Anti-Fragile Strategies for SmartPreppers
June 27th, 2013
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Our modern world is built on fragile systems. Systems that get worse, not better, with the smallest of stressors.Â Technology is a wonderful and scary tool. Systems get hacked. Bugs cause chaos. And it all depend on our power grid.
Think about our âjust in timeâ food delivery system, transportation, municipal water, medicine, banks, and even our governmental system. All are delicately fragile.
The lights are on, gas is in the car, food in the fridge, and your baby is healthy. A small glitch orÂ hiccup in ânormalâ can disrupt your comfort level. When a regional natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy hits, our modern systems become worthless. God help us if disaster ever struck country or world-wide.
Living life is messy even in ânormalâ conditions. Thatâs why the preparedness minded work to simplify systems and build redundancy. How do we know if our plan will hold up to the stress of whatâs coming? It would be wise to create controlled stressors in normal times to gauge your anti-fragility before all hell breaks loose.
The Problem with Linear-Life-Thinking
Life is not linear. Doing the stuff to prepare and respond to lifeâs ups and downs will determine whether you survive, thrive, or die.Â Self-sufficiency never arrives by accident. Itâs built through choices. We havenât left the rat race entirely. Like the rest of you regular guys/gals, DRG and I still have to pay the bills.
Over a year ago, we experienced our ownÂ personal SHTFÂ situation. Dirt Road Girl was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. As you might imagine, we were devastated. Suddenly, one thing mattered. Survival!
Due to DRGâs attitude,Â prayers from family and friends, and a second opinion from a wise doctor, sheâs bouncing back and taking full advantage of her second chance at life. Sheâs more than resilient. Sheâs becoming antifragile.
Sheâs a shining example of what âdoing the stuffâ is all about. Her fighting spirit motivates me â stops my complaining â causes me to be more honest with myself â teaches me to laugh at lifeâŠ and death â makes me embrace bothÂ my mortality and immortality.
Building an Antifragile Life
No shame in failure â try again â and fail again.Â Caroline CooperÂ used the term âantifragileâ in an email to me recently. What a great word! It comes fromÂ Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder,Â a book byÂ Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
âSome things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. TheÂ resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.â [Emphasis mine]
This is not a book review since Iâve not read his book yet. Anti-fragility is what Iâve been promoting on this blog without being aware of the term. (Iâm ordering his book today).
How can becoming antifragile make our preparations and life better?
Letâs see, we live in a fragile system/world. Â A SHTF event, personal or otherwise, will happen. It shakes us to our core. Our foundation is compromised.Â Paradigms are destroyed. What you thought would work doesnât. The âplanâ and the âbackup planâ fail.Â The map you were told to follow leads you to a bridge to nowhere.
What do you do next?
The SmartPrepper builds anti-fragility. Strategies that gain from disorder and disaster.
Here are some antifragile strategies to get you thinking.
1.) Economics:Â Decrease your exposure in the fragile banking system as much as possible.Â A hundred years ago our Federal Reserve (private central bank) started a stupid system that canât withstand shock. Our fractional reserve banking is too big to fail. Their rules donât apply to the individual â you and me. If individuals make stupid mistakes, we get immediate results. Failure is a great teacher.
Antifragile Strategy:Â Invest in tangibles. Productive land, skills, natural health, quality tools, precious metals, and stuff you canât make on your own. Â Having the ability to produce potable water may be more valuable gold. You canât drink gold.
2.) Community:Â We live in a global community whether we like it or not. Stuff happens in China and we feel it in main street America. Globalization means the problems we face are too big to understand and fix. Government leaders, no matter what their party affiliation, canât solve problems for you and your family.
Antifragile Strategy: You are the answer for your problems. But you canât do it alone. You needÂ local communityÂ no matter how self-sufficient youâve become. A bunker mentality will not save you.
Start by building antifragile systems and skills locally â produce real food (even with limited space), make your home a producer instead of a consumer (rain collection systems, alternative and sustainable energy, etc.), buy locally grown real food, and support local producers.
3.) Education:Â Let me be clear. âEducationâ is not referring to school. Schools do one thing very well â schooling. Schools are the last places on earth to learn anti-fragility. Students are not allowed to explore their interests. Thereâs simply not enough time and the overseers canât allow individualism to take root. Schools are just another too-big-to-fail, propped up government institution that is wildly successful at failure.
âChildren do not need to be made to learn about the world or shown how. They want to, and they know how.â â John Holt
[And it won't happen through schoolingÂ - me]
Antifragile Strategy:Â Follow your interests! Homeschooling/unschooling allows your children to follow their passions. Just like any other investment, there are sacrifices that must be made to achieve the desired result.
John Taylor Gatto once said, âGenius is as common as the air we breath.â Schools are not structured to allow genius to be developed. If thatâs true with kids in school, the same goes for you as a life learner. Keep learning. Avoid the cookie-cutter mentality of Â factory schooling â for you and your childrenâs future. Build skills, then get educated.
4.) Take Risks and Keep Doing the Stuff:Â Anti-fragility places high value on doing over just thinking. Risk failure. Fail. Try it again. Get it right.
Is this stressful? Indeed! There are no shortcuts to becoming antifragile. Thereâs no âsafeâ place. We want to insulate our children from danger. Thatâs noble to a certain point. But weâve crossed over into dangerous territory when our protection is smothering. Helicopter parenting, if you will.
