This article was originally published by Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper
For some people, preparedness is about the big things: the well-stocked retreat home, buying yet another firearm, or getting a super-fancy generator. While these things can certainly be classified as preparedness endeavors, it isn’t the expensive and dramatic gestures that make us truly prepared people.
The way prepared people spend their time before an emergency is the real key to survival, and this is something that no amount of money can buy.
It’s the small daily habits that become an innate part of our everyday lives – habits that may not even be noticeable to someone outside the lifestyle.
Real preppers, the ones you should look to for advice if you happen to be new to preparedness, are the ones who quietly conduct their daily lives with an eye towards readiness. Not only are these the qualities you should strive for yourself, but they are also the qualities that can help you to determine whether someone is the “real deal” or an armchair survivalist.
#1: Prepared people think beyond “Plan A”
Anytime one disaster occurs, several others are bound to follow closely in their wake. One of the most dramatic examples of this was the tsunami that followed closely on the heels of the 2011 earthquake in Japan, resulting in one of the most horrific nuclear disasters in the history of the world.
But it doesn’t have to be on such an epic scale to qualify. No matter how excellent your survival plan is, if things go awry you must immediately be able to accept that monkey wrench and adapt your plan to it.
Prepared people understand that even the most perfect plans can go wrong, and they are willing to abandon it and act on the fluid situation at hand.
#2: Prepared people react calmly.
Panic kills. When something terrifying happens, if your reaction is to freeze or to run around like a chicken with your head cut off, you’re probably going to die unless Lady Luck steps in and saves you through no action of your own.
Panic can show itself in two ways. For example, during the King Fire, a massive forest fire that burned over 97,000 acres of California wilderness, we witnessed some very visible panic in some of our neighbors.
When we got the first evacuation alert (a notice that evacuation was highly likely within the next 24 hours), a woman who lived down the street was wailing and sobbing as her husband tried to pack up their vehicle. She was rendered absolutely useless by fear.
Alternatively, panic can manifest in the inability to act. In psychology circles, completely freezing is called “tonic immobility”. This is a biological impulse related to an overload of stimuli due to extreme stress. It can also show itself in as an irrational sense of calmness as the brain denies the reality that a horrible event is truly happening. In her book, The Unthinkable, Amanda Ripley wrote about the cognitive dissonance experienced by some in the World Trade Center on 9/11.
The story that stands out in my mind the most was the one about the people in the World Trade Center on September 11. They described the last time they saw some of their coworkers. There were many people who simply could not accept the fact that a plane had crashed into the building and that they must immediately evacuate. They gathered their belongs, tidied their desks, finished reports. They didn’t feel the same sense of urgency that those who survived did, because the situation was so horrible that they just couldn’t accept it. Their inability to accept the scope of the danger caused many of them to perish in a tragic incident that other people, who acted immediately, survived. (source)
You can enhance this ability to accept events and act calmly by thinking through possibilities ahead of time and considering courses of action while your pounding heart is not pumping vast amounts of adrenaline through your veins.
Prepared people know that the ability to calmly accept the event, make a speedy plan, and then act on that plan is the key to survival.
#3: Prepared people are critical thinkers.
Thinking critically is an important skill. Those who passively accept everything they see on the TV news are missing the concept of propaganda. Six enormous corporations control just about everything seen on mainstream television. Through this control, they can promote their own desired agendas by putting their own spins on events. They can influence how the American people think about guns, about our nation’s enemies, and about the food we eat. It’s vital to think about how these corporations earn money – through advertising dollars. Will they really show the truth if it negatively affects their advertisers?
The same is true of nearly any situation. The “truth” presented is most often the “truth” that benefits the presenter.
Prepared people are able to assess the information provided to them and distinguish the difference between facts and manipulations. They keep up with current events, but strive to separate the reality of the event from the opinions of the broadcasters.
#4: Prepared people carry a kit with them everywhere, every day.
If you don’t have a basic everyday carry kit, you can’t consider yourself to be a prepared person. I personally carry the basics for fire, water, and safety in my purse at all times. I also have an extensive emergency kit stashed away in my vehicle for times that I am far from home.
Prepared people know that disasters don’t usually give warnings, so it’s necessary to have a few basics on hand at all times. Here are some ideas for gifts to enhance day to day preparedness and here is an article that gives the basics of an EDC kit.
#5: Prepared people are MacGuyvers.
People who are prepared don’t really solely on tools and preps though. They rely on a mindset that allows them to create what they need from what they have on hand.
