The most important prep is…


A critical-thinking brain. The ability to think, to analyze, and to make good decisions.

Without knowing what to do, or what you should do in an emergency, a disaster, or a SHTF situation, tangible preps aren’t quite as important as your noggin.

And I’m not just talking about the simple stuff. Here’s what I mean…

The other day a comment here on Modern Survival Blog read as follows: “Probably the most important ‘prep’ thing I’ve done all week is to THINK long and hard about my present situation, juxtaposed against the world situation. An action plan might not be far off.”

I have self-imposed similar exercises countless times over the years whereby I spend some time just ‘thinking’. Running scenarios in my mind and thinking about the variables and outcomes as they portray to my own present situation or state of readiness.

In other words, I take some time to look at ‘the bigger picture’ in my mind’s eye, or even just a part of the big picture, before implementing specific action plans.

Today’s world can be ridiculously ‘busy’, and we as individuals let it become that way. Many people don’t even realize that they are in control of their own ‘busy’. We are constantly bombarded by incoming entertainment, messaging, ‘input’, and perceived (and real) demands – such that it’s easy to let all of our time be consumed being ‘busy’. No time to think.

The thing is… it’s important to stop once in awhile and just ‘think’. You’ve heard the expression, “Think before you speak” (I used to hear it alot from my dad when I was young ;) ), and there’s good reason for it!

How many of you know people who constantly spout verbal diarrhea (whatever comes to their mind comes out their mouth)? That’s probably because they are not thinking about what they are about to say – it just comes out…

How many of you know people who go about a task or project without formulating a plan first? They just go head-strong into it, and often run into snags and pitfalls because they’ve not thought it through first… “A bull in a china shop”.

When it comes to preparedness, there is certainly LOTS to think about (because there are so many scenarios and magnitudes thereof). It does one good to think about one’s own specific situation as it relates to a hypothesized emergency, disaster, or SHTF. I mean really think it through. Explore the what-if’s. Use logic to rationalize likelihoods, risks, the potential twists and turns. Reason your way through, and don’t fool yourself or ignore potentially harsh or difficult realities. Set aside some time to think.

By the way, thinking isn’t always easy. In fact it can be just like ‘real work’.

Hint: Use the time during mundane tasks to think.
Hint: Shut off the radio in the car and think instead.
Hint: Pencil and paper. You might take notes while you think. It helps.

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  1. @Ken;

    I think you hit the nail on the head with the “pencil & paper” not only for notes, but for pictures/doodles. Seeing it on paper helps many of us to recognize and think thru more “ephemeral” ideas and planning. Personally, I keep a couple of “Dry Erase” boards handy for diagramming out ideas & projects, like permaculture setups.

    Some of us learn much better placing our hands on something, as in something mechanical, rather than reading about it to make the thoughts more concrete and understandable. I don’t know where it came from, but there is a phrase/quote: Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail. It fits this topic very well.

    I also agree with the thought of shutting off the radio to aid thinking. You have to be able to focus on what it is you are contemplating. I thoroughly enjoy my solitude for collecting and elaborating on my thoughts. It drives me nuts to have constant radio/TV/people or whatever constantly interrupting my thought processes when I’m trying to work my way thru an issue. That’s where the dry erase boards come in, as I can get back to the notes/pictures on the wall after the interruption is gone.

    1. Right on! I too learn best by touching/writing/feeling what I am doing. The audio is just an interference. Nice when good music….but talking heads just get in my way. LOL

      I have LOTS of scrap paper, and we keep three clip boards strategically located with pens on strings (so they don’t grow legs). Always helpful to jot it down while the thought is fresh. Both trucks also have clip board note pads with pens handy.

      1. As to talking heads, there isn’t one, conservative or liberal, who is worth at best two dead flies. They all have the same agenda: to create and spread as much divisiveness as possible. The more divisiveness the bigger the market share. The bigger the market share, the bigger the paycheck. They are not analysts, journalists, or commentators. They are entertainers, period and all they care about is their bottom line.

    2. loclyokel;

      There are three ways people learn, they see it, they touch it, or they hear it. When I was in the military we had a saying “prior planning prevents pi$$-poor performance”.

      Now, is this not what you are doing when you do the “what ifs” in your head? You are trying to see solutions for the most probable situations you may find yourself in?

      1. While in boot camp we learned the real meaning of ‘assume’– makes an ass out of u and me. I don’t assume that everything is going to be hunky dory tomorrow. I don’t panic over it, just work on not having to worry much abut it.

  2. I can recommend an excellent book on the subject:
    ‘DEEP SURVIVAL’, Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why – by Laurence Gonzales.
    The Number One necessary item to survive is: The Will To Survive!

  3. If I’m being totally honest with myself and others, I’m tired of thinking about all of this stuff, lets either get it on or let it go. I guess its prepper fatigue but seriously, this is getting real old real fast now.

    It seems not a week goes by that there’s not some sensationalized supposed attack against us, yes some are real, but the alt media is just as if not more guilty of BS! ***Ken, not lumping you in here with this comment, your site has been one of the most sane and useful and not buying into the sensationalism that others do****

    Anyway, I’m working towards being in my own personal Galts Gulch, am tired of the crud creeping into our lives, am tired of being labeled, and am tired of being expected to support and fund any of this.
    Who is John Galt!

  4. To all,

    The most important prep in my view is the ” I have all ready done it” position. Let me explain! We all write & read about what we are going to do when the SHTF. In my view here is what we should have already done.

    1. Get out of the banking world.
    2. Get out of the stocks and bond world.
    3. Moved to our bug out location for those of us that have one.
    4. Purchased silver/PM etc. to the degree that we can afford it.
    5. Prepared our family for the great SHTF event.

