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Monday, November 7, 2011

Be a Survivalist in 10 Easy Steps

Original Article

Being a survivalist is fairly simple.  I know this because I have met many, many people who have survived some of the worst things that a person can encounter (wars, genocide, grinding poverty, famine, et al) and they not only survived, but they were able to share their lessons learned with others, such as myself.  These people weren't former military, they didn't have an arsenal of food and guns and medical supplies.  Most often they had very little formal education and even less in the way of material goods.  What they did have were skills and common sense.  Here's what I've learned:


  1. Step 1: Have the best health and fitness levels possible.  Much of surviving entails being able to literally run for your life if necessary.  I'm guessing that 75% of Americans would find this impossible to do what with super high obesity rates and reliance on a daily regimen of drugs for a litany of chronic health problems.  Your health is YOUR responsibility.
  2. Step 2: Have assets.  This includes not only tools and firearms but money in the bank, gold jewelry, "people assets" namely people you can rely on in a crisis, a stockpile of food, cash on hand, etc.  In a true survival situation, you may lose many of these items but having a wide range of assets to draw from will give you an advantage over others who live paycheck to paycheck and spend every last dime they make on stupid stuff.
  3. Step 3: Have no debt.  As Ron Paul says, "debt is the limiting factor."  I like that saying.  If you are carrying a lot of debt, you will severely limit yourself when it comes to preparing for a survival situation.  You can't eat as healthy if every dime you earn is going for a massive car payment, you can't control your stress level if you are forced to work at a job you hate because you have bills to pay, you can't stock your freezer or buy a nice firearm if every penny you earn is already spoken for.  Get out of debt NOW.
  4. Step 4: Have knowledge.  There is no way to predict what skills will be needed to survive the next disaster you will encounter.  Will you need to perform CPR on a spouse who just had a heart attack?  Will you need to be able to evacuate within minutes after a chemical spill?  Will you need to shelter in place without the benefit of electricity for a week due to a severe winter storm?  Will you need to get your family out of the house in the middle of the night because your home is on fire?  Will you need to hunt for your own food because the store shelves are empty due to a total economic collapse?  Who knows. What I do know is that the more wide-ranging your survival knowledge, the more likely you will have these skills in your head when they are critically needed.  Take advantage of every opportunity to learn skills that would be useful in a survival situation (CPR, hunting, fishing, HAM radio, dressing meat, foraging for berries, etc).
  5. Step 5: Have a BOB.  Sometimes you gotta just go.  Now, you can go with only the clothes on your back or you can go with a knapsack of items that would come in handy during a disaster.  Which option sounds better?  In an emergency you won't have time to pack up this useful bag so do it now and have it ready to go on a moment's notice.
  6. Step 6: Have multiple ways to make money.  In other words, you need skills.  This was one of the major problems faced by people during the massive economic upheaval of the past few years.  They worked in middle management, paper-pushing jobs and had absolutely no other way to make money other than to wait for a paycheck from their boss.  What happens when these types of jobs go away?  You know the answer to that...massive unemployment and people ending up jobless, homeless, and hopeless.  You should be able to walk out your door and come back with $20 via a skill or service you can provide.  This doesn't include stealing, taking advantage of others, or begging on the streets, but rather it entails the ability to trade your services or skills for either cold, hard cash or a barterable item (dinner for two at a fine restaurant with the spouse perhaps? Yes, that would be a nice trade.).  There is no other way to learn how to do this but practice so get out there and...practice.
  7. Step 7: Have people skills.  One of the most fascinating things I have learned from many of the refugees, illegals, and others I have encountered is how precision their people skills are.  They can read other people's intent and will stay away from "bad guys".  They have a person to person network that rivals AT&T (the immigrant word of mouth grapevine is massive and quick).  They aren't afraid to ask for what they need (money, a job, help with whatever it is they need help with).  Keeping their word and having a good reputation is important (like it was back in my grandfather's day). They help others out and expect help in return when they need it (again like back in my grandfather's day).  Overall, these are some very important skills to have.  Again, the only way to develop these skills is to practice.
  8. Step 8: Have a survival mentality. The "poor me I'm gonna wait for my government handout" attitude will get you dead eventually during a disaster.  The "I don't care what I need to do I'm going to survive even if I haven't had to clean a restroom since I was in high school and even thought this job is beneath me any job is better than starving" attitude will serve you much better.  In a survival situation, people who embrace the challenge with both hands and do whatever it takes to come out the other side successful will survive.  The people who screechingly demand that the government save them will be screeching to themselves while others are eating eventually.  Kind of like Darwin's theory.  Rolling with the punches takes practice but it is also amusing, interesting, and can even be fun in some ways so go...roll with the punches.
  9. Step 9: Have scavenging skills.  I know that many survivalists are told that they need to be able to "live off the land" and "head for the hills" during a disaster.  That's just going to get a lot of people lost, shot, or starved.  In a complex society which is what we live in, a much better skill set is to know how to scavenge.  With just the waste that the average American makes each year, people who are in third world countries could live happily for quite some time.  Reuse, recycle, make do, or do without is the motto of many people who embrace a scavenger lifestyle.  To practice, start with shopping at thrift stores and garage sales then work your way up to dumpster diving and re-purposing stuff that other people throw out.  In a true survival situation, scavenging what you need will be way more common than trying to survive a snowy winter in the mountains.
  10. Step 10: Have the ability to protect yourself.  When society goes to hell in a hand basket, you will need to be able to protect yourself.  First of all, the police won't be there to do it for you and second of all, people can turn mean and socially psychopathic in post-disaster scenarios. There are a range of skills that fall under this category but basically you will want to band together with others (there is safety in numbers), use common sense (just because you can walk through any neighborhood you please during normal times doesn't mean you can do so after a disaster), and have the means to protect yourself (shotgun, pistol, rifle in that order).  And don't forget to practice.
There you have it.  Ten simple steps to become a true survivalist.  No go forth and practice.