Survival-Preparedness — It’s Way More Than Just The Gear
Not all preps are those which require ‘money’ to buy things. While money certainly helps, preparedness involves other additional (and very important) aspects too. What’s that you say? The preparedness mindset.
Preps are not necessarily ‘just’ physically tangible things (as in having a lots of survival gear and deep storage foods). There’s also that which is located ‘between your ears’. Your noggin. Your brain. Mindset.
“One of the most important pieces in your preps doesn’t go in your BOB, and it doesn’t cost a thing…your brain! If it’s not the right attitude, all the other costly preps are for not. You need a survival mentality, then all your preps you spent cash on, make it easier. Survival without preps/supplies would be difficult, but survival without the right survival mentality will be impossible.” said a reader here on the blog.
Your attitude and skills.
Here’s what I mean:
The Right Attitude To Compliment The Preparedness Mindset
Attitude requires no gear whatsoever. Having the right attitude is huge, and may make the difference between success or failure in many survival situations. Here are a few attitudes that come to mind which I consider to be beneficial to preparedness in general…
- Adaptable – adaptability
- Aware – situational awareness
- Open minded
- Skeptical – a ‘healthy’ skepticism
- Critical thinking
- Confident in one’s self
- Optimism – optimist
Attitudes are ingrained in us over time, and they attribute to ‘who we are’ and ‘who we’ve become’.
The right attitude can help tremendously while dealing with other people or situations. Attitudes can make huge differences while under stress, or dealing with atypical situations.
You might have all the survival and preparedness gear in the world, but a wrong attitude may stop your progress during a critical time of survivability.
Skills To Implement Actionable Success
A skill is a sort of ‘prep’. Skills will compliment a related group of tangibles, such as specific tools, gear, or other such ‘things’.
Skills enable you to IMPLEMENT ACTION (in a successful manner). In fact, if you have the skills (to do something specific) you don’t necessarily need to physically posses the associated tools or gear, because you might be able to borrow from others or fashion them yourself, or adapt another way to go about the task…
Skills develop from knowledge and experience. Often they are related to one’s job or career, however one’s hobbies and interests may also hone specific skill sets outside of one’s career. With regards to survival preparedness, many of these skills are only learned by one’s own doing. Practice, practice, practice.
[ Read: Practical Skills That People Once Knew ]
Is it not interesting that so many Sites give you list upon list of ‘Stuff’ you must have to be a Prepper/Survivalist?
Where is the Mindset, the Thinking, the Lifestyle that is all so important to what we all strive for?
Ken here does a heck of a good job at trying to get people to “Think”, but tell me, where else are you going to find what you need, BESIDES actually doing self training. And to be honest Ken can instruct you in every step of being prepared, but without actually doing it, you will never remember how ‘If/When’.
Ok, Ok, what the heck are you talking about Blue????
I’m talking about actually Growing a Garden, Learning how to “fix” things (you know how to repair a Roof?), Can you cook for a week without using that Microwave, do you know how to preserve food for long storage without consulting the internet?
How about going back to that thing I preach doing…… “Lights Out Weekend”.
Can you function without Power for a Weekend, a Week, a Month?
If not you are NOT prepared.
Try it, and you may just realize you need to improve that “Mindset” and get those old rusty ‘Gears’ working better.
BTW, Life it good here on Lightening Point.
i worked for a mechanical contractor for years before i retired. i saw so many new guy’s show up on a jobsite fresh from trade school with their journeyman lic. and did not know where to even start, they had the book learning but no hands on, completely in the dark as to where to even start. lost.
same with prepping, if you don’t know how to do something, get some hands-on, go outside and do it.
if things go south, that’s not the time to try and learn new skills, it’s to late then.
i may be wrong but i think primitive camping is a good place to start, along with gardening.
That is so true. There’s a big difference between reading about flying an airplane and actually piloting one. I knew of several “preppers” in the past that relied on Youtube Bushcraft videos for their “survival knowledge” and never actually tested the theories and if they did it is in the safety of their backyard. Try using a friction bow to start a fire in the rain or live a week on mice caught in a dead fall trap. If that is someone’s survival plan they are in for a rude awakening. Good quality gear can be a life saver if it is used properly
Primitive camping ( KOA, State Parks or anywhere there are faucets, electricity, showers etc. is NOT primitive camping) is a really good way to test your gear, skills, patience and learn what your strengths and weaknesses are. But you have you go rain or shine, snow, wind or heat to really understand how well you and your gear are prepared. It cracks me up when I hear someone say they are going camping and they are driving a 32’ house on wheels to an RV park.
It’s amazing how many people think “survival gear” will save them with the music stops. A while back I heard a man in an antique store telling his wife he was buying a crosscut saw hanging on the wall to have when the SHTF. The saw he was looking at was a “wall hanger “ as it had several broken teeth, the rakers had been ground down by someone that had no idea about filing a saw, the middle teeth were ground down nearly twice as much as the outers and it would be nothing but misery with a handle.