    And everyone knows the list goes on. The point is that the shxt has already hit the fan and everyone should have already taken up their own respect defensive posture for what is happening world wide. The great SHTF snow ball has hit and is accelerating.

    1. I keep a daily journal of accomplishments and a weekly compilation of what occurred. I began doing this in 2009 and it’s been helpful (and revealing). I record what has been accomplished (broken down into categories), a brief synopsis of the US situation, anything noteworthy, and even a good quotation I may run across. It’s great to glance back over the journal because it’s a tell-all, mixing the accomplishments with the procrastinations.

  5. The stuff that I put serious thought into is the needs should there be a serious natural disaster, we live here with the very real chance of being hit by a tsunami, we as a state have far, far overdue, historically, and with the ring of fire acting up, its very real.

    I personally will never get flooded out by one but the majority of the infrastructure for transportation of goods is in the inundation zones. If there is even a 20′ high series of a tidal surge we’re screwed, if there is something of the magnitude of the last Japan event everything will be wiped out.

    I have thought long and hard about this, the effects, the fallout and the solutions to what will arise.

    There is no way that I or anyone else can be totally prepared for every sort of crazy scenario, there’s some stuff that is just going to be beyond our comprehension and beyond our abilities.

    But for myself, I need to be careful to not think this thing to death! That said, and yes the article has a real good point, some of us spend way way too much time in our own minds thinking about this stuff, y’all know who you are and know its true.

    So as with anything else in life, balance, there has to be some sort of balance. I think for myself the most frustrating thing is the lack of support from those closest to me. I guess they reached fatigue point with my direction, and they don’t want to think about any of this stuff at all! Talk about the opposite side o the coin, sheesh!

    1. Good morning, All and Kulafarmer,

      I agree wholeheartedly with your words.

      “So as with anything else in life, balance, there has to be some sort of balance.”

      Yes, balance and focus, and also for me personally, faith in God who is- and who cares and who will guide with wisdom if we ask and listen…

      Vision is so important too…
      Being creative…
      Being able to conceive ideas, even let them come to you…
      Seeing details and also the bigger picture.
      Seeing the same situation from a new angle.
      Seeing long range.
      Seeing consequences or outcomes.
      Affects on oneself and others including animals/plant/environment.

      I agree with you all about writing things down in various notebooks, binders of things I’ve printed for reference…

      I am thankful to talk daily with DH not only how was your day type of conversations but also how are we doing with our homestead, what is working well, what needs attention, what else could we learn or do for the first time or even more efficiently?

      I am blessed to have a DH who together we are fully into this together, O thank you God….

      Again this forum/community has been a HUGE blessing to both me and my DH, who spent quite a bit of time on here reading last night :)

      I am a lover of solitude, but it is also good not to be alone in this journey.

      Hey, you guys are great! You’d better believe it! :)


      1. Hi Shepherdess,

        You are truly blessed! With everything I have read from your posts these recent months, you seem to be a person who works hard, loves your life and family and holds your beliefs and faith very near and dear. What a rich life!

        I always enjoy your posts and feel uplifted from your positive attitude and outlook even in tough times. Thank you!

    2. Hi Kula,

      It’s tough having a partner who is not in the same place you are preparedness-wise. It’s hard when you can talk about everything else at length except this one topic… sometimes I want to bounce my thoughts off of hubby about different ideas, but we’re just not on the same page on this. I’m not giving up though, it’s too important.

      1. So Cal,

        Sending you a big ol’ sister (((HUG!))) :)

        Your quote
        “I’m not giving up though, it’s too important”

        My sheep and I are cheering you on, So Cal…all the way from PA LOL!

        Baaa-lieve all things are possible…

        -sheep wisdom for ya LOL ;)

        1. Thanks Shepherdess… loving the hugs and the encouragement from you and the sheep!!!

      2. You don’t have a husband, you have a tumor. And tumors kill. In fact you are dead already dear lady if you think for one second that you can drag a reluctant retard into TEOTWAWKI and survive. If you refuse to grasp what is being said to you and react according, then the order of natural selection will cull you out without remorse, hesitation, or regret. It is the cycle of life and death here that you have placed in uncaring hands. And if you don’t care enough to save yourself then who will?

        1. Charming. So by that logic you shouldn’t even try to save loved ones if they aren’t completely on board? How about pets? Little kids?

        2. @ Taxdn2poverty
          Always so pleasant to hear from you Taxd.

          Now I’m not so sure you needed to be the normal rude obnoxious self you normally are to someone that fairly new to prepping and this Blog, but that’s your norm it seems, I understand the “run the mouth before engaging brain” and the fact you’re the “know it all GOD of prepping” and therefore feel a need to spread your insults over the internet But this seems to be a new high even for you.

          Calling a Lady’s husband a “tumor” and “Tumors Kill” well I guess that’s your new all-time slimy meanness talking. Adding the “reluctant retard”…. Really????

          You have the tact of a true fool, if all you want to do is insult someone why don’t you fire away at me? This Lady is doing all she can and at least trying to find guidance, not needing the kind of crap you spew.


