These days, it is easy to go about our business of survival and preparedness without stopping to think about the rules of engagement. For most of us, these rules are not written and are not spoken, but are just something that has evolved over a period of time.
As I have expressed many times in the past, the burden of knowledge – or perhaps I should say the burden of truth – can be a huge weight to bear. That, coupled with the crazy busy task of life during these hard times, can be overwhelming. Getting up each day, going to work, doing chores, balancing the checkbook, taking care of family members – it is all a big job but add prepping and learning survival skills to the mix and you have a recipe for exhaustion and perhaps even a bit of depression and gloom.
To help overcome my own dizzying sense of having to much too do and too much to prepare for, I sat down a couple of nights ago and attempted to put my own rules for survival in to words. I am calling them the 10 commandments of survival and they bring focus and meaning to preparing for hard times.
10 Commandments for Survival
Commandment #1: Have the will to live no matter what.
Reading about the recent passing Aaron Swartz touched me in an inexplicable way. He was so young and so bright and appeared to be doing much to further the spread of truth.
Having the will to live requires a strong sense of self-preservation and is something we must all work at on a daily basis. To fall into despondency will sabotage our efforts to prepare for that time when supplies are short, when chaos rules the streets or when economic collapse has bankrupt the world.
Now I am not saying that any or all of these things will happen. But on my own risk-meter, these things are right there at the top along with a regional natural disaster such as an earthquake. The only question is when.
Commandment #2: Be self-sufficient and self-reliant without wanting or needing excessive government assistance.
This goes without saying. When chaos reigns the land or a natural disaster strikes, we need to do our darnedest to take care of ourselves. We need to have our own food, our own source of clean, purified water, our own medical supplies and most important, a robust skill set that will allow us to live quite comfortably without electricity or petroleum products.
There will still be a need for government assistance but that assistance should go to those that are truly needy through no fault of their own. That includes the wounded, the sick, the working poor, the elderly and the disabled. This may be a pipe dream but in my sense of right and wrong, taking care of the truly needy is something that governments should do provided that these same people have gone as far as they can to take of themselves.
Commandment #3: Seek knowledge as a solution to problems.
There are so many free or almost free credible sources of information these days that the tough part is just that: determining who is credible and who is not. Luckily, it is pretty easy to and vet the reliable members of the alternative press. These brace reports attempt to tell the news without fear-mongering and without getting you to spend money (unless you want to of course).
But before seeking knowledge as a solution, some effort has to be put into both identifying and prioritizing of the problems at hand. And how many people really do that? Why not identity five or six problems and find good solid solutions to those before moving on to the next group?
Furthermore, while we still have a reliable power grid, download free e-books or visit survival and homesteading websites to pick up skills. Take advantage of the wealth of DIY information at your local library for free. Learn do it yourself skills then continue to practice and to drill and to learn some more. Turn problems into solutions by using knowledge as your tool.
Commandment #4: Adapt to the surroundings, wherever they may be.
As comfortable as we may be in our homes, the time may come when you have to leave. It may get destroyed in a natural disaster such as a hurricane, flood or earthquake. Or, due to the woes of the economy and unexpected unemployment, you may have to sell the four bedroom ranch house and move to a modest important.
The house you live is built of sticks and cement and bricks and mortar. Your home, on the other hand, is where ever you happen to live and if you are lucky, where you are surrounded by loved ones, even if they are the four legged type.
Learning to adapt to your surroundings – the people, the geography and social milieu – will allow you to embrace change as an adventure even when the causative circumstances may not be pleasant. And that all translates in to less stress.
Commandment #5: Embrace decisiveness as a core value.
Making a decision when the choices are poor to begin with leads to complacency and even worse, doing nothing. On the other hand, making a decision and then pursuing that decision with decisiveness and gusto will likely lead to positive results. Sure, the result may not be perfect, but the willingness to make decisions, even in the face of uncertainty, means you are taking responsibility for your actions and for the outcome of your decision.
And right or wrong, you will learn from the experience. Doing nothing is simply not acceptable.
Commandment #6: Channel fear into positive actions.
Being fearful and running scared is what the PTB wants you to do. Fear translates into submission and submission results in being controlled. Add a bit of brainwashing and the result starts to sound like Hitler’s Germany.
A good way to avoid fear is to be prepared to fend for yourself in all types of situations.
Go back and analyze the most likely risks within your sphere of life and prepare for those first. Go back to commandment #3 and seek knowledge as a solution to problems. Take control of fear by channeling your energy into positive actions.
Commandment #7: Defend your right to freedom and the tenets of the US Constitution.
Embrace freedom and defend your right to liberty. What is liberty? How about:
- The power to do as one pleases
- Freedom from physical restraint
- Freedom from arbitrary or despotic control
- The positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges
- The power of choice
We currently live in a world of airport pat downs, forced healthcare, mandatory vaccinations, and the unauthorized surveillance of our whereabouts and our communications. Soon we may lose our right to bear arms and defend ourselves.
