The Dow dropped 666 points last week, the worst drop in 2 years.
We live in a world of hyper-uncertainty, with potential calamities around every corner. Who really knows what’s going to happen this week?
The only thing we know for sure is that, like the Boy Scouts, we should Be Prepared.
So this week I want to zoom in from the metaphysics of giving to a very practical, brass-tacks question:
- Are you prepared for whatever could happen?
Last week, we asked the question “What is TRUE wealth?” and we came to the conclusion that TRUE wealth is not only money, but also know-how. For instance:
- Do you know how to care for, feed and protect your family, in the event of a catastrophic infrastructure failure?
- What if the Russians knock out the U.S. electricity grid for 5 days?
- What if a superstorm like Harvey floods another major city, and the government fails to respond, again?
We’re on our own out there, folks. That is why it is so important for Fierce Gentleman to both be prepared, and to up-skill as much as possible in the practical skills that will allows us to protect and provide for our loved ones, and contribute to the safety and resilience of our communities.
THE SURVIVAL DECISION
A natural or man-made disaster could strike at anytime. Therefore, the most important components of disaster preparedness are:
- Having a plan
- Practicing the plan
- Communicating and re-communicating the plan to all involved
This how the military does it, it’s how the Red Cross does it, and it’s how I recommend you do it.
The irony is that “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” We create plans so that we have something to fall back on when the unexpected happens. But humans are wonderful at adapting on the fly and improvising. The more mental agility and flexibility you can cultivate before the fact, the better.
Gear is overrated (even though we’ll suggest gear below). Your mental stance, emotional resilience, and confidence that comes from having a well-rehearsed plan will get you through a lot more than a pack of waterproof matches.
The #1 key to surviving in difficult situations is simply the decision to survive. When there is a plane crash, a shipwreck, or a blizzard whiteout on a mountain and climbers get separated from their group, some die very quickly and others survive through hell and come out the other side stronger and more grateful. Why? The decision to survive drives the will to live. The human mind is an unstoppable force and an unbreakable power. If properly aligned, it can create miracles.
Make the decision to survive, in advance, right now. Make the decision to save the lives of your family and keep them all safe. This is the first and most important step to take.
The rest is just details. Here are some of them:
- Do you have emergency supplies (food, water, medical, defense) in your home and car for at least 72 hours?
- Are you in good health and physical condition overall?
- All dental work up to date?
- Extra medications stocked up?
- If you needed to leave your home (or “bug out”) would you be able to carry the necessities of survival with you safely?
- If you were at work, do you have tools and resources necessary to get home and collect your family? (A “Get-Home Bag”)
- Do you have a plan that your family knows and has rehearsed for how you’d respond in a weather or infrastructure-related emergency?
- If Internet and electricity and phones were out, do you have a way of getting news and/or communicating? A hand-crank, solar-powered shortwave radio would be good. For communicating, look for walki-talkis with a range of 5 or so miles.
- How about solar powered lanterns and flashlights that does not rely on an endless store of batteries? These should be kept charged and ready to go at all time.
- If you ran out of food in your home, what would be your Plan B to feed your family?
- Do you know at least three of your nearby neighbors well enough to cooperate well with them if necessary?
- Would you be able to defend yourself, your home and your family if some civil unrest spilled over onto your street, or you were the victim of home invasion or carjacking attempt?
It’s not fun to talk about, but it’s for this reason that I train in Krav Maga and Israeli tactical shooting. Again, if you’re not enrolled in some kind of martial art, you should be.
And that brings us to….
Most men today are woefully underprepared in “hard skills”. Bow hunting skills, nunchuck skills….okay, old joke.
My buddy Bryce Anderson of 5 Dimensional Man here in San Francisco is really good at teaching the following set of hard skills:
- Firearm safety / shooting
- Wilderness firecraft (he’s a former firefighter)
- Basic self-defense and street fighting tactics
- Throwing a tomahawk (not super useful….but fun as hell)
- How to tie basic knots & cordage (insanely useful)
- Getting in the best physical shape of your life
A quick note on the last point. Most of us are sedentary desk-bound knowledge workers who urgently need to increase our cardiovascular capacity and VO2 max. If you’re fleeing from zombies or chasing down a purse thief you’ll need to be in great shape. Even just being able to walk up 3 flights of stairs without breathing hard is a really nice life skill to have.
Bryce is actually doing a free class for this last point starting on Tuesday, February 6th. You can enter your email to get the free class here, and because you’re a follower of Fierce Gentleman, Bryce will do a free coaching call with you about your fitness goals, no matter where in the world you are. He’s a good guy, take him up on this offer — and tell him we sent you.
Having said that, here are some additional “core” skills we would recommend for men looking to improve their survivability:
- Basic knots & cordage (insanely practical)
- Basic mechanical & woodworking – focus on motors, batteries & solar
- Basic leadership, teamwork & communication – because working in a group has always been essential for survival
- Basic gardening, food prep & storage — things like fishing, cleaning and gutting a fish, hunting, and urban / rural foraging
- Basic land navigation (celestial, map & compass, orienteering)
- Basic operation of as many types of vehicles as possible — cars, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds, small planes, small watercraft
This is a lot to learn. One of my aspirations for 2018 is to create a forum locally here in California where men can begin upskilling in the above skills, taught in an integrated, useful way that will enable them to practice and maintain the skills for the long term.
Our fragile technological society needs more resilience, and that has to come from us. We all have a duty to become more educated, knowledgeable, skilled, and prepared. I hope to be a part of that preparation, and I hope you’ll join me.
Until next week!
Also published on Medium.