        3. I think NRP just won the interwebz. :) Since I don’t control the rant meter, I’ll leave it at that.

        4. @NPR: Anyone that will get you killed is your enemy. Nonpreppers are as deadly as the NWO. If someone wants to love a nonprepper and have them in their life then that is their business. But when the lights go out…we will see. Some of you out there just don’t understand what is coming down the pike at us. So, go ahead, love the people that will get you killed and insult the very one that is talking wisdom to you. There are two kind of spouses, those that understand and those that must be left behind. As far as the kids go, as someone asked, then reference the little four year old that was shot and killed in Venezuela during a food riot yesterday. If her parents had prepped she wouldn’t be dead, would she? But she had tumors for parents, not preppers. A child’s life was needlessly lost because she was powerless to correct the circumstances that made her homeless, penniless, hungry, and finally shot dead on the street. Here in America if an adult chooses of their own freewill to be held in check by a monkey with a driver’s license then so be it. I got better things to do than hand my soul to another person that won’t prep. Open your minds folks, and you can only do that by relying on your own gut instincts. There is a survival switch inside of you: Stop turning it off, please. thanks

        5. Oh,ffs. Here’s my two cents. My wife is by no means a prepper or survivalist but she has certain skill sets that I lack that are useful now or if tshtf. Just because someone doesn’t see what’s coming “down the pike” doesn’t mean you just let them get run over. You warn them, then you warn them again, then if their head is still in the clouds you grab them and pull them out of the way.
          If my wife doesn’t feel the pressure of the great coming unknown, then fine, I’ll prep for her too. Same for the kids. Sure, loved ones can be a burden or a pain in the ass at times (hell, so can I)but that’s not a good reason to kick them to the curb. I’m doing this FOR them, wether they like it or not. Surviving just for survivals sake seems rather empty. You can survive alone in a culvert eating cold beans from a can and hiding from the molemen or whatever but would you really want to?

        6. Taxd —

          I disagree with you on many fronts but the thought that if the child’s parents were preppers it would not have happened is wrong. In a country that has gone down the tubes as far as Venezuela has, unless you have the resources to have, for example, a complete self sustaining ranch it’s a toss up which may come first. Running out of stuff or having someone come take it from you. But one or the other will happen. Heck, it could even very well be the military that comes and takes it.

        7. This calamity did not come upon the Venezuelans overnight. They saw it coming two years ago and did nothing. I hope somewhere in the hills of Venezuela there is a real prepper that took the appropriate action and is eating well tonight. In the end I know I’m just wasting time talking to most of you, so I’ll just get back to work and wish you the best. thanks for your time.

        8. Taxd,you are not always tactful that’s for sure. That being said, I can’t say I disagree with your statement. Venezuela has been in a SHTF position for 2 years now. Many of my clients believe we are in the same SHTF position.That’s why so many of them have left for parts unknown. That’s why I have been teaching people how to cache supplies. That’s why I have been writing a 7 or 8 thousand word article for Ken between burying family and helping groups prepare. Even though my wife thinks I’m foolish for writing it. Seeing as PEOPLE WHO PAY ME don’t always follow my suggestions she wonders how people out in the ethers of the blog world will heed my words. How I made the decision to write off all my cousins on my Mom’s side save one. He is the only one who stands a chance to carry on my Mom’s maiden name thru his 4 boys and 2 girls. The rest will perish from their normalcy bias. So he is the only one that gets my help. It would be wasted on the rest.

          The people in Venezuela were suffering from the boiling frog syndrome. It took 2 years for the water to finally boil . I too hope there are a few who cached supplies there. The frog and water is on the stove here. Problem is people do not or will not be believe it.The tragedy is that many are wives,husbands and the people we love. Doesn’t change the fact they will/can get you killed. They will die themselves.

          The wife got a bad feeling about going on a cruise ship vacation. I really was looking forward to it. I didn’t give my wife the look or force her to go. Because I love her I cancelled because she felt so strong about it. It was important to her so I backed her decision no matter what I personally felt about it.

          You hit a nerve because people are afraid to have that conversation with their spouse. The one where if their spouse really loved them they would see how important being prepared was to their spouse and back them up no matter how they felt about it . Most here know where they stand. Just don’t want to admit it to themselves. Sad and tragic for sure.

          Easier to attack the messenger than to come to terms with the real problem.

          We are not talking about leaving the toilet seat up or the wife over cooking the pot roast here…now I will wait for the angry rebuttals and the self denials to the real issue here.

        9. Mr. Horse,

          I don’t actually have a ‘problem’ with the message necessarily; but as you mentioned – ‘tact’, was the weak point. Taxed is probably, fundamentally correct. However the delivery could use some polishing. What good is a solid message, if the delivery makes the message repellent?

          Consider for a moment, accepting relationship advice from Andrew Dice Clay. He might be spot-on, but the delivery causes one to stifle the urge to throat-punch the messenger. Referring to another’s life partner / soul mate as a ‘tumor’ or a ‘retard'(sic), is going to simply put off a majority of people who otherwise might benefit from a difficult message. Example, your message, essentially the same, evoked an intellectual reaction, not a visceral one.

          The other issue is that not all of us have any desire to be the last man standing while we are scattering lime over the remains of our loved ones. I think many of us would fight like bloody hell, right up until the point where it no longer mattered. That threshold is different for each of us. Personally, I’ll defend my small, isolated family to the death. But if for some reason they all died, even as a result of not heeding prior advice… well then for me, what the hell is the point in continuing.

          I really don’t want to be that grizzled, bearded, mentally-scarred loner and sole-survivor prowling the countryside with a 1,000 yard stare, fighting off other factions over who gets to take a city rat for tonight’s dinner over an open pit fire. No sir; at that point, for me, it’s all over. Turn off the lights and lower the flag.

        10. Wow!

          My slow-to-adapt, errr “tumor”(??!), quite literally, saved my life 22 years ago in an act of selfless sacrifice light years beyond the scope of your imagination.

          Without her actions, I’d no longer exist.

          I think I’ll go ahead and be a little more patient with her. And should that choice prove foolish and lead to our collective “culling”, I’m good with it.


        11. ah McGyver

          Nicely Said.

          I suspect that much as any of us gripe, about our significant other,
          whatever “shortcomings” we see in them, we have as many.
          whatever “shortcomings” we think they have, offset by strengths of different sort, etc..

