Preppers seem to be an intelligent, discerning bunch. They embrace individual responsibility, self-reliance, preparedness, and self-sufficiency. Very admirable traits indeed. My intention here is to shine some light on the foundation of many doomsday preppers – fear.
All fear is not bad. It’s a gift in many cases that has been passed down ancestrally.
Fear of our future has motived many of us to change our lifestyle. Too much fear paralyzes. Picture your health. You’re chilling on the sofa after work with remote in hand – feeling fine physically. An ad from the Industrial Pharmaceutical Complex interrupts compelling you to take action (and their newest wonder drug – which may cause anal seepage). Hum, as the thought bubble forms. I do remember not being able to remember the name of my co-worker’s daughter’s husband. Is this the onset of …. [fill in the blank]. I can put up with a bit of seepage if that pill can help me.
Then there’s the pesky problem of information overload. We’re drowning in a tsunami of threats, boogeymen, four-horsemen hype that would make for a bad day – even for the most prepared. Anxiety and hand wringing in the corner or buying the latest shiny object seem to be our only hope of survival for our species. Negative news sells. Who tunes into a local newscast with stories of families that made it home safely for dinner? No one. We rubberneck to see the disconnected devastation and destruction on our idiot tubes. We want to have our fear – and be happy too.
But we have to stay informed on all the potential S hitting the fan, right? There’s better ways to stay informed than faux news. I try to find a happy medium – staying informed – without succumbing to anxiety-induced anal seepage.
Last year our family experienced our own genuine, personal SHTF scenario. This was not a drill or practice session. DRG’s life was on the line. Discounting or overlooking real threats to our families is just plain stupid. Minimizing our risk in this preparedness game is all we can do. The first step would be to prioritize what’s really likely to happen in our individual situation.
I’m not your typical prepper – whatever that term implies. I don’t own a single gas mask. I know the three minutes without air rule. It’s just that, in my estimation, owning a chemical suit and gas mask is not a priority for our family now. Would I buy one if I thought breathable air was in short supply? Yes. But for now, my priority is to fry bigger fish – like water and food.
Here’s the good news! We don’t have to watch fear-based TV news to stay informed. No more throwing remotes or shoes at the talking heads on your screen. Online alternative news sites are everywhere. User beware. Some prepping sites fall into the fear, doom and gloom category. I’ve found that I was guilty of this myself in the early stages of this blog – fanning the flames of fear drives web traffic. Again, look for information that offers practical advise and steps to living a more simple life. A lot of “non-prepping” sites offer excellent information. Meaning, surf outside the prepping wave pool. I’m always interested in other non “prepper” sites y’all ‘Commentistas’ have discovered. Please, do tell!
How do we avoid the coffin that fear built?
Put down the shovel and stop digging.
- Relax. Take frequent breaks from the potential unknowns that keep you from sleeping. Health-destroying headlines top my list.
- Turn off the TV. I use to be a news junkie. I’ve broken the addiction. I value my psychological health. Here’s a study that found that watching the news on television triggers persisting negative psychological feelings that could not be buffered by attention-diverting distraction (i.e., lecture), but only by a directed psychological intervention such as progressive relaxation.
- Erase the hell-in-a-handbasket mindset. Bad stuff has happened in our time and to our ancestors – yet they prevailed.
- Fire the worker bee in you. What if the secret to survival was to fire yourself? You’ve probably read the “What did you do to prep” threads on forums. If not, they’re easy to find. I sometimes get the impression that if you’re not doing something to prepare everyday that you’ll eventually get caught, um, unprepared. We have to escape the tyranny of the urgent – the daily grind. Well Mr. Knowitall, who’s going to do all that stuff ‘experts’ say are essential to survival? You will. But first, you must fire yourself. Go ahead. Step away form the food dehydrator. You could use the break, right? Take a weekend off to concentrate on your long-term plan. Act like a CEO, not a worker bee. Then, step-by-step, begin implementing your plan. Scurrying around full of fear is unproductive.
- Focus on the main thing. Every trivial “news worthy” event has side-track potential. Your main thing may not be my main thing. Discover yours and focus your energy there.
What’s the next pandemic? I don’t know, and frankly, don’t care. Viewing life through the lens of fear shapes our future. Sadly, a lot is written in prepperdom that reinforces the panic-stricken mindset. My job is to decide what’s worth my time and energy. Standing over my coffin of fear with a shovel and dirty hands is not an option for me. Fear not.
How about you?
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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