. Coming from a pretty rural area in PA to Northern New Jersey when I moved here was quite a change. I went from walking into the local watering hole, grocery store, gym, etc. where I always knew someone to a place where no matter where I went I knew no one. Because of this, I became more aware of my surroundings, more aware of what was going on around me, who was in the room, what they looked like, how they acted, etc. I went from sauntering in the room to stopping at the door for a moment before waking in to asses the strengths, weaknesses, and threats of everyone in the room, sizing up the situation in a moment. I did this not to label or profile per se, but to be sure that this was a place that I was entering was palatable for me. Do what do you need to do to understand situational awareness?
Situational awareness can also be related to your “gut feeling.” I am a proponent for listening to your gut. Your gut will help you to develop the skill for knowing what is not right in that moment. It will help you to react more efficiently and effectively. I have heard of reports, bur have not yet researched, that women have a better gut instinct than men do. If this is the case, and again, I have not researched it, I have to believe that my own testosterone levels and ego would be the reason for that. Just something to ponder.
Seek Out, Learn, and Teach
This is something I think you should do after you have started prepping, rather after you digest that you are getting rid of stuff, making room, storing food, etc. Living in northern NJ, I am finding more and more people that are preppers. They too are seeking out those that are like minded. Some will be much more prepared than others, and will openly offer information if you ask. Don’t be a leach for information, however. Your would be mentor will catch on to this quickly. In fact they will probably be skeptical of you from the beginning. I know I am when a would be prepper starts asking me questions. If you live in the suburbs or a city, start your own meetup group on Meetup.com. People will find you, and you can host a weekly or monthly meeting. The meetup group I am in is maturing, and we are now making plans as a group to take wilderness skills, foraging classes and more. It puts me at ease to know there are other like minded individuals out there, and those that feel they can depend on me for information and visa versa. Not to mention there are several members of the group that I feel comfortable enough saying that we could probably depend on each other in an emergency situation.
This is probably one of the most important parts of your mindset. It has become top of mind for me. I could stand to lose another 20 – 25 lbs to put me back at the weight that I was 10 years ago when I was in much better physical shape. You can think faster, move better, carry more, recover faster, etc. when you are in better shape. I have written a couple of posts on this, more personal than not. My most recent foray into physical fitness is more intellectual, as I want to speed the results over the next few months, so I have pre-ordered Timothy Ferriss’s new book The 4-Hour Body. I am not going to talk too much about physical fitness, because it is personal to everybody, and everyone’s level is different. What I will say is that if you want to get into better physical shape and/or change your diet, like every other topic in this post, it takes time, and you cannot change it in a week or even month. You will need to dedicate yourself to changing slowly over time, and make it a part of your lifestyle. In time you will see change, and in time you will feel the change for the better. If you are plus 40 years old like I am, you may want to consult your doctor before changing your diet and hitting the gym so you don’t hurt yourself in the process…
I’ve left security for last, since it is such an expansive topic. I recently wrote a post on security and have had several posts around security. Suffice it to say that security is important, including personal security, financial security, home security, family security, defending your preps, and much more. This is going to be an expanded subject that I plan on writing a small series on in the coming future. I may even enlist several others to contribute on this topic if I can as well. I urge you not to worry immediately about guns and/or weapons if you are new to prepping, but to focus on what you need to do to keep your family protected from job loss, an accident that disables you or your spouse etc. These concepts too, fall under security. You can worry about guns later, because with them come with a whole new set of concerns, skills, costs, training, and more. Watch out for more posts on security coming soon…
- For more on the mindset of the survivalist, check out Episode 280 of The Survival Podcast.