Taking risks is an American thing to do. Thatâs how we built this country. Maybe my view is tainted somewhat from teaching, but I see a growing number of kids that have had risk erased from their lives through government education and helicopter parenting. Free-range kids learn to deal with risks, survive stressors, and gain from their experience.
Antifragile Strategy:Â Now is the time to practice doing the stuff before an event forces you.Â Iâm a huge proponent of testing gear, knowledge, attitude, and abilities. This alone will prepare you for those pesky unknown unknowns. Even doing the stuff now wonâtÂ guaranteeÂ success when it counts. But it will greatly increase the odds in your favor when disorder and volatility show up on your doorstep.
Self-imposed stressors help gauge your anti-fragility. Knowledge may weigh nothing, but until you start doing the stuff, your book knowledge wonât matter. Thereâs a big gap between reading a how-to on blacksmithing and actually hammering hot steel into a useful object.
Hereâs some of the ways to start doing the antifragile stuff. Note: Doing this stuff is for healthy people who want to stress their system in a natural, healthy way.
- Part of your plan may be to grab your Bug Out Bag and walk to a pre-determined location if need be. We do what we practice. At least once a week, sometimes more, DRG and I do our B.O.B. workout. That is, we strap on our fully loaded backpacks (72 hour go-bags) and hike around our town and neighborhood (about 3 or 4 miles). If youâve got a B.O.B. laying in your closet that youâve never carried, try it. You might find your hips and legs need more practice doing this stuff.Â Weâre not sure if weâd ever need to bug out, but itâs comforting to know we could physically if we had to. [Tip: Don't go all Rambo on your outings. Blend in as much as possible. You're simply conditioning for your summer hiking trip.]
B.O.B. Monday workout! Notice the SmartPrepper apparel
- Stress your body. Anyone thatâs hung out here knows that Iâm not a fan of conventional workouts (repetitive, boring gym workouts). My plan involves lifting heavy things, moving slowly daily (walking), and sprinting (max effort) once a week.Â Itâs not rocket science. Move in a way that builds functional fitness. If youâre interested in learning more, you can check theÂ Brick House Workout here. Keep your body in a state of randomness.
- Polar dip. Thatâs right. Taking a dip in a cold water stresses your system. I also take cold showers regularly in the hot months â and occasionally in the winter. Thereâs nothing like diving into the lake at the Dam Cabin in November, climbing out shivering, and warming up by the camp fire. Sound crazy? You may beÂ surprised at theÂ health benefits. Iâm not suggesting you turn your hot water heater into a bar-b-que grill. Just test the cold water to see if it works for you.
- Get grounded. Three years ago I removed the casts (running shoes) from my feet. Now I run in my birthday shoes. My students think Iâm nuts. They wonder if I ever step in dog poop â their biggest concern. Barefoot running has taken the stress off my joints, improved my balance, and strengthened my feet and ankles. If youâre considering an unshod run, be smart and invest some time in research. Beginhere. Even if you never run ânakedâ, loose the shoes and walk in your yard. Feel the grass/weeds between your toes. There are free health benefits to putting yourÂ sole on the groundÂ (earthing).
- IntermittentÂ Fasting: Â IF has many benefits other than weight loss. Hereâs aÂ IF resourceÂ Iâve put together if youâre interested. Skipping meals may one not be optional one day.
- Variety: Try new food. Shock you system with occasional wild foods and fermented food. Heck, just stop eating processed junk will send healthy shock waves through the Standard Americanâs Diet.
- Eat the real stuff: Eating real food is now trendy and revolutionary. We call it organic. Itâs really the nutrient dense foods that our grandparents cooked from scratch before our wonderful industrial food machine destroyed our eats. Buying (if you canât grow your own) local naturally raised or organic plants and animals not only makes you healthy, it your community antifragile.
- Water. Canât do without this stuff. Whatâs your system for acquiring H2O? Depending on your city/county to deliver potable water after an event is fragile thinking. Build an antifragile system that improves your life.
- Security. Dialing 911 is an option if your life is threatened. But know that youâre beholden to a response time that may be too late.Â Take your security into your own hands. âNuff said.
- Waste. Okay, this is a dirty subject, butâŠ I donât think many of us give it a second thought. When the Sh*t Hits The Fan, what do you do with the brown stuff? We take for granted that our toilet handle will always handle the job and paper work. If our fragile system fails, whatâs your plan to eliminate your waste? Outhouse or 5 gallon bucket and a Sears and Roebuck catalog? You may want to look into some type of composting toilet. Just saying.
- Networking. Building relationships with other antifragile people increases your chances of surviving stressors. You wonât need to just borrow a cup of milk from your nurse neighbor post-collapse, sheâd be sewing up that gash in your foot from a glancing blow at the firewood shed. Neighboring and networking now is the antifragile thing to do to avoid the rush.
Delivered by The Daily Sheeple
Contributed by Todd Walker of Survival Sherpa.
Todd Walker is married to the lovely Dirt Road Girl, proud father and grandfather, a government school teacher, a lover of the primal lifestyle and liberty. You can check out his website at Survival Sherpa with a vision of helping each other on the climb to self-reliance and preparedness…the Survival Sherpa way…One step at a time. Follow him on Twitter. Send him mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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