        12. @ Anon

          It drives me crazy at times (and it shows), that people do not appreciate what they have in a “significant other”.

          I don’t care what that “other” is; y-all had better be happy as all-get-out you have that someone you promised to spend your life with.

          Without sounding “poor me” I lost my wife 11 years ago, hardest thing you will ever do is hold your spouse as she dies. So, to those that think its ok to grumble about “shortcomings” and “getting on-board” you have NO FRIGEN IDEA WHAT YOUR TALKING ABOUT!!!!!!

          For those that only find fault, than you don’t deserve to have a mate, period. Go live in your hole and be happy. As you said my friend, nobody is “perfect” even if you practice thousands of times, NOTHING is perfect. So do not expect your “better” half to be. If you can’t work with the person your with, what the heck are you doing????

          Sorry, Rant over; I’m moving on from this irritating post.


          PS; sorry Anon, was not directed at you, but had to voice that out there.

        13. NRP

          sorry about your loss. Yes it was many years ago, but often these stay in one’s heart and hurt as if recent. Not every day, but some days.

          Well spoke, and no, I did not take it as meant for me.

          all good.

  6. Planning and thinking ahead is critical, but overthinking and wasting time thinking too much can cause problems. Action gets things done. We need to figure out how to prioritize what needs a good plan verses what just needs done.

    For example, we just jumped into gardening, made mistakes, did research, and made changes. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know and you will only learn by making mistakes. We could have spent 5 years planning and would not be where we currently are. Make a plan, see it through, evaluate, make changes, repeat…

  7. I think(no pun intended) that the most important prep changes weekly with these worldly uncertain times.

    Technology insures that ‘we’ will lose this battle. Care to battle with clones over your communities??

    Hang close to your ‘Savior’.

  8. In classes I used to teach for firefighters I used to get the new people saying. “What if” when going thru a pre-plan for a scenario, a person can ‘what if’ yourself to death, I call it the ‘what if’ syndrome.

    We have a plan and a contingency plan and the supplies for those, from there on out it is thinking on your feet as you go, it would take a 40ft semi to haul everything for some of the stuff I’ve heard on these blogs from different people.

  9. The powers that be, Govt. and those controlling them, are counting on the fact that the majority of our citizens are distracted, heads in the sand, or just asleep at the wheel.

    As preppers at various levels in prepping, we hold a single common thread, we have been awakened to the fact that the need to prep is apparent. I guess the next most important issue is to recognize the warnings that things are bad and the time is running out to be prepared. I’m sure each of our circumstances are different but another issue I think we share is the hope to be able to hold on our values and not be under the control of a tyrannical Govt. and/or violent group that intend to steal our supplies and generally intend to do us harm.

    Hope all of you wellness and strength throughout what is ahead.

  10. HI y-all

    Well I figured I would jump onto this one early and let fur fly and land where it may.

    1) At times I would have to agree with Kulafarmer 100%, not that I want TSHTF or any other catastrophe, BUT the hype, at times, drives me crazy. Over the past decade there have been literally 100s of “cry wolf”, and thousands of predictions, some have happened, most MOST have not, and everyone seems to be looking for the next “end of the world” if nothing else than to say “I told you so”. The worst ones will be the ones that nobody sees coming. BUT that’s for another post. Yes we, all of us, need to help get the word out there to be prepared for if/when something (God knows what) happens, but please STOP screaming End-Of-The-World every 3 days.

    2) I don’t really care for the new label out there called Prepper, Survivalist, or whatever. What a bunch of crapo. If all someone is doing is practicing for a disaster, stockpiling tons of “stuff” (water/food/meds/junk), training for TEOTWAWKI, and looking for the next SHTF, than that’s all fine and dandy, but NOT for me. I have a LOT more to do (enjoying life) than to sit in an underground bunker or play boogie man in a never-ending cycle. But again, if that’s your “thing” please go for it.

    3) I’m a “lifestyle-er”, I do things because I enjoy the independence it brings me, I Garden because I LIKE to and can what I grow because I LIKE the taste, not necessarily because I believe the stores will not have food next week, but because it’s the way I’m wired. I work very hard at keeping my “skills” going, but I don’t believe that playing mucho paramilitary games every weekend is my thing. Can I hit a rabbit at 100 yards running? Yep and I know how to clean and cook that little sucker.

    Sure I have 40 cases of FD-food, canned-food/dried-food, 8 ways to start a fire, water to last 2 years, fuel, (don’t forget about the 400 rolls of TP hehehe) and enough stock (deep pantry) to last a long, long time. But that’s also a part of the “lifestyle”. I learned a LONG time ago that life is not to predictable, a deep pantry, as Ken calls it, is not a “prepper or survivalist” thing, it’s just smart. Heck, with my attitude lately I may be without work, so guess what, the “lifestyle” will last me through.

    4) OK, as to the article before Ken scolds me again HAHAHA. Thinking about what you are doing is NUMBER UNO, if you want to have the mindset of a Prepper/Survivalist, then your thinking is done for you. Just pull up the 10,000 list on the net, buy a bunch of stuff, learn how to build fire 15 ways, build a shelter or two, (don’t forget the firearms) and your set…. BUT!!!! If your serious about living the lifestyle and being truly prepared, it’s a thinking challenge, for you’re not running to Taco Bell and McDonald’s 6 times a week and just having bunch of “cool stuff” in the storage shed, it’s actually doing life every day, enjoying the life you have chosen, living the “outdoors” with nature, and being at peace with yourself.

    Hence, y-all may really want to THINK about what it is you want in this life and how to live it.


      1. @ Nihilist
        Ohhhh I have no problem with having an underground bunker at all, (I call it a root cellar), but to live life sitting there worried about if NK has launched that Nuke yet??? Noooo not for me.