If you don’t know the difference between a bucking and felling saw or how to file, set the right gauge and tune up a crosscut saw (you don’t just sharpen it) then it is a 5” piece of steel and your fantasy of felling and bucking firewood during the apocalypse will be a nightmare. I’m guessing he didn’t have any wedges, a decent axe or spare handles to go along with his “survival gear” and will be sadly disappointed when the time comes when he has to depend on it.
The same goes for every piece of equipment, tool, instrument or item you will depend on for survival. The tool is a means but you must have the knowledge, skills and experience for it to help you.
In defense of Ken and many others out there, to include vendors, people who are looking for a quick fix want lists. Like a shopping list, they feel if they purchase everything on “the list” then they will be ready for anything. Regulars on this site know better. I think most of us that have been pressed to write out a list realize the limitations. Following a list is limiting because it allows you to turn off your brain.
In real life including survival situations, there are no substitute for brains.
Teaching one to think and encouraging one to practice are things beyond the control of the author that writes an article or list. The smartest people I know are also intensely curious people and they are lifelong learners. They are also very much into experimentation. Practicing something for the first time is an experiment. ( including switching brands of toilet paper ) Critical thinking is also very difficult to teach in any school. Those that try to teach it to students are constantly frustrated and the students consider those teachers to be “hard asses”. Yet, those lessons learned via experimentation and real life tend to be the ones that stick. ( you will remember )
Very true about teaching critical thinking. I taught geography and map making at the college level and found there was a lot to be said for the old Jesuit method of answer a question with a question. In many cases it took a few questions to a student for them to define in their own mind what the problem was before we could start working towards the answer.
There is much to be said about life long learning, I try to learn something new every day, sometimes from the kind folks on this site other times from younger or older generations as many folks can add to your knowledge.
Book learning has it’s good points but if after reading how to shingle a roof you can’t use the tools and materials you have to do the job the best the knowledge can do is help you discuss the job with some idea with contractors lol!
And the earlier in life you are able to learn it, the better off you will be.
Any youngsters reading this blog?? GET STARTED. Yesterday. Some of these things take a lifetime to learn and be proficient at.
We are fast running out of time I think.
Reply to Jack Frost: I took a college level geography course after I had completed an internship for USFS – Los Padres unit. In learning the Township/Range system of mapping, the reports I generated were reliant on coordinates using township and range. ( fire road access, anchor points for use as staging areas etc.). In going to Forestry program, I found myself tutoring my fellow students on the Township/Range system in Intro to Forestry. The most common question put forth by a frustrated student was: “Why do I have to learn this stuff? It does not matter and I will never use it!” Come fire season, I was frequently pulled off the line to work in fire camp at HQ tent. When on the line, I was the one with the map and the compass. Those folks that never did master township/range system were either happy just slinging a shovel or they quit and got a job somewhere else.
It made sense to me later to discover the military had trouble teaching map reading and cartography to officer candidates. The consequences of dropping an artillery strike in the wrong location had much more dire consequences.
I had enough post graduate education to be exposed to the 3 different learning styles that most people have. Of the 3, most people excel at 1. ( maybe 2 if you are lucky ) #1 is Auditory learners that can learn and retain information by listening to a lecture. #2 is Observational learning where students can see how to do things and retain that information better that way. ( Witness the popularity and rise of Youtube videos ) #3 is Tactile learning or learning by going to a job site or lab setting and actually working with tools, materials and chemicals using your hands. Most on this site are doers so my guess would be that most of us are tactile learners primarily.
Your comments show the truth in those that know go! Many people have no idea where the maps in their car GPS come from or where that nice satellite image that is used as a backing for the weather radar and hurricane info come from either. If you know how things are put together then you can have greater faith in the maps or data that you are using. Many folks have heard the expression, lies damned lies and statistics well the same goes for maps. I enjoy reading your comments on various subjects, sounds like we have both been around the block a few times!
agreed, GPS ? Nooo, paper maps are the only way to go. USGS Topo maps for your area and road maps won’t let you down.
GPS is convenient as long as it works, but it will track your location. i don’t like that.
use GPS, but have paper maps and a good compass as backup. it’s cheap insurance, ya’ never know.
good luck to ya!
Back during the summer I was up in the Blue Ridge WMA on an old Forest Service road and got flagged down by a lady in a new Lexus SUV and a man behind her in a new GMC pickup. She said they were trying to get to Dahlonega but had lost the GPS signal in the mountains and they didn’t have cell service. She said they had been driving around for 2 hours but “everything looked the same” and they were lost. I asked her if they had a map and she said “oh yes, it’s on a flat screen built in the dash of the car” (which wasn’t working) I chuckled and asked if she had a paper map. She said no because the car has GPS and they gave cellphones.