Being able to work with what you have and develop solutions is a vital skill for preppers. Here are some tips on enhancing your make-shift engineering skills. As well, Jim Cobb’s new book, Prepper Survival Hacks, is a great way to develop that mindset if you are new to this line of thinking.
Prepared people are creative problem solvers who enjoy challenges to their skills.
#6: Prepared people live a skills-based lifestyle.
It isn’t enough to just plan. You have to have the ability to execute that plan. And the only way to know that you have that ability is to make the skills a part of your day to day life. Here’s an example. I recently moved to a farm to begin homesteading and discovered (the hard way) that my successful backyard gardens did not make me an instant self-sufficient homestead farmer. How many preppers do you know that stock seeds instead of food or say that they’re just going to “live off the land” when it all hits the fan? While it’s entirely possible to do this successfully, it takes a lot of practice and a substantial amount of time building a foundation to make this a viable plan.
But it isn’t just homesteading that people mistakenly assume will be an easy survival plan. If it’s part of your plan, you must work at it now. You have to practice skills like marksmanship – we put some ammo downrange every single weekend without fail. You have to practice skills like hunting if your plan is to provide meat for your family this way. You have to practice preserving the food that you raise or acquire if you intend to eat in the winter.
Prepared people practice what they plan. They focus on productive hobbies and live a skills-based lifestyle that is closely related to their SHTF plan.
#7: Prepared people are physically active.
Prepared people generally work some kind of fitness into their day-to-day lives. They work a physical job, they walk or jog, they go to the gym, and they don’t sit at a desk for 8 hours, only to relocate to a couch until bedtime.
I occasionally teach introductory preparedness classes in my area. Every single time, someone from the city tells me their plan is to hike to Lake Tahoe because of all of the water there.
It’s a pain in the neck to drive to Lake Tahoe, let alone walk there. Don’t let the 30-40 mile distance fool you. When hauling a 60 pound pack through the mountains, that 30 miles might as well be 300 miles, especially if this is not the type of thing you normally do. If your last walk was through the potato chip aisle at the grocery store, bugging out on foot through the mountains is probably not going to be a viable plan.
Moving more in your day to day life is a great way to gently break your body into a more active lifestyle. Just walking daily can make a world of difference to your fitness level.
#8: Prepared people require purchases to be multi-purpose.
Most of us do not have unlimited storage space, and we have a lot of things we want to store. For this reason, we tend to pass on the “one-hit-wonders” unless they are truly remarkable. We have supplies that will serve more than one purpose. Our pantry basics can be used to make cleaning supplies. We stock large amounts of items like vinegar, duct tape, and baking soda. Our tools are versatile instead of narrowly specialized.
Prepared people seek out high quality products that multitask and limit purchases that only serve on purpose.
#9: Prepared people are not wasteful.
How far can you stretch your leftovers? What kinds of things do you reuse that others simply throw away? The ability to make one’s supplies last for as long as possible isn’t something that just appears overnight.If your friends think you’re a “cheapskate” you’ve probably got this habit nailed down. (Check here to see if any of these signs apply to you.)
Prepared people live frugal, non-wasteful lives now, and they’ll be far better suited to make things last later. One day, a situation could arise in which the supplies we have are very limited.
#10: Prepared people practice situational awareness.
Over the past few years, we’ve heart about all sorts of incidents of mass violence, both in the US and abroad. Practicing situational awareness at all times is a habit that helps you to instinctively assess the baseline of normal for your location, and in turn, notice early on if something just isn’t right. This helps you to react more quickly if a threat occurs, and often those brief seconds can be essential.
Prepared people spend time participating in activities that enhance their situational awareness. My kids and I used to play a “game” of identifying exits when we went to new places. You can channel author Rudyard Kipling and teach your kids “Kim’s Game” to increase their observational skills. (Learn more about it here.)
What are some other habits for preppers?
Preparedness is not some finite goal that is achieved when you have amassed a certain amount of beans and bullets. It’s something that is an ingrained part of your personality. Our habits become such a natural part of us that we don’t have to think about them when we find ourselves in the midst of an emergency. The way you live your day-to-day life is the real key to survival, and this is something that no amount of money can buy.
Do you have any habits that you feel enhance your preparedness? Share them in the comments below.
The author mentions in the #2 section,
“Panic kills”. That should be #1.
I’ll use an example
I’m a certified SCUBA diver.
Most of what they teach you is
don’t panic because panic will
certainly kill you.
Military taught me the
That isn’t to say I haven’t been
scared shi tless from my mistakes or
the fates, but you work through it.
I don’t give all credit to PADI or
the military, but mostly to parents,
family, and friends that
raised me to be independent, free,
how to fight, and forced me to deal
with life’s problems.