      2. Ha! Half way thru “10 Cloverfield Lane” with my DW. John Goodman is the creepy survivalist with a fully stocked underground bunker. No one wants to be crazy & creepy!

        1. @ Lake Ox

          HAHAHA, Ok I will admit I have not read “10 Colverfield Lane”.
          BUT if used correctly I have NO problem with “Crazy & Creepy”. Hence I have no problem with Jehovah Witnesses showing up at my door uninvited….. hehehe


        2. NRP,
          I’ve had crazy down to a science for years. If I had the room, I’d have an underground bunker just for TP! And I’d be ridiculously proud of it, too!

    1. NRP,

      Your posts are always food for thought for me – and sometimes the source for a much-needed chuckle on a busy day. ;)

      I’m also not the person who would rather be in the bunker than actually living life in the sun and fresh air. As much as I think about scenarios and what-if’s and what-to-do stuff, I also try to balance it out with laughter, joy and the happy moments that make life worth living. Like I wrote in my post, it’s a balance.

      1. @ So Cal Gal

        Thank you So Cal, I know I give y-all living in the cities and CA. a bit of a rough time, but you all seem like friends and family to some of us old-fogies that have gotten out. It just seems if the SHTF does hit, it’s going to be tough on you-all.

        I remember sitting at the 8, 405 interchange on the TOP ramp (250’ up) at a complete stop looking around and wondering if that small little earthquake was about to hit….. Come to find out later the entire freeway network was basically shout down because of 2 bad accidents. I sat there for over an hour. I knew at that time I would not be there (San Diego) for long. Things worked out for the better and moved to the Four Corners; that was back in 1981. Seriously, I have never looked back, and the last time I was in CA for some very unfortunate business I swore I will NEVER go there again.

        I could not imagine a spouse that would not be on-board with “prepping”. If it’s about money, that’s just crazy, if about time still crazy. That deep pantry and skills are like no other insurance policy. It’s not like you’re not going to use the TP you happen to store or any of the other things you’re doing. Maybe I just don’t get it? Maybe being alone now I just do as I want and don’t have to clear it with someone else? Or maybe I’m just an old crunchy fart that will live my lifestyle no matter what someone else tells me?

        I hope you get to find that “hunk of dirt” you’re looking for and get to bust out of the shell of modern day norm. For me it’s a life I often dreamed when I was much younger, Thank God for my late wife, she was the final push to “get out”, hopefully you can determine when you need to do the same my friend.


        PS; please don’t fall into all the hype of “the sky is falling” all the time; you do as you need, when you need. Life is all about choices, make well thought out decisions no matter what the obstacle.

        PSS: Yes; life is a balance, but that balance has everything to do with your choices you make.

        1. Hi NRP,

          I appreciate your advice and thinking of me (and all of us) as extended family and friends. I have come to feel that way toward you and many others here who regularly post and share stories and experiences. I look forward to reading about what everyone is up to and I feel remarkably close to many of you though we’ve never met in person.

          The preps aren’t about $ or time… it’s that normalcy bias Ken writes about. The belief that things will never get so bad that all of this stuff will ever be needed (except maybe for short-term power outages or a moderate earthquake).

          I have to say, though, my heart was warmed when hubby and I were bidding on the land we did not get and talking about what we could build on the lot. Hubby told me that we needed to let the contractor know right up front that we want a solar system, you know, to go along with all the food and other stuff we have for emergencies (not telling the contractor that part). I smiled… this is a good step forward and means I have him thinking! :)

    2. Yup, isn’t it curious that a common sense lifestyle of the 1800s-early 1900s and before is now labeled and most times referred to in a derogatory manner, what was once just good common sense is now considered an extreme view.

      I gotta tell you my brother, there’s a lot of folks who aren’t going to make it just from sheer ignorance. It wont be pretty.

  11. I agree that we all need to take time to think–critically. I’ll add that it is just as important to take a day off from SHTF mindset. Like Kulafarmer suggests one can get burned out on thinking about such depressing stuff. Sometimes taking a break and clearing the mind can help us think more critically. A good belly laugh once in a while is great medicine.


  12. My problem is that I think through things thoroughly, plan them out, start…and then find out what I didn’t know. So I often put things together in a temporary format until I’m sure it will all work before I make it permanent.

    Several of you have mentioned the increasing numbers of panic attacks created by the media and the “fatigue” of dealing with them one after another. My personal opinion is that this is the point.

    The sheeple have already fallen in line. Now they need to take out those who remain, those who haven’t fallen for the lies. They can’t have complete control if there are holdouts. So an endless series of “wolf” incidents hardens us to the real disaster when it comes. How many of us here would actually believe that the disaster has already started, especially if the media was screaming it? We’re so inured to the constant pick-pick-pick that we’ll probably miss the cues when the real problems start.

    1. Hi Lauren,

      I share your concern – sifting through the overblown warnings and under-reported important happenings is a real challenge. It’s hard not to over-think some of the stories that are really just hype, and hard to find the “real” news in the midst of all the junk the MSM feeds the public every day.

      I don’t want to miss important warning signs, but I have to live life as well. As I wrote in my post, I trying to keep finding the balance.

  13. To echo some comments made previously:
    Planning is good for progression to, or achieving, your goal(s) and objective(s) for however you want live.

    I’m analytical with action orientation as a second, in other words I think about something too long and in too great of detail, then say the heck with it and do something. It’s a constant battle to not continually over think and under act. Fortunately, the DW is a fast thinking and even faster action person and we balance out (I’m too slow and DW is too fast, strange how that works).