Then it dawned on her what I was getting at. I told her to follow me and I would get them to a paved road about 10 miles away that would get them to Dahlonega and she should pick up an Atlas and some National Geographic paper maps to keep in the car for any areas she may want to explore. She thanked me and hopefully she heeded my advice.
LOL, you can’t fix stupid but we can help them whenever possible : )
20+ years ago we were traveling and had the kids taking turns navigating various state highways for their dad. Our 12 year old daughter got very exasperated and declared it would be easier if they dyed the concrete of the highways to match the color of the roads on the map. She travels frequently for work filling in at various medical clinics, but I do worry about her reliance on the GPS. I think I will get her the detailed atlases for the areas in which she travels for Christmas and insist she put them in her vehicle.
In regards to GPS: My mapping and line-scouting was done prior to GPS use within civilian sector. It was originally used for military purposes for targeting/target aquisition for guided missiles. The biggest use of technology I saw was the use of satellite uplinks for use in communications and, most important to fire fighters, the weather information. Yellowstone 1988 was the first time I saw this largely because John Q public saw the Crown jewel of the Dept of Interior going up in flames. ( Federal purse strings loosened up )
The nice thing about working for a Federal agency was the fact that we had each other on speed dial. USGS for maps, NOAA for weather info. The military would fly us to locations so we could work ( sometimes ). One time, the USGS sent a group of workers north around the Arctic Circle for survey work. Several of us were sent to help train the surveyors in how to use a pump shotgun because they were going into bear country.
We will never get away from computers but there was a term used way back when called: garbage in = garbage out. Many of the first GPS maps were based on maps that were pre-WW2 data. My brief time as an intern working for the USFS was to update some of the oldest maps in the office so we could have accurate intel when we fought fire in those regions years later. There will always be a need for boots on the ground. Most of us are skeptical enough to not trust everything we read or learn from the internet. Information varies in quality.
– One thing I vividly remember about learning about military maps is a saying that particularly regarded that map and its manmade features. “The map lies.”
The contours and most of the water features are rarely wrong. I have seen buildings that were not there on a supposedly less-than-two-year-old map. I have found roads that weren’t even built yet. In one memorable case, we found a dam on the map that wasn’t even built yet.
I have also had the unlovely experience of watching two young officers arguing about where they were, with one young lieutenant absolutely certain that they were “On that mountain over there!”
I had a paper map in my pocket and a compass hung around my neck. I knew where we were, and was along just to make certain those fine young officers made it back to the unit– eventually.
I have been woken up in the middle of the night, where I got out of an enclosed truck and been asked if I knew where I was at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. I turned the map on the hood of the truck around, so it was properly oriented, glanced at the sky and put my finger on the map. In about the amount of time it took for you to read this; “We’re right about here.” I was less than half a mile off. I had several officers asking me how I did that; I told them I was part coyote.
A more difficult problem was when I trusted a young captain to keep us in position on a road march when I had had 24-hour duty the day before. I was tired and I thought he was able to follow a map and the taillights on the vehicle ahead of him, and tried to get some sleep. I was wrong. He not only got lost, he had half of a convoy lost behind us and wasn’t even on the correct map sheet.
When they woke me up, it took me almost fifteen minutes to locate us on a foggy night in thick 60-foot-tall trees. I got us back on course to where we were supposed to be going, and never again totally trusted anyone to know what they were doing. I might just be where I could see what was going on and have my own map in hand, and let the officer lead. But I could always let them know if they were about to make a mistake.
A paper map and the knowledge and practice of how to use it is an invaluable skill, and well worth the time, effort, and dedication to learn its use.
– Papa S.
On this subject, I recommend the book ‘Deep Survival’, Who Lives, Who dies, and Why.
By Laurence Gonzales.
The ‘will to survive’ is everything !
I read that book (Deep Survival). Good one.
[ Read: Survival Traits – What Qualities Help Us Survive ]
WarVet,I own that book. It’s a very good read.My kids have read it. My grandson as well.
A good book to have in your personal library…
‘ Necessity is the Mother of Invention ‘.
Somebody told me a long time ago. “Get your head on straight!” I didn’t lesson back then. Now I work on my mind set all the time to stay at the ready. Sure I’m paranoid. The only question is am I paranoid enough? As I see it survival depends on readiness. Stay alert and watch your six.
@ Man on foot,
[ Read: Be Prepared – Not Scared or Fearful ]
A great survival movie is “Arctic”. It was filmed in Iceland and has one actor. He is Danish but speaks English in the film except when he swears.
Such an interesting topic, i thought there would be more comments. I would say work ethic and organization are a mind set. My example is an acquaintance. They are not especially lazy in a sense. However they are averse to physical work and very disorganized. There garden is always late in planting and especially weeding, always looking for a gimmick to get around any real effort. The thing they don’t get, is if they were more timely in weeding as an example, it would make for less work.