Preparation starts at birth.
Biggest lesson is don’t panic.
Kekexili Mountain Patrol is a good movie. It fills me with wanderlust.
Go cave diving. You’ll panic.
Be able to focus emotional indifference. Be able to de-polarize when needed.
If you are always fuzzy-wuzzy, or get pissed-off too easily, you are unable to think rationally.
Also remember the OODA Loop: Observe-Oreient-Decide-Act.
We are always doing this anyway, but generally reactively, instead of proactively.
When something happens, I usually have an Oh-crap moment but then quickly move on to what you call the OODA Loop. Never knew it had a name but glad to know it.
Any and every event is always about our mindset our skill sets, as well as physical capabilities !
All of the list was accurate and could be easily condensed to the 3 above. Frugal and practical is a given in everything as well. Far better to train with minimums than maximums.
I dove out there off of Maui, Cathedral and a drift dive.. Seems Hawaii is way over fished, because all the sea life and fish were small.
I did a Smoke divers class when on a Fire Dept. How about a mask and tank and crawl through an obstacle course of mattress springs, holes you had to take your tank off and push it through then crawl through then put your tank back on and follow the hose line back through the rest of the course. We timed ourselves every day, we got faster and more proficient, learning new skills, and wow what a confidence builder and learning how to manage in tight spots while through a fire obstacle course. Tying rescue knots in the dark and pulling people out of holes entirely in the dark. Scuba diving was a natural for me as I was a Competitive swimmer in HS and college and breathing techniques and experience with FF tanks and breathing its a fun time. I’ve been down 175 Ft on regular air down in Cozumel. Huge sea life down there. 30 Ft moray eels. 6-6′ Goliath Groupers.
I speared a grouper down in the Dry Tortugas west of Key west one time, and had a 10 Ft shark come up on me. I managed to get me and my fish out of the water and back on the boat, without incident. It was surreal.
When the fourty fathom line is only 200 yards offshore there isn’t any place for fish to grow big.
We hit our target.
And we don’t use Farcebook.
I don’t do it daily but I often will run through the woods wearing my body armor and carrying a rifle and pack so the feeling and weight is not alien to me when I must do it.
#3 is BS. I would say maybe 20% are critical thinkers if that. The rest support all kinds of detrimental to themselves and the country BS.
Preppers carry guns at a minimum in their vehicles if not on their bodies. Preppers make multiple bug out locations with caches. Preppers can shoot a 1 inch group at 200 yards. Preppers know how to improvise IED’s and booby traps. Preppers can trap animals and hunt. Preppers can make shelters. Preppers can reload. Preppers can make defensive plans. Preppers can make offensive plans. Preppers can make improvised repairs. Preppers can do 100’s of things the average city moron cannot!
a country boy can survive!!
A one inch group at 200 yards is 1/2 moa.
That would require a high precision rifle (precision target rifle, not something you leave banging around in your truck) with high accuracy (custom) ammo and a very competitive target shooter to use it.
It’s more realistic to aim for a 6 inch group at 200 yards with any normal sight arrangement than a 1″ group, and even that isn’t going to be easy to master (remember that a “group” has to be the maximum spread of all your shots, not just some of them).
Anon, I do it with a factory rifle I accurized myself. Ya it’s from a bench rest but I load all my own match ammo and have a good 1/10 milrad scope. In fact I have a couple of other factory rifles I accurized and make rifle specific match ammo for that will do it too. You don’t just buy a cheapo rifle and a tasco scope and factory ammo and expect good accuracy. 6 inch group? That is 500 yards in my world. I have my own private 800 yard range and use it. Wind is the main issue but I am learning compensation and doing well. Practice and consistency are KING!
Here is a suggestion for long range affordable rifle…
Howa 1500 in .300 winmag. Glass bed the action, the rifle comes free floated and a hogue rubberized stock. It also has a hammer forged barrel. Shoot about 50 rounds through it then have it cryo treated and put on an SWFA SS fixed power 1/10 milrad adjustment scope with swfa ss scope rings (6 screws per ring). Level the reticle with a good reticle leveler and install a scope level (bubble type). Load your own ammo (pre fired brass and neck sized only). Use Hogdon H-1000 powder with winchester primers and Barnes 175gr. matchburner bullets. Load them to .005 inch shorter than what it takes to hit the rifling. Total cost is about 1200 bucks. If you can’t make a 1 inch group at 200 then you SUCK!
waxing crescent moon , outside temp 29° wind speed 15 mph no NOD, no headlamp.
who wants to run a CBRNE evacuation drill?
yep thats what i thought
Well git er done! Why wait for us? I can drive out of here with night vision can you? I have several places to go also, do you? Our vehicles are ALL stocked is yours? Yup, that’s what I thought…
Already got er done on the 6th, 7th,and 8th.
