I’ve had several conversations with some of my closest confidants recently that have opened my eyes and eliminated a blind spot in my understanding of (some) other people’s preparedness paradigms…or lack thereof. It seems that some people fear thinking about preparedness. These people avoid the thought or discussion of perils and preparedness topics. Some people go so far as to avoid entertainment that deals with preparedness or the consequences from a lack of preparedness.
You may be chuckling too yourself at my former ignorance, but as a lifelong prepper (in mindset if not always in actuality) I never stopped to consider that someone would willing chose ignorance. I get it now, though. As a business owner I receive phone calls all the time from sales professionals wanting to sell me the next great thing to make my business grow. If they get through my well-trained staff they rarely get past the first sentence of their sales pitch before I politely thank them for calling and tell them I’m not interested. At that point I don’t know the details of their pitch but I do know there are only so many hours in the day and I can’t spend them all listening to every telemarketer that calls. The bottom line is that I’m not open to whatever new information and knowledge (with the resulting price tag) that those telemarketers wish to ‘bless’ me with. By choosing ignorance of their ‘pitch’ I don’t have to deal with the potential discomfort of living without a product or service I might need or the discomfort of living without the money that I just spent on that product or service.
My prepper-shy friends are no different than I am with the telemarketer’s sales pitches except that missing this opportunity will potentially affect more than just the bottom line. These friends have expressed to me that the potential discomfort that they are avoiding is fear but they are already operating on a fear of the unknown. These people believe that the study of and actions necessary to become better prepared are attributable to and result from fear. By not entertaining the idea of preparedness they are avoiding living in fear. Unfortunately, this reaction is based on a half-formed thought.
According to Psychology Today “Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason… exposing ourselves to our personal demons is the best way to move past them.” In other words, the more experience and knowledge you have about something the less fearful you will be. Additionally, even when the situation is life and death we must learn to banish fear to the point where we can do what is necessary to assure the survival of our loved ones and ourselves.
In the Army we know that people are fearful of new situations, whether it be public speaking (briefing in military parlance) or battle, so we train the troops… then we train them some more… and finally we train them again. Our training generally involves imparting initial knowledge and skills followed by exposing the troops to increasing realistic training scenarios. Military training is designed largely, not just to teach job functions and skills, but also to banish fear…or at least to keep fear at bay so that the mission can be accomplished.
So, my prepper-shy friends, I propose to you that your fear is primarily fear of the unknown. By avoiding preparedness you perpetuate fear and by exposing yourself to that which you fear…you banish will banish that fear or at least greatly reduce it. Follow these three steps to banish your fear of preparedness:
- Curious and opportunistic as you seek personal growth.
- Cognizant of your responsibilities as a provider, protector, parent, family member, and member of your community.
- An example to your family and community. Be a source of strength for those around you.
- Your challenges: Understand the perils and threats that you might face and build your knowledge (and eventually skills) in order to survive and thrive in the face of life’s challenges.
- Your team (family, community, etc.): Know your team’s strengths, capabilities, weaknesses and values.
- Yourself: Know your strengths, capabilities, weaknesses and your core values.
- Your goals. Be precise, be specific. For instance, “my goal is to meet the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) goal of being self-sufficient for 72 hours” or “my goal is to ‘weather’ a severe storm that requires me to relocate my family 200 miles inland and survive for two weeks.”
- What you need to survive. Develop the knowledge you’ll need to survive.
- Turn planning into action.
- Turn knowledge into skills. Knowledge (part of Know) is knowing how to do something, a skill (part of Do) is being able to successfully put your knowledge into practice. For example: you may ‘know’ how a bow drill is used to make a fire but until you practice it successfully you don’t have the skill to ‘do’ it. Don’t worry, this is a skill that you can be prepared without…might be fun to try though.
- Develop and work your plan to become more self reliant…in support of your goal(s).
- Improve and maintain your physical fitness. The healthier and more physically fit you are the better your body can handle stress.
- Remember that preparedness is a journey…once you ‘know’ your goal don’t get overwhelmed, just keep ‘doing’ the things you need to do in order to reach your goal…and eventually you will.
Fear of the unknown is one of the most powerful emotions that human beings experience and fear of the unknowns of preparedness are no different. Follow these three steps and you’ll be well on your way to banishing your fear of preparedness.