    Thinking about what I/we/you want to do as you lifestyle is great and once you have the picture (avoiding the vision and dream words) of where you will be, then do the plan to get there, it may take a while, but what else are we doing? Like any plan it never goes as planned so change should be expected and managed. And it usually takes longer that expected.
    I know this now, but it took a long time in my life to figure it out what is important to me and what was noise.

    I really didn’t get it (who I was and how I wanted to live) until a I was rolling close to 60 (thought process changed drastically, less time left I guess). Am I right? Maybe or maybe not, but it works for me and may not work for anyone else. I don’t think there is one canned approach everybody has different pictures, but no plan no arriving at the picture.

  14. Like most of you, I have done a LOT of thinking about what to prepare for, and what I need to both learn and acquire. I have done my best to think it through before making purchases, then make the decision and move on. I try not to make impulse purchases, or to over-think… a balance between thought and action.

    I also am learning to think differently about what I read, hear and see. It can be difficult to sort the hype from the reality and to cut through the “news” clutter to pick out the important tidbits that actually mean something. I try not to dwell on the negatives, to find the balance between staying informed and living a quality life.

    I can see why people who have been living this lifestyle for a long time can become burned out. There are a lot of sites that instead of educating (like Ken) they really preach the doom and gloom daily – it would be really easy to get caught up in believing every moment is our very last. You could lose a lot of sleep just thinking and worrying (I have had my share of these nights).

    And for those like me, Kula, McGyver and others who have partners who are not fully on-board it can make it tough. It’s no fun getting those looks as we explain why another delivery has arrived. I guess that is a balance as well – thinking about what you really need (vs something that would just be fun to have) and making well-thought out choices about what we believe and what is worth doing.

    1. So Cal Gal,

      “And for those like me, Kula, McGyver and others who have partners who are not fully on-board it can make it tough. It’s no fun getting those looks as we explain why another delivery has arrived.”

      I think we are making progress in that regard. A few weeks ago a power pole exploded in our back alley with enough force to shake the house.

      Mrs. M: (wide-eyed in panic) “Do you think it’s a terrorist attack?”

      Me: “Maybe…….” followed by a lingering look.

      Also it’s become kind of a ‘thing’ now, almost every day she will ask me: “Hey, can you go out to the shed and get me a (fill in the blank)?”

      My reply is always: “What shed?” with a sly grin.

      Plus she works with the public – the entitlement class. She’s actually been physically assaulted because of an EBT card being declined. I’ve asked her to recall those experiences, then extrapolate.

      She’s coming around.

      1. Hi McGyver,

        I remember you telling the power pole story (that was Ken’s squirrel wasn’t it?) and it’s great that Mrs. M is seeing more of the practicality of what you are doing. I remember a few weeks ago you and Kula and I sharing notes about getting “the look” from the partner, and anyone who is with someone who is not quite on board knows just what that “look” looks like.

        After being assaulted by someone who went crazy over an EBT card not working, I’m sure she can imagine how we are going to be over-run with hungry people who are flipping out because they can’t get their free stuff any more when TSHTF. I’m sorry she had to go through that, but it had to have been an eye-opener.

      2. My latest look was over guns.
        I got the “why do you need those scary looking military rifles?”
        I told her I’d trade her in before I’d let them go…..

  15. I think the imagination is very powerful. And I lean on works of fiction to help myself imagine myself into SHTF scenarios. And I also lean on history. For instance, I just read that at least in medieval England most fires were started with flint & steel & char cloth. This evening the plan is to make my first char cloth. Thus I stumble forward (hopefully).

  16. I can attest to thinking clearly.

    My brother in central Cali lost his entire mini-farm/homestead – with the exception of his home.

    He had all the great livestock that we all wished we had, chickens, cows, sheep, goats, bees etc. ALL the livestock has been saved and are at a safe location do to quick thinking and logical movement. The bees swarmed (not a bad thing).

    He lost all the outbuildings, his huge workshop and all his vegetation. His property was truly a homestead/farm/preppers sanctuary.

    He had lots of storage, hardware, lumber, iron, fasteners, and tools… tools tools. He could build or fix anything with all his preps.

    Its all gone.

    There is good news… His home, family, and livestock are all well. Now for the cleanup – assessment and rebuild.

    If there is anyone east of Bakersfield Cali that can lend a hand… just take a drive to Kelso Valley – pick an area where the fire hit, and offer a hand. I’m sure someone over there would appreciate a days work or donations.

    I plan on making a trip out as soon as I can make arrangements. My cousin and I will be taking tools our BOB’s, our skills and muscle to give a hand to my brother and his family.
    I wish I could blink my eyes and be there, and still maintain my home at the same time.

    My heart aches for my brothers devastation as well as the entire area that was effected.
    He was “thinking” ahead, and had a plan. He used is brain first, put it into action and didn’t panic. Most of the people in his valley lost their homes.

    He will rebuild. He is very near the retirement age, but, how do you retire when you have all this work that needs done???

    My two weeks won’t be enough time, but, at least I will be doing what I can to help out.

    1. youngest….

      we have three daughters live in Bakersfield area. My DH is gonna load the truck with tools etc. and head that way…..the girls and their DH’s have all agreed to help as well. DH can give it a week with weekends on each end….the kids can only join in on the weekend…..but they ARE coming to help! Have many friends in Lake Isabella.
      Thinking of all.

      1. Pioneer:

        I don’t know who you will help. I’m glad someone will offer a hand. My brothers house is the one pictured in the news (Channel 5?) with the tattered flag.

        I’ve been searching all day online – trying to figure out what new things to send out. The only thing I can think of are drill bits, saw blades, and a compressor. I can purchase a lot of items online and have them shipped… His entire tool supply for his life, livelihood and livestock are all gone.

        Whatever he has in the house, and in his trucks is what he has. I don’t even know if any of the deliveries could be made yet. From what I understand – no Telco services will be restored for some time, and the power will be out for a bit as well.

