Think – Have A Plan – Be Prepared

To many of the contributors and/or readers here, the threats we’re facing seem pretty obvious.  Oh, we might quibble about how, when, or even whether such dangers might become acute or which might pose the greatest threat.

But, here at ARL, we’re generally on the same page about what we/you can (and should) do about it.  It all starts with the same first step:  Awareness.  If you’ve come to realize that some (or all) of your life is “out of control” or “missing something”, congratulations, you’ve just taken that first step. 

 #1:  Live Deliberately

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”              – Thoreau

 

Preparedness is not, at its core, the development of a “bunker mentality”.  It is, rather, more like “connecting the dots” in your life.  It has more to do with taking responsibility for the course of your life and not giving into carelessness and desperation.

Today, that may be more important than ever.  The world is becoming a very dangerous place.  Long-held assumptions about freedom, money, work, community – you name it – are being challenged on almost every front.  Many, if not most, of those around you are becoming almost numb to the rate of change they are facing.  Don’t let it happen to you.

To be sure, some of these changes could prove to be quite dire.  But, you can be sure that life, as it has always been, will be often difficult and fleeting, if not outright terrifying.   Reasonably enough, our advice is “to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”  The more you do to understand these challenges, the more you can do to influence your own circumstances.

Preparedness” or “Self-Reliance” (or whatever you might want to call it) really means:  “having a plan“.  Frankly, that’s good advice even in the best of times.  At its core, this is no more radical than Thoreau’s original premise: 

to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

 #2:  Be Good For Something

“Be not simply good – be good for something.” – Thoreau

It helps, of course, to understand why you’re on this planet in the first place and to be working steadily toward a worthwhile goal in your life.  For many, simply “getting by” and raising a family are all-consuming obligations.  

But, are you missing something?  If you’re just floating along, interested only in scratching the most persistent itches in your belly, well, it might be time to remember the lesson of the ant and the grasshopper.  Nobody really wants to be the ant – not all the time, at least.  But, let’s face it, winter will be a lot more fun if we incorporate a little seriousness of purpose in our lives and, perhaps, do a little advanced planning. 

 #3:  Get Real, Dude

And, speaking of the ant, what about some practical considerations.  We might begin here with a few broad cautionary guidelines:  

  • There are fates worse than death.
  • Don’t try to run, you’ll just die tired.
  • Even if you run out of other options, don’t, don’t, don’t, ever “go to the Superdome“.   

 

But, let’s get to the nitty-gritty.  The ideas presented below address certain primary “self-reliance” goals.  Keep reading below for more explanation and look to ARL’s Practical Solutions archive for more specific solutions. 

  1. Food –  Where ever you might live, learn to grow your own food and/or find a secure source for it.  Begin to store essentials.  (More articles here and links here,)
  2. Money –  Don’t count on your bank or retirement accounts to save you from hardship.  Have at least some of your savings in gold, silver, or other “hard assets”.  (More articles here and links here.)
  3. Debt – Any debt will limit your choices.  Get out of debt to the best of your ability.  Start with credit cards and other consumer debt.  Chip away at the mortgage.  Where possible, get them paid off and out of your life for good. (See “Money” articles and links above for more.)
  4. A Safe Place – Consider whether or not your community or your home would be safe in an emergency.  What sort of work and income sustain them?  How vulnerable are they to civil unrest, interupted power, water, or food supplies?  More specifically:
    1. Community – Bigger cities may have more “jobs”, but are they producing basic necessities or just paper?  What will your neighbors do when stressed?  How much crime is there even in the “good times”? Choose to live in a community where you can trust your neighbors and, if possible, there will always be some way to meet basic needs
    2. Your Home – Can your home provide you with basic sustenance in an emergency?  Water?  Heat? Food Production? Is it too large?  Too far from work?  Can it be improved?  Is it the source of debt that’s keeping you in an unsafe place? 
    3. Yourself – Do you have a plan?  Can you defend yourself or your family?  Will you panic in an emergency?  Take the time to think through basic “worst case” scenarios and make a plan.  Prepare your mind, your body, your outlook.
  5. Change Your Mind – Real progress is changing your mind when you discover that you’re on the wrong path.  If the world around you is providing clues that your assumptions are wrong, it may be time to change your mind and set off on a new course. 
    1. Don’t close the shutters of your mind just because you don’t want to think about the storm brewing out your window.  Consider the alternatives. 
    2. Do you really want to continue to rely on the systems of thought that created the storm to begin with?
    3. Wouldn’t you rather have a firm grasp on the Truth?  Wouldn’t you rather be ready, willing, and able to help yourself and those you care about? 
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