Thursday, August 25, 2011

So you have the basics covered. Now what? Five Things you can Focus On

If you’ve been following my blog for some time now there’s a good chance you have some of the essential preparations covered. Accepting the possibility of a tougher, more complicated future, understanding that survival and preparedness is more of a way of life, getting ready to handle problems. While mindset and the lifestyle adjustments are a long process, preparedness starts with it none the less. You probably got a good share of your gear and supplies together already, or at least have the essentials and understand the importance of food, water, emergency gear, some savings and so on, but what comes after that? If you find yourself in this situation, read on and see where you can pick up.

Take care of your Mind and Body

Guy, one of our readers, he sent me this link regarding what kills you after SHTF . The article isn’t bad and reminds me of one I wrote called “What Kills you After an Economic Collapse”, but it is missing the number one cause of death after SHTF: Stress. Stress causing depressions and suicide, stress causing cardiac problems, decreasing your immune system, stress causing eating disorders and the health problems that come along with obesity.
If you already bought the cool survival stuff, a Glock, stocked up your pantry and saved a few bucks in the piggy bank and you ask yourself what’s next, take a good look in the mirror. Be honest with yourself. More than likely you can be in better shape, have better cardio resistance or become stronger. Once you accept that you can do better, then comes the part of deciding what to do. Golf? Tennis? If you acquired the survival mindset you don’t make these decisions lightly. Your choice will seek the greater benefit for a number of possible scenarios, so you probably would look approvingly of ways of working out that also make you stronger for fighting, working and running. For a combative oriented workout I recommend “Combat Fit” by Cliff Wiese. Cliff made these DVD with Gabe Suarez, and the workout in it isn’t your Jane Fonda type of thing, but clearly oriented to becoming stronger for fighting, concentrating on upper body strength. Overall its very good workout for the entire body and I included it in my routine. Add to it some walking, running or stationary bike and if you keep a reasonably balanced diet you should feel better and stronger fast. 

When it comes to relaxing the mind it gets more philosophical. For some of us, our family is our emotional safety net, while for others its all about going camping and being alone in the nature a few days a month. Hobbies that can be practiced with certain frequency help you to stay sane. I enjoy shooting and defensive training so that’s how I unwind. Camping is great as well even though I haven’t gone camping in ages but plan to do it once we relocate to a safer/better place.

Acquire new skills and train so as to keep them

While a lot of S&Pers own firearms, the number of people that actually get professional defensive shooting training is limited. Of those, the amount that get more than one basic class is even less, and even fewer people get a couple classes every year. The files become pitifully thin when you then pick how many train this on weekly basis. I’m not being mean, just honest, and I know how hard it is to find the time and the right group so as to be consistent. First aid, trauma and gun shot treatment should be part of your curriculum as well. Most serious shooters that I know of would know what to do if they get shot (even accidentally during training!) and many keep the essential supplies for such an event in their range bag.
Other skills such as first aid, bushcraft, carpentry, mechanic, gardening, to name a few, these both have a practical S&P side and can become cherished hobbies or family activities. 

Make friends to expand your “buddy” network 

Remember the part about being consistent with defensive training? It seemed impossible to me some time ago but that changed when I made like-minded friends. There’s not many, and they are especially hard to find in South America, but they are out there. It should be much easier in pro-gun USA. Don’t give up, keep looking and be friendly. Eventually you’ll either find one or form such a group yourself. Start by getting training and meeting as much people as you can, hopefully finding folks that live near by. Join the Modern Survival forum and see if anyone lives near by. That’s when training weekly becomes easier. Having friends and buddies has several advantages as well. I don’t know about you but sometimes I don’t get along that well with people that are still blindfolded to the reality around them. I can interact with them but its not my favorite type of person and I’d rather be with people and friends that see things as I do. Before you realize it you find yourself surrounded by people like you. Your kid’s birthday, Sunday BBQ, its you and your friends, everyone packs and has trained together numerous times. If something bad happens you cant ask for better company, right? The friends and “buddies” you make are one of your greatest assets during troubled times. People to do business with, to be friends with, train, doctors that give personal advice, cops that help you out with security problems, someone in the municipal building that can help you with bureaucracy stuff, the network of people you know is of great importance. With high unemployment (20-25%) such a network is the only way to find a job. Some may be friends, others are simply acquaintances, but its important to establish that “buddy” relationship of you scratch my back I scratch yours, you do this favor for me and I’ll do one for you when you need it.

Make preparedness a part of you life, keep learning and fill in the gaps

By now its clear that the next step is mostly about taking S&P seriously. This also means enjoying it, because if you don’t you simply wont do it. You CANT do it as an obligation, you must find aspects of it that you find fulfilling at a personal level.
Soon enough your hobbies, your life decisions in general and your friends, its all influenced in some way by your survival and preparedness mindset. When people email me about getting the husband and wife or the kids involved, this is what I mean. Your family must accept and participate in your preparedness, even within more limited roles, they must accept it an embrace it. It can’t be simply an annoying hobby that the wife puts up with. The entire family must understand its seriousness even if you cant expect them to be as involved in it and as excited about it as you may be. Its not necessary for your wife to become GI Jane, but she must understand the seriousness of preparing. Your essential survival “group” is your family, and your group will only be a strong as its weakest link. 

Develop a long term, bulletproof financial plan

In the good old days you could just lean back after retirement and enjoy the golden years. Buy a camper and visit the kids and grandkids across America. This may not be the case anymore for a lot of people. A fixed income is a limited time option when inflation eats up the purchasing power of what you get each passing month. Having investments, property to rent (and rent to increase along with inflation) or some side job to help compensate will become important for you when you finally retire. The type of investments you make, or how you go about generating extra income can be most variable. The point to be understood is that a fixed retirement income simply may not be enough, that you need investments that generate income, and that you may contemplate the possibility of having to keep some sort of income generating business, self employed or part time work within your capabilities. Its very likely that more than retired you have to think about it as being semi-retired instead. Even more of a reason to find something that you enjoy doing so as to gladly keep doing it after you officially retire.
Take care guys,

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