Don’t give up your rights without a fight. And don’t be so afraid of the power elites that you fail to speak up to defend those rights. Some people will cower and hide. Instead, why not band with like-minded people and make your voice heard. If we don’t do it, who will?
Commandment #8: Respect others and their right to privacy.
Notwithstanding #7, everyone has the right to their opinion and their right to privacy. There are some things that some people simply do not want to talk about or share. Move on and respect their privacy. The time will come when your will want them to respect yours.
Commandment #9: Pursue love and laughter on a daily basis.
We all need a break because truly, it is all too much these days. Call it down time, call it personal time. Whatever the name, love a little and laugh a little each and every day.
Love and laughter are a big part of living a strategic life and so as difficult as it may be, take ten minutes or take an hour but do take some time each day to embrace survival in this most essential manner.
Commandment #10: Be authentic and real to yourself and to those around you.
One reason kids matter is that they are not spoiled by life. When they are very young, they only know truth and not deceit and lies.
When things are not going well, it is easy to pretend and fantasize that things are different. There is nothing wrong with that as long that you know in your heart of hearts that reality is quite different. You cannot make reasonable, practical and viable decisions based upon myth. You need facts. To survive, you need to acknowledge these facts and accept the truth.
Truth will lead to trust, and trusting your decisions is paramount to have other trust you as well. To be real means to be true to yourself regardless what others think. And without being real, the other commandments just don’t matter.
The Final Word
These 10 commandments of survival were set down to help me cope with my own anxiety and sense of uncertainty about our future as citizens of the world. As a prepper, I know I cannot prepare for every single one of our global problems nor can I prevent Mother Nature for doing what she is going to do if and when the time comes.
At best, all I can do is to continue to learn to be self-reliant and independent so that I can keep my sanity and my ability to think rationally under check. Some days it is difficult and so I will keep looking at these 10 commandments and will continue think of ways that I can do more. At the end of the day, that is all I can do.
The world is scary right now but I can’t help but think that the worst is yet to some. Sadly it is not a matter of if, but a matter of when.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: Preparing for hard times requires so much stuff. Just where do you start? How do you know whether what you have will do the job? I always like to recommend that you start by taking inventory of what you already have on hand. Check your closets and cupboards and don’t forget to dig out that old camping gear to see what might still be usable.
And then? How about these five items that were the most popular purchases by Backdoor Survival readers in 2012. Listed in order:
1. Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets (Pack of 10): This was the #1 item. For less than $10, these thermal blankets provide compact emergency protection in all weather conditions.
2. Streamlight Nano Light Miniature Keychain LED Flashlight: You know how I love my little flashlight. I have ad mine for over a year and it is still going strong. About $7.
3. Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets: Another inexpensive basic for your bug out bag and your home. Water treatment tabs won’t improve the taste but they will make your water safe to drink.
4. Kershaw OSO Sweet Knife: You can’t beat a Kershaw knife for quality at a reasonable price point. Typically under $23, this knife will become your favorite for every day carry. And that includes the ladies, too.
5. Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener: I wrote about this is in the article The Easy Way to Sharpen a Knife Without Spending a Lot of Money. It sharpens everything from pocket knives to kitchen blades. Portable and easy to use and for about $8.
Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials: The monthly specials at Emergency Essentials feature discounts of up to 35% off sometimes a bit more.
I eat a lot of fruit (usually three whole fruits a night as a bedtime snack) and in a SHTF situation, fruits will be something I will really miss. The Freeze-Dried Fruit Favorites Combo from Emergency Essentials is something I use all year round. With the grocery store a 20 mile round trip journey, I like the thought of being able to rehydrate my own fruit, in the quantity I want, at a moments notice.
The selection includes Apple Dices, Bananas, Peaches, Pineapple Dices, Blueberries and Strawberries.
But not to be left out, there are veggies too. The deluxe supply of Freeze Dried Vegetables includes 18 #10 tins of the following veggies in various quantities: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Sweet Corn, Green Beans, Green Peppers, Green Peas, Mushrooms, Potato Dices, Spinach, and White Onions.
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11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life: This little book will provide you with the motivation to get started or stay on track with a self-reliant life. 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life, co-authored with my long time pal, George Ure (www.urbandsurvival.com), and can purchased from Amazon.
Shelf Reliance Virtual Party: Are you a fan of Shelf Reliance and Thrive products? Backdoor Survival hosts a virtual, online Shelf Reliance party with discounted party prices and some special packages not normally found at the Shelf Reliance site.
As a matter of fact, all of the packages you see available at Costco.com are available at my party and at better prices too!