survival mindset 101

What is the survival/preparedness mindset?

Our mindset can either make us or break us. Our mind is the most important part of our preparedness. If our mind isn’t strong, then it doesn’t matter how much gear you have; you will perish because your mindset wasn’t strong enough to handle the situations that you’ll come across.

Having a preparedness mindset basically means to make sure that your mind is well trained for the stress that it’ll be under during an emergency or disaster.

How do I train my mind to handle emergencies and disasters?

1. Be aware. Meditation is a great habit to get into to help yourself be more self-aware and aware of your surroundings. Through meditation, you can understand your body better, you can understand how you react better and you have a better understanding of what’s going on around you. If meditation isn’t for you, then practice generally being more mindful of your actions and reactions. As well as being more mindful of every little detail that goes on around you. Look for exits, go to a coffee shop and people watch (but not in a stalker-y way, be casual) and really take a break from technology and notice the world around you. The more you practice self and situational awareness, the more it’ll become second nature.

2. Learn all the skills. Gear is great and I love gear, but we also need to know how to survive without the gear that we love. Get out every once and a while and challenge your mind to look outside of the gear that we’ve come to rely on. Go out for a day with just a knife and really think about how you could use just that knife to survive. Your mind will be opened up to the possibilities of adapting and overcoming. Never stop learning.

3. Train with your gear. Even though we need to think outside the box and get away from the gear that we love, since we’re preppers, we have gear that we love and prep with, so we need to train with that gear. Train with your gear as often as you can. Understand the gear like the back of your hand. Use your preps both at home and out on hiking and camping adventures.

4. Learn from failure. So many people don’t want to admit failure because they want to be as awesome as they perceive their heroes to be. But you know what? Your heroes struggled a lot before they became the badasses that you see today. I would even bet that they still struggle to this day. But you know what makes them badass? Realizing their mistakes, owning up to them and making themselves better by learning from their mistakes. Own up to your mistakes. Learn from them. Keep trying.

5. Don’t have a victim mindset. Saying things like “I can’t” is instant defeat. Your mind controls your actions. If you continually say “I can’t”, then you won’t! If you say, “I can” then you’ll find a way to make it work! Your words are powerful. There’s generally always a solution. Be positive, trust me, it works. Take a breath and think of the solution. Get out of your own way. Quit complaining, quit being the victim and take your life into your own hands. You CAN and you WILL survive! You’ll do whatever it takes to see tomorrow. Never give up! You’ll scratch and crawl your way to the top!

6. Get out of your comfort zone. If you live in a civilized community, you live in a bubble of comfort with a roof over your head, AC/heat at your fingertips, Netflix on demand and the internet at the flick of a wrist. There’s nothing wrong with that because we do live in a civilized society. Sure, many of us struggle from paycheck to paycheck, but just the fact that you have a job is still an advantage to others. What I’m getting at is, we’re comfortable. Go get out of your comfort zone. Go camping on the coldest night of the year. Go hiking in the rain. Make a fire with wet materials. Do something that scares you. If you’re not getting out of your comfort zone at least once a month then you’re not challenging yourself and forcing yourself to see what you’re really capable of. You are capable of so much and you won’t know just how much until you get out and try! It’s scary to get out of our comfort zones, I get it. But you must. Prove to yourself that you have what it takes to survive and get through the tough times!

7. Keep your mind open. It’s so frustrating when I hear people say, “you’re doing it wrong” when they’re literally not doing anything wrong, they’re just doing it differently. Maybe that’s not how YOU would do it, but if it got the same result with little to no extra effort, then what’s the problem? Keep your mind open to different thought processes and doing things differently or thinking differently. It’s okay to have a difference of opinion, I’m not saying you have to agree with everyone. I’m saying that it’s important to listen, because who knows, they could open your mind to a whole new way of thinking or show you something that you never would have considered before. Open your mind, think about it and make an informed decision as to whether it’s right for you or not.

8. Be flexible. If something doesn’t go your way, understand that sh*t happens. Move on. You’ll need to adapt and overcome quickly in an emergency or disaster so if you can’t be flexible in the changes of everyday life, then how can you be flexible with the ever-changing environment or an emergency or disaster?

9. Keep up morale. You will get stressed very quickly, so the best thing to do is to have some sort of morale item to keep your mind focused and your spirits up. It could be something as simple as gum, gum can keep my mind focused, it gives me something to do and it keeps my spirits up. It could also be a morale patch that has a saying on it that can pump you up to keep going. It could be a journal that helps to relieve some of the stressful thoughts in your mind. It could be a book. It could be playing cards. It could be a picture. Whatever it is, make sure that it’s something that can truly bring a smile to your face and keep your morale up. Times can get tough and you’ll need something to boost your spirits.

10. Be goal oriented and celebrate your goals. Having goals can help focus your mind. Let’s say you’re doing a 6 mile walk and you’re starting to get tired, give yourself mini goals to get through it. For example, “I’m going to take a break at that shade up there”. You reach the shade and you get to take a break, AKA, celebrate! Another example, give yourself a goal of getting 2 extra cans of food this week for your food storage. When you’ve accomplished it, celebrate it! They don’t have to be huge goals, in fact, the more attainable and realistic they are, the better! The more you accomplish the smaller goals, the easier it’ll be to accomplish the bigger goals. And in fact, with each smaller goal that you accomplish, you’ll be reaching your bigger goals. If you want to have 2 months’ worth of food supply, most people won’t buy that all at once, they’ll slowly accumulate it until they’ve reached their ultimate goal. Make goals, attainable goals that you know you’ll be able to accomplish. Celebrate each and every goal that you’ve completed, no matter how small or big.

The preparedness mindset is something that is ongoing. Don’t set out to do all of this at once, do one thing a week to train your mind to get stronger and be able to adapt and overcome whatever obstacle will come your way; both in everyday life and in emergencies and disasters.