Buying Stuff Is Easy

“Mental and physical preparation. People die with all of the things they need to survive because they don’t maintain the will to survive. . . . the most important thing is the person using the technology.” This was recently emailed to me by one of my oldest and closest friends. In the military they taught us: improvise, adapt, and overcome. Knowledge and ability, once gained, are yours forever; stuff can be lost, broken, or taken away.

Though few of us can buy everything we’d like, the actual concept of saving up the money, going to the store, selecting, paying, and bringing it home is easy. It’s easy and we feel good because we now have this item; we believed we needed it for our preps, we saved for it, and now own it. But this is only a start, now we have to mentally and physically develop the skill set to use it. New items typically fall into one of two categories: it is something we are already familiar with and just need to figure out the new one, or it’s something we’ve never used before and need to learn a brand new skill (which take time and effort).

Mental preparation: developing a survival/can-do attitude and learning useful skill sets. Physical preparation: keeping yourself physically capable of surviving and accomplishing those skill sets.

We all have stuff sitting around our homes that we’ve bought but really don’t know how to use. We understand the basic concept and we’re fairly confident that if we needed to we could “figure it out”, but we haven’t taken the time to – yet. This can be a precarious position. Now that we’ve bought said item we feel we have checked off that box; there are other new and interesting things, to buy. Figuring it out “one of these days” frequently never quite happens.

It is imperative that we do “figure it out”. Take the time to learn the skill, then get your hands dirty and practice it – watching a video isn’t good enough. For example, It’s easy to buy a few 2x4s, some dirt, and a few seed packets; that is most everything needed to build and plant a raised bed garden. But how many more steps are there between buying and harvesting healthy vegetables?

What about the generator we’ve been told we need? Home generators are relatively simple to operate: add fuel, open fuel lines, choke, turn on, pull starter, and it should fire up. But, doing this for the first time in the dark is not simple nor stress-free. (That is not the time to realize you never stored any fuel.) What are you going to power with it, why, and for how long? Take the time to figure it out before the power fails. Consider developing your skill set further–and here I need to take my own advice–and learn some basic maintenance.

Or, one of the common prepper flaws: owning lots of guns, lots of ammo, and never having taking a defensive firearms course. “I know how to shoot” many will say, but how about shooting effectively in a high stress, low light, fatigue filled situation, where people might be hurt? Sure you can shoot the center out of the paper targets every time. Sure you assume that if the SHTF you’ll be just fine. But have you ever practiced for failure? What have you really done to mentally and physically prepare the skill set that could protect your family?

The list continues. You have the great BOB; can you carry it? Sure it’s in a quality backpack, but have you put it on, cinched it up and walked any distance? What about good footwear? You bought good boots; but finding out they needed breaking in when you are a mile into your ten-mile trek, is too late.

It was easy to buy it, but investing the time to learn new things, with our busy schedules and hectic lives, is tough – really tough. Especially when it all has to be self-motivated, there’s no ‘financial’ return, and you’re learning it for something that might happen, someday, maybe. So how do we self motivate? ‘Because we should’ isn’t (usually) good enough. Everyone knows they should exercise, eat right, etc. but you need to be able to articulate your own reason and goal.

I don’t have any brilliant insights to give you. You have to find that motivation; start with your plan. Set short-term achievable goals, working toward a reachable long-term goal; continue to eat that elephant “one bite at a time.” Begin with the Five Basic Needs and build from there. Yes, there are certain things you have to ‘get’, but, more importantly, you have to develop the skills to utilize those things and prepare yourself mentally and physically for the tasks that may be ahead.

(Wednesday: A List)


3 thoughts on “Buying Stuff Is Easy

  1. you are so right! being prepared is so much more than buying “stuff”. Can you actually cook with the preps you have? We practice canning and cooking with the items we store…grinding wheat and making wheat bread is next on the list (though I practiced with regular white bread). The generator doesn’t do any good if you haven’t practiced (all members of the family) and maintained it – says the lady who was stuck alone in the house with a non working genny due to poor maintenence with an ice storm raging and no power for TWO weeks -…
    Practice every prep, have a back up plan if plan A doesn’t work and use your preps so you are familiar with them!

    • Cooking with preps is huge and I didn’t even mention that. Sorry to hear about your lack of functioning generator experience, I’ll bet that won’t happen again. After I finished yesterday’s post my son and I went out to the garage and fired ours up for it’s quarterly check. Redundancy is a big thing too, that’ll be the subject of a future post.

  2. Pingback: Self-Reliant vs Self-Sufficient | TraceMyPreps

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