        My heart aches for him and his… everything. :(

    2. Hi Youngest,

      I’m so very sorry to hear about your brother being one of families that lost so much in the horrible fire. We know someone there who is out of the danger area and has been helping with distribution of feed, hay and pet food from his location. He has told us so many stories of people barely getting out, cattle left to run, rounding up horses, pets, and of so many people helping and donating to those who ran for their lives with little or nothing in their hands.

      I’m glad your brother and his family, and even his house made it… but still such a terrible loss to have worked so hard and lost so much. I’m sure it will be both a help and comfort to have you there, even for a short couple of weeks. Saying a prayer for your brother and all the families who were hit so hard in that area.

      1. Hello SoCalGal:

        My brother had enough of his “thinking hat on” to rescue the livestock prior to the damage. I think fire was always one of his worst fears. He built a water tower just for his little “neighborhood”. For… Just this reason. Most people on his road lost everything. I think his is one of the few left standing among all the debris.

        If I could be there today – I would be. But, duty calls and if I up and run, my job will be gone. – Corporate believes in family first but not clear across the country. :(

        I wish I was a mere 120 miles from him. I would be there already. It’s tough being so far away.

        The only thing I feel that I can do is just order supplies from online and have them shipped to him prior to my arrival.

        Thank you and PW for your thoughts and prayers.
        He will rebuild, and not only will he rebuild, he will help others in the meantime.

        Metal, welding, carpentry, ferrier, gardening, pipe fitting, mining, blasting, heavy equip operator, My brother does it all you name it he can do it.
        He is so handy! Its tough without the tools. :(

    3. I’m really sorry to hear about all this, but kudos to him for all that he managed to save. I just wish I could pitch in and help him rebuild, but I live all the way across the country.

  17. My former pastor was very successful by all standards. Rich from a prior business sold at a young age prior to becoming a minister. Lived in the sunshine state. Beautiful family of three girls and 3 boys, with the oldest 16. Beautiful wife. Senior pastor with 8,000 on the membership rolls. A growing church body with a new church building including the latest technology. A congregation that loved him very much. A family blessed by great health. Becoming a nationally recognized leader at 44 years old. Really loved life. Could anyone ask to be more blessed?

    O’ did I forget to say he owned a own small aircraft? Well, one morning, on Mothers Day, with his oldest son on-board the aircraft in an unexpected down burst was driven into the side of the mountain and crashed on top of Cold Mountain NC. He was on the way to a pastor’s conference. Son and Pastor passed into everlasting life upon contact with a grove of large pines the plane was cut to pieces. Both father and son died in a split second. A strong down draft unexpectedly had caused the plane to drop several thousand feet in seconds.

    How does anyone prepare for such events in their family?

    “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by Me.” I AM “Neither is there salvation in any other.” I AM (To believers) “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Jesus

    Have you included Jehovah in your preps?

    God takes care of His own through thick and thin. Each of us can be one of God’s own if we choose.

    End of story. Pastors wife remarried another young pastor within 2 years who at the time was single, wanted to find a mate. Young pastor was building a home with 5 bedrooms at the time. Felt it was God’s will, but had no idea why he was building a home with 5 bedrooms. Wife and family were married. Wife and children has gone through the fire but now happily moving on like Job. God even in tragedy takes care of His own.

    Please consider the God opportunity.

  18. Good post, Ken.

    Just for another current example…..
    I don’t know any of this, but cannot imagine it not being so…

    The recent Orlando Nightclub shooting..

    There must have been some muscular (armed) bouncers/security? (most clubs do…etc)…— yet apparently none of these (which should have numbered ten or more)…thought to take any action, even get together and jump the shooter…? Doesn’t make sense..Did they freeze?

    In a club which hold three hundred fifty, there must have been more than one exit door? Surely there were several quick push emergency exit doors, if only due to fire safety laws? Yet not a one of these was pushed open so the masses could get out. Apparently they all tried to get out one door.

    I’ve watched the news/read a lot of articles, yet there is no mention at all of Muscular Bouncers (armed or not), or of Fire Exit Doors…Surely both must have been there?

    Did folks just freeze?

    I have always sort of looked for exit doors in a new place, now I am very particular about this.

  19. I am a think and do person. (Reminds me of the grade school work book I had called that) Although preparing for most type of scenarios from economic collapse to a job loss, I keep my wits about me, keep my fears in one place and my enjoyment in another. Almost scares me I can get depressed about an impending disastrous event to then laughing at my dog Moose who got his snoot stuck in a cottage cheese container. Does that make me a manic depressive? I don’t know, but if keeping a balance makes me crazy, I’ll take crazy any day.

    1. No, that doesn’t make you manic depressive. It makes you human.

      Manic depressives usually have a definite swing from high to low, sometimes taking years to make the swing. Their highs are usually not much higher than “I can deal with life.” A manic depressive can go quickly from normal to curled up in the corner crying for days. The main criteria to determine if any behavior is mental illness is “Does it affect your everyday life?” Someone who is extremely organized is different from someone who has to have all the forks perfectly lined up in the drawer or he can’t go to work (OCD).

      I sometimes think I might be manic, but not manic depressive. My highs are very high, and my lows about normal for most people. It’s like my “swing” starts out higher.

      Maybe Ken should do a post on dealing with mental disorders in post SHTF?

  20. Overthinking things and their possibilities can bring one to a point of paralysis. I’ve found focusing on a particular scenario will have you going so deep into it you realize there’s no way to cover all the “what ifs”.

    We prefer to be “generalists”. Taking into account that many preps are overlapping to other possible scenarios, we’ve chosen financial collapse as our main theme, while giving consideration to EMP/CME, Grid sabotage, and large scale terrorist activity. There’s no way to be prepared for everything, but you can cover a broad spectrum.

