Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
The world of prepping has become considerably more complex in the last few years. Covid earns at least some credit for this, as we’ve all learned a lot about dealing with major disasters that affect society.
As time goes on, we learn more and more about what it takes to be truly prepared and truly self-sufficient. We’re also drawing skills into our midst that were commonplace for our great-grandparents, but aren’t as commonly known in modern times. This is all good, as it ultimately makes us more prepared.
One of the things that I do is to constantly ask myself what we’re missing. That can take on a number of different forms such as doing after-action reviews of disasters that happen and playing through different scenarios to look for holes in my plans.
Nevertheless, I recognize that I am fully capable of missing something important, simply because I have preconceived notions about how things should be. That’s why I also look at what others say about prepping and talk to other preppers. I’m always looking for holes in my own plans and preps.
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The thing is, some things that might be critical for our survival through a disaster, which we would overlook. That’s why I work so hard to find those areas. Here’s a few that you might have missed:
1. Get in Better Shape
Modern life doesn’t exactly lend itself to being in great physical shape. The only shape that sitting in front of a computer or a television gives us is round.
That’s not exactly what we need, when we’re going to be gardening or cutting wood all day. Survival is hard work, and if you don’t get ready to handle the physical part of it now, you’re going to have a much harder time when you have to do that physical work to survive.
There’s actually three separate but interrelated parts to this. The first is to lose weight, if you need to. The second is to gain physical strength, and the third is to gain stamina. All three can be worked on at the same time, as they overlap; but they have to be worked on. Sadly, it doesn’t come automatically.
2. Get Healthy
In addition to getting in shape, you need to be concerned about your overall health. This is more of an issue for older preppers than it is for the young ones.
If you’ve got problems with blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or any other such thing, you should be working with your doctor to get them under control. That doctor may not be available in a post-disaster world, and the medicines they will prescribe definitely won’t.
Considering the rarity of medicines in a post-disaster world, we all need to both stockpile medicines that we need for chronic conditions and find natural alternatives for them. The best of these would be ones we can grow in our own gardens, ensuring that we will have an ongoing supply.
3. Work on Your Survival Mentality
The right mental attitude is one of the most important things you can have for survival. You could have all the equipment and all the supplies you need; but if you don’t have a positive attitude, you’re going to collapse and not do the things you need to do to survive.
This can mean different things for different people. Some are worriers and need to work on that. Others are pessimists, needing to overcome their negativity. Some just need to learn how to manage stress. Whatever it is that’s your weakness, focus on that; don’t worry about the areas you’re strong in, just because that is someone else’s problem.
Don’t ignore the spiritual aspect of this either. One of the things that religion does for us is to help us deal with reality, regardless of the specific faith. People who are strong in their faith are likely to have a more positive attitude, which will help them survive.
So, whatever your religious preference, make sure that your faith is strong and that it’s something you practice regularly; not just something in name only.
4. Kick any and all Addictions
We often tie the word “addictions” with drugs; but most of us are addicted to something or other, even if it is not something dangerous. While drugs, alcohol and tobacco are considered the “big three,” they are all eclipsed by a much more common addition… the addiction to caffeine. There are an awful lot of people who just can’t function without at least two cups of coffee in the morning.
I’ve got nothing against coffee, but I have something against it controlling me, even to a minor extent. What’s going to happen to me when my coffee runs out, if I’m addicted to it? I’d better kill that addiction now, while I can do it easily; rather than when I’m going to have trouble enough just trying to survive.
Another common addiction that nobody talks about is sugar. You’d be surprised just how much sugar the average American eats every day and how it affects the body. Diabetics have to get off it for their health; but in reality, the rest of us do too, before we become diabetic.
5. Befriend Your Neighbors
I’ve come to realize that the common attitude amongst preppers to hide everything from their neighbors is impossible to accomplish. Neighbors know what’s going on, even if they don’t understand it.
They’ll know that you’re growing a garden, gathering rainwater, and stockpiling supplies, no matter how hard you try to hide it. When everything goes to pot, you can be sure they’ll be knocking on your door.
The standard answer is that we don’t do anything for them. But think that through; if you don’t do anything for them, you turn them into an enemy. When they get desperate, they’ll either be trying to steal what you have or gathering together with others to attack you.
A much better plan is to have some food, say extra bags of rice and beans, that you can share with your neighbors in times of crisis. Along with that, make sure you’ve got enough seed that you can help them start a garden. Then, when they come looking for help, you’ll have some real help to offer, putting them firmly in your corner.
6. Train Your Family
I’m surprised by the number of preppers and survivalists who have dedicated years of their lives to learning every survival skill they can; but haven’t bothered to teach their families a thing.
Granted, your family may not be as interested in prepping as you are; but there’s no reason to set yourself up for having to do everything to support them, without their help. Teach them the basics at least, and make them practice until they gain some proficiency.
I’ve always tried to hide this training in other activities; more from a sense of trying to keep my kids from telling their friends that we’re prepping, than anything else. Survival skills taught while camping can be seen as part of camping, more than they’re part of survival. That small difference keeps it from being a secret that they’ve just got to tell someone.
7. Learn a Marketable Trade
Should we ever be faced with a true TEOTWAWKI event, especially one where the electric grid goes down, the big job will be rebuilding society into something that can function again.
We humans are social animals, and the idea of going off into the woods to survive really doesn’t work for long. If we all do that, there won’t be another generation to continue the human race after us.
Few of the professions and trades that we all work at today are going to be of much use in a world without electricity or a massive supply chain. The skills which will be of value are going to be those which help people survive.
A good starting point for those is looking at what people did back in the 1800s, before electricity changed the world. Pretty much any trade from that time period will be useful once again.
8. Explore Your Surroundings
Few of us truly know the communities we live in, and we know the places we plan on bugging out to even less. We spend most of our time either at work or in our own homes, and the only places we bother to learn are those we go to regularly.
But there are lots of other places around us; not only that, but lots of useful places; places that might be of importance when things fall apart.
Exploring the world around you gives you the opportunity to learn a lot that could be useful, such as good escape routes and how to remain hidden from attackers. But it can also allow you to find others who either are preppers or leaning that way.
You can tell a lot about people by the things they have and the lifestyle they live. Someone who has a fishing boat might be a useful resource in a post-disaster world.
9. Scout Out Resources
Speaking of resources, one of the big mistakes I see in the prepping community is the attitude that the only resources that will exist in a post-disaster world are those we have in our homes or what we can scavenge from the local grocery store, before or while everyone is looting it.
But the truth is, the world around us is filled with resources, many of them sitting in warehouses in open sight. We just don’t see them.
If you really want to be ready to survive in a post-TEOTWAWKI world, then find those warehouses and what they stock. Make yourself a notebook with that information and a map that shows where those places are.
That way, when everyone is running around, looking for anything from toilet paper to metal girders, you’re going to know where to find them. Not only will that help you to survive, but could help your community to survive as well.
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