The moon is waxing gibbuous tonight
Genius<<<< puts a sticky gold star on yer forehead!
don’t make me knock you honyock’s heads together! LOL…..
First mistake is letting anyone know you have anything. Country folks think they are tuff and can handle themselves. This is a huge underestimation of urban people. There are niggas that will murder you for $10 out there right now and it’s not shtf yet. If they will kill you for peanuts and there is rule of law. Whaddaya think they will do once they know the police aren’t coming. Not trying to put down efforts to be prepared.
i just finished a 23 mile bicycle ride in the dark @ about 40*…..does that make me qualified?…..i like this list, and i am for the most part compliant. if y’all aint got these skills and you want to get on the fast-track, become a boy scout leader, get on your local CERT team, take some medical classes, try some automotive classes at your local college…..walk, run, or better yet, ride a bike every day, and go longer and longer every few days….push yourself away from the table a lil sooner…..oh, and learn how to drive off-road in a club…..you’ll learn a lot more that way….
one lesson my scouts learn every time we camp….you might KNOW you can do sumthin’, but actually DOING it isn’t a guarantee……that’s why we play the game….
Obesity kills. You are your worse enemy.
You need to be able to walk, run, crawl, carry a load for 30 miles minimum. Ideally you should be able to walk 3 days without sleep, little rest, with a medium heavy load on your back.
When you can do that. Then you are in ok shape.
In a crises many people die not from the event but from the exhertion.
Many Firefighters have heart attacks. Seen it. Lost my friends. Last one was a guy that went to gym 3 days a week. But in the heat and exhertion of California brush fires. He sadly died. 45 years old and dead.
I believe dehydration kills many people. Cops often shoot people because the people are incoherent due to medical conditions. It is not that they are violent or criminals. It is because people act crazy when dehydrated. Some drunks are very dehydrated.
I do not understand why these cops have no tools or skills other than beating and murdering? It is almost like no one but a sadistic psycho path chooses to be a cop? A normal person would only shoot as a LAST resort. Cops shoot as FIRST and only option. Why is that? Is it that they are scared cowards? Afraid to get in a physical confrontation?
I grew up with eight older brothers. We beat the hell out of each other often. Usually just because. No particular reason required. Late Teenage years we stopped fighting, because we started really hurting each other, requiring hospital.
That caused Mom put an end to it. No one was tougher than Mom.
I can handle situations enough to at least escape and run if out numbered. Physical fights never frightened me. Maybe because of how I grew up? My brothers kicked my ass until I was a teen. Then I got some payback.
Cops just seem to blow people away without rhyme or reason? If there are four cops and one troubled guy. Even if the guy is violent. Why can’t cops get a little dirty, put someone down and in cuffs without murder as their only option? Do you know answer to this?
Are the cops cowards?
Are the cops psycho paths that just want to kill?
Or is it because Police know there is no accountability for murdering American citizens?
And why is any of this allowed by the general public?
Why aren’t the politicians held accountable?
Nightly news has accounts of cops murdering people on near constant basis. The victims are usually unarmed. Why isn’t anyone held accountable?
I think I’ll move to a less violent country. Any suggestions would be appreciated?
Japan seems like an option? Was stationed there. I never had problems. Police there usually helpful if you get lost or confused about train stations. I never heard of Police in Japan murdering their own people? I also like the food. But city is expensive for place. And damn small.
Any states or cities in US that aren’t violent? Any other suggestions for country? Thank you.
Try China. They keep the overbearing population in check. If you want to be free (which I doubt by your posts) your out of luck…. Violence is a neccessity in humanity, there is no escaping it. Sterilize yourself and save the planet.
Never try to teach a Pig to ride a bicycle.
It frustrates both you and the Pig.
….and lipstick and rouge on a Pig is still just a pig.
Polish a turd… still a turd.
Mankind will learn that violence is NOT necessary or humans/politicians will DESTROY all of human progress and civilization.
as always, you got some very good points, anon!
Old Daisy forgot the most important number 11:
Worship at the feet of the Great Satan, Jeff Bezos, and order Chinese made garbage from Amazon.