  21. The most important prep is your noggin. Playing scenarios in your head is great training for a “what if” scenario. I play scenarios in my head daily. I get most of my thinking and scenarios done with the radio or TV on. I like background noise. Thinking without noise is great but work on blocking out all the background noise. There will be a time that you will need to act or make a plan with noise all around you.

    I plan almost everything I am going to do. Whether it’s a honey do list, run errands(my route), build something, etc.

    But the most important thing I focus on is completing each small portion of my main task at that moment and making sure I am fluid to anything that I encounter. Anything can change in a instant and thinking too much can be a bad thing, waste time and be catastrophic in a bad situation. If you think too much you will over think the issue and then that’s counter productive.

    Like I always say at the end of my posts. Adapt and overcome. You can plan things to the exact detail but “Murphys law” is a bitch. Always stay fluid in your thinking, expect something to go south and you will be ready when it happens.

    I always try to take time to just disconnect from everything and just “smell the roses”.

    Adapt and Overcome.

    1. 11HE9
      Murphy…..he has lived in this household since 2004, and he/she is a real pain in the backside as you stated. We have been forced to adapt and sometimes we over come. We understand life if not all roses, comes with the territory we live in.

  22. Respectfully, has anyone ever thought of this scenario.

    If you are the leader of the house, group, community, or whatever then why not make all of the preparations that will keep you safe, healthy, and secure. Because if you are doing fine, and the others in the group will follow your lead and do likewise for themselves before SHTF then everyone will have a fighting chance.

    If someone won’t follow your lead what good will any of your preps do them anyway? We can drive ourselves batty worrying about the mental midget that has a thousand excuses not to buy a lifestraw, a gun, or a can of beans.

    So there is one irrefutable situation that should be on the top of every preppers mental list and that is the ironclad fact that not everyone, including at least one member of your own family, will make it. People will die, and your love for them won’t stop that. The list of people on your team will be less and less with each passing week, if not daily.

    Let’s be honest. TEOTWAWKI is no place for the faint of heart, and you being the leader, will have to find the courage and wherewithal to carry on, even when you are convinced you can’t. If you stop, it’s all lost. You must prevail at all costs. There is no survivable alternative. You must shoulder the burden and go the unknown distance regardless the darkness and danger, the injury inflicted to you, or the load upon you. Let not the mental fog of confusion and self doubt cloud your judgement or your actions.

    In closing, remember, perfect practice makes for perfect results. You must redundantly practice as many different scenarios as possible for the only absolute during TEOTWAWKI will be the Continual Non Stop Perfect Personal Crisis filled with heart wrenching Constantly Changing Circumstances; changing very rapidly indeed. And most assuredly none of the changes will be bringing good news either.

    So stop now the suicidal nonsense of slacking off. Recharge your mental batteries, get off the pity pot, forgive yourself for taking a step back, and Prep On. If not you, then who? If not now, then when. We have one chance, and one only, to get it right. If we don’t, it will all be wrong and despair and death will overtake us very soon after the lights go out. Post TEOTWAWKI does not provide a second chance to make a first impression on natural selection. It’s either you are them, and that will never change. Future generations of your ancestors are totally dependent upon you. For if you fail, they will never be born. And bluntly, that sux. Thanks for your time.

    1. Very well stated and I, for one, used this strategy when I lost my youngest son 2 years ago. Bottom line, there were a group of family members and close friends to my son — every one of them was suffering, as was I. If I had chosen to be a ‘victim’, the negative impact would have been burdensome to them as well as to me. And then I would have become completely consumed into doom.

      Victimhood. UGH! Stay away from it — it’s the mindset that can control and destroy you! It takes great strength to avoid (or rise) from that status. The bottom line with survival is whether or not you/I/we succumb. Are we going to be victims or survivors? Get the mindset right, get coping skills, get a plan.

      1. Your comment reminded me of something we were taught during CERT training. Take care of yourself first, preserve your own safety, because if you get injured you’re just another victim, one more person that someone else needs to care for.

        1. Lauren

          the very first First Aid course I took, said basically same.

          First comment/question form the Instructor was something like…”What is your first responsibility etc”…(Oneself)

  23. The absolute most important prep is the one that was forgotten. It’s on the list… saw it on sale…….a “two-fer”, too……and it’s still there, in the store, on the shelf, yellow “sale” tag stuck to it, and that store is as far away as the place giving away free bacon.

  24. Prepping is a more mindful, mature way to live. Only the developed minds are able to plan ahead. I’ve had my share of fear with everything going on and me getting overly worried and impulsive. But I have noticed a new appreciation of the good things in life, too. I actually enjoy life in a focused way now. I heard from a pastor that you can’t really live until you’ve faced your own death. The worst can happen but you can still see goodness.

  25. My significant other and I have been together for a long time, I think we are pushing 39 years or something like that. With her OCD, (for which I AM eternally grateful) we have managed to put aside some serious preps over the years of food we normally eat, and other commodities we normally use and items for barter, etc.
    My job is the scrounging, toting, carrying, cleaning, grunt work, since I do grunt a lot, hers is the meticulous planning and financial management skill sets that one needs to have in today’s world.
    I am far more of a survivalist than prepper, she’s far more of a prepped than a survivalist, we compliment each other’s skill sets, and I really can’t/won’t imagine her as a “tumor” to be surgically existed door just plain “cut out”, as some have so in articulately opined.
    Those kinds of folks don’t seem to have actual relationships, just selfish exchanges of “services”. No thanks, I prefer an actual relationship, even if one might incorrectly make the assumption that it’s a “tumor”.,,,

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