14 Lessons I've Learned About Survival

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by M.D. Creekmore: A
Guide to Survival Food Storage in Ten Easy Steps

 

 
 

In early 1988
I first heard the word survivalist from my then girlfriends father
when he gave me several books related to survival including back
issues of Kurt
Saxons
now defunct The
Survivor
newsletter.

Within two
days I’d started my food
storage program
(25 lbs of dried beans) since that time I’ve
manageged to build my preps up to an acceptable level (despite having
to start over more than once) but along the way there have been
many challenges and I’ve learned from each, so today I thought I’d
create a list of 14 things, I wish someone had told me in when I
started.

1. You Can’t
Do It All At Once

This is a mistake
that I, and I’m sure many others have made when starting out, we
want to get it all done — yesterday. You run around all frantic,
shaking and scatter brained determined to become prepared for a
major disaster within a week of starting. But all you end up doing
is wasting money and time. Relax, make a plan and work toward your
goals and you’ll get there sooner than you think.

2. You Don’t
Have To Be Rich

By reading
some survival blogs (know who you are) and books you get the expression
that you need to spend $100,000 to reach a suitable level of preparedness.
Unfortunately, this causes many to give up before they start. You
don’t have to prep like the rich — you just need to prep
smart
.

3. Make Your
Own Plan

No two survival
plans will be exactly the same – granted there will be some
semblance but each will have to be different to meet the needs of
the individual. For example, I often suggest wheat
as the backbone of the survival
food storage
plan but a small percent of the population are
allergic to wheat and will need to store other foods in equal or
greater value. You need to take a long look at your location, skills
and needs and plan accordingly. Make your
own plan
.

4. Preparedness
Isn’t Measured By How Many Guns You Have

I’m sure many
of you have made this mistake. When I started prepping I worried
more about finding the perfect survival gun and building a battery
than building my other survival preps. Guns are fun and it is easy
to get lost in the appeal just don’t let other areas of you preps
suffer while you try to build your dream
arsenal
.

5. Skills
Are More Important Than Gear

We’ve all heard
the expression "he who dies with the most toys wins,"
I’m still trying to figure out what the winning prize is. I have
nothing against using the latest technology and gear — just don’t
depend on it. Things break, get lost, stolen or don’t work as intended.
Your most important piece of survival
gear
is your brain — learning
survival skills
should be your number one priority.

6. You’re
Not Rambo

Most of the
Rambo
want to be’s won’t last long. Many new survivors fall into
what I call the Rambo mind-set, they can’t wait for the collapse
and breakdown of law and order, then they will take to the woods
and engage in one firefight after another. They see themselves as
the ultimate killing machine taking down the bad guys in a burst
of gunfire.

7. Get A Life

Preparedness
is a serious business and it is easy to become obsessed — don’t
do it. I love learning new skills, reading survival
books
and planning for different possibilities and all this
takes a lot of time, but I’ve learned that unless I take time off
the rest of my life tends to fall apart. Go see a movie, spend time
with family and relax. Then when you come back to all this you will
do so with a fresh and rested mind which will allow you to get more
done and make fewer mistakes. The key is balance.

8. Don’t Just
Read About How To Do Things

Most books
on survival and self-reliance are never read or used. They are bought,
flipped through and put away — never tested or learned from. This
is a mistake. Read the books, study and try it for yourself. This
is the only way to learn and know what actually works.

9. Have A
Backup Plan

When I started
prepping I thought all I needed to be prepared was a full pantry.
We have all heard the warning “don’t put all your eggs in the same
basket” this is good advice in life as well as in survival planning.
To many things can go wrong and probably will. You need a back
up plan
, which brings us to our next point…

10. Remember
The Number Three

You need to
have at least three independent sources to meet all of your essential
survival needs. Let’s take for heat, you could have a wood stove,
propane heater and cold weather sleeping bags. Power might consist
of a back up generator, small solar set-up and a stockpile of disposable
batteries. Food could include in home food storage, home garden
and secret cache in a secure location a way from home.

11. Include
Your Family

If possible
get your family on board so your prepping becomes a family affair,
where you all can learn and spend time together. A family working
together toward their preparedness is the best survival group. For
example, take a first aid class, hunter safety course, self-defense
class, or shop course together. Try to make it fun, interesting
and include your family as much as possible.

12. Diversify
(learn different skills)

Diversification
ties in with number nine and ten above and the age-old advice of
not putting all your eggs in one basket. Learn as many survival
skills as possible. Being a master
gardener
for example is a great skill that can be made even
more efficient by also learning to keep
what you grow
. An expert
trapper
can increase their chance of survival by also learning
to find eatable
plants
. You get the idea.

13. Try To
Do Something Every Week

The “what did
you do to prep this week?” segment is included here to keep everyone
motivated toward this end. At one time my preps were random — one
week I would do a lot and the next two or three nothing. By setting
a goal of doing at least one thing each week you will meet your
goals earlier and be more efficient doing it.

14. Eat What
You Store

Most of us
have been guilty of this at one time or another, we fill our pantry
with unfamiliar foods, thinking we will adapt our diet "when
the time comes" but this is nonsense. You need to learn
to prepare
and use your storage foods now so they become familiar.
What are you waiting for get cooking…

Write your
own “lessons” list and let us know about it in comments below. If
you enjoy this list you might also like to subscribe
to my email updates
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on prepping and survival. Also, make sure you subscribe
to my RSS feed
!

November
26, 2010

M.D.
Creekmore [send
him mail
] is a full-time blogger and preparedness consultant.
He currently lives completely off-grid somewhere in the Appalachian
mountains and is currently working on his upcoming book The
Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat for Paladin Press. To connect with
M.D. Creekmore please visit his Survival
Blog
.

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