Im in tune with much of that. And thought of as crazy by everyone else. Which is why I dont talk to anyone anymore about it. I live rural, few people out here want anything to do with anyone else. Especially the ones moving here from the city putting big fences around their yard. Some are only a mile away. Call them a neighbor and they look at you funny. They all think they are 1 man bands. I have 2 friends that are lifelong here, we are all 1 mile apart and form a triangle. We could turn that area into a real ****storm if we have to.
i love how some gush about the “friendly country people”. well, that’s all fine and dandy as a visitor. but when someone at the gas station learns you’re not just continuing onwards to the lake country or such, that you’re moving there: they become a bit more reserved because they realise “i’m going to see this person every day for the next thirty years”.
rural small towns are basically families of X hundred people. whether you’re part of that family or not, they’ll know every detail of your business and TELL you their thoughts about it. that’s why people from smaller towns typically drive the next county over to take care of banking, medical, etc. cos they don’t want their life to be quite *that* open of a book.
“i saw Helen’s car at Mountain Glen Plaza. and she wasn’t at the foot doctor!”
If you don’t pass it on, as your mentors did to you, then what have you gained? Nothing.
If you didn’t acquire the skills of using multiple modalities to educate others, then you are essentially a selfish creep. Sure you survived…so what?
What you are supposed to do?
What are the signs to come?
How to prepare?
What will happen to those who waste the precious blessings and responsibilities given by Yahweh?
What is required of you who believe?
If you only read Matthew, you could spiritually prepare. You could do that in less than an hour but a lifetime to understand.
I don’t give a rats ass about whether humanity survives or not. Humanity is a death sentence to this planet, that should be obvious. I just prep so me and my wife and 4 legged kids have the longest term survival. After that, humanity can FO! How’s that for reality? Why perpetuate a retarded, irresponsible, selfish, greedy, resource consuming, contaminating, asshole species? I bet you have no realistic answer….
I do have an answer. It is exactly what I wrote that you felt compelled to respond to. Now figure out what that means and the implications.
#11: A Prepared Person always has 3 flashlights (even if small, like AAA powered ones) on their person at all times.
Otherwise when they cut the power (and they will) you will be rendered powerless.
– the Lone Ranger
For 15 years, I had a small pack I kept at work for emergency use, plus a full backpack in my vehicle. The small pack had essential tools and supplies including a knife and a flashlight, compass, even food.
Believe it or not, back then guys and some ladies routinely brought firearms to work, and you couldn’t bring them in to the parking lot(as it violate company rules), but the security guards would allow you leave them at the guard shack. That meant anyone could effectively be armed at all times. At any one time there were lots of handguns and deer rifles there.
This would never fly today, but back then most guys drove pickups with gun racks as almost every guy was a hunter. Of course back then, companies were very conservative and the security guards were almost all veterans and some were former LEOs. Of course it is very redneck here even in the cities.
I would say just every guy in my department was an NRA member as well. Times have really changed.
“Be Prepared” is the Boy Scout Motto..
I keep a a case of 25 Year Shelf Life Nitrogen packed storage food in my Long Term Storage . It expired 12 years ago. I keep it on hand as proof Preparedness is a Life Long Endeavor.
I learned a few things and now store food we consume all the time so the expiration date will only commence upon TEOTWAWKI.
Look to the Staples from Central and South America.. a lot going for them..Low costs when purchased in bulk.. Under Controlled conditions those food stuffs can be preserved for an exceedingly long period of time with minimal efforts.
Big thing.. Pick and pack your own..
7 years is the Standard
You never know WHEN disaster or collapse will strike. You can have the best of intentions, but if you are at work and you do not have your barebones gear, you are screwed. Why do you think the drill instructor would chew you a new butthole when your gear was out of place and not in perfect order?
This means when you are at school, at work, at church, commuting,you still should have basic gear ie a get home bag. In earthquake zones, if the highways are blocked and the bridges collapse, you might have to get past the river lowlands to get home…on foot…or even be forced to make a raft or tread water using improvised floatation devices.
Don’t be the prepper who is stranded at work when your family needs you. If you are dumb and are a city prepper, and your neighbors know you and your family are preppers, and you are gone, then they are targets.
Inside your home, your gear should be organized ESPECIALLY MEDICAL GEAR.Seconds count and not being able to find stuff because everything is haphazardly tossed in a bag is very inadequate. Label bins with checklists so that when stuff is used, it’s reordered. Then if you are at work, and your teenaged kids are at home, then they know where everything is.
If both you and your wife work, it’s possibly you might have to rescue your wife in one location and the kids at home or school. The kids cannot have many survival items at school if they overtly look like them, but your wife can discretely have a small essential pack of gear and a get home pack in her vehicle. That way, you know they can make it until you can rescue them.
You really should have a SOP for what to do in emergencies otherwise you could make a rescue attempt for your wife and she makes it home. Expect chaos and Murphy’s Law.