Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Advice to the would-be survivalist

Dan and Sheila Gendron, Contributors
Activist Post

Nine out of ten people we've met who expressed an interest in being a survivalist or prepper, frankly, did not know their own mind. Like at the poker table, to win you must either be all in, or don't bother playing. You can't get to home plate if you keep one foot on third base.

Often the problem comes not with someone's own head, but with the heads of people they are attached to – wives, children, mothers, fathers, pets, friends, bosses, mild acquaintances. We could recount endlessly the amount of times we met people who were conflicted by others, who vainly labored at – or sought others to labor at – convincing their son, daughter, dog, cat, minster, rabbi, imam, boss, wife, husband that they should join in the bug-out.

Truth is, everyone of the aforementioned entities has a strong vested interest in keeping you in the system. It is like asking a butcher if it's good to eat meat.

If you discuss with people your desire to drop out of society – those entrenched in society, even those at the lowest echelons of society – it gives them permission to validate their own choices through you. And believe me, they will do everything in their power to prove you wrong so that they can validate their own decisions – or because they are too afraid of the changes coming to admit that their comfy life may not be around tomorrow.

And in case you feel a need to give it a try, don't bother trying to convince anyone else that your decision is right, either. It won't work and it will only lead to hard feelings with who were once your friends, relatives and acquaintances.


If you seek Nirvana, you seek to know yourself. Your “self” is a solitary, singular word. If you are fortunate enough to have a significant other who agrees with you on the need to get to a survivable location and live a neo-primitive primitive lifestyle, you are very lucky. But most personal setbacks by those trying to achieve this lifestyle are related to family relations. So we'll take it on face value that you are reading this to find out how YOU can achieve this lifestyle.

First and foremost, be honest with yourself and others who may be considering going with you. Countless times we have seen a wife who wanted to do this and hoped by some miracle that didn't necessarily involve them actually doing anything that her husband would suddenly be on the same page as she was. That is a pipe dream. If you feel strongly a certain way (and in this case that way is to become a neo-primitive survivalist) then for God's sake please discuss it honestly with your spouse.

Innumerable times a wife or husband would schedule a visit (when we were offering parts of our ranch as survival retreats) in the hopes that we would somehow convince their reluctant spouse. Every time we have been asked to do that for someone, we have flatly refused. On the face of it, it's dishonest. This lifestyle is hard and any problems you had in the outside world, vis a vis, your honesty with each other, will become intensified when you have no outside distractions to mask them. A lack of honesty will turn into outright visceral resentment. This is also true of any other shortcomings your relationship may suffer from. So having a heart-to-heart with whomever you plan to have join you and coming to terms with it is your first step. You notice I am not convincing you that you need to do this. We presume you understand that. Your biggest bug-a-boo is who you bring with you, not what.

In this circumstance, it is all about compromises. If two people really care for each other, then in any discourse there is give and take. Find your happy medium and create an intention that it be successful, then take action to see to it that it is.

To be fair, it is also a consideration towards those relationships that you are better off without. I can't tell you what they are, but deep down inside of you, you already know. The real question you have to ask yourself is, “Is this relationship worth dying for?” Of course this presupposes that you do not see a good end for this current world manifestation in the near future.

These are questions that will help you know your head and find your center. It is also a rational decision to stay in the outside world with those you love knowing that you may very well die there. You will get no greasy-eyed looks from me about it...I salute you. It takes balls to make either decision. To decide to stand with those whom you love is admirable. For them to decide to live with you is also admirable. But make a decision – one way or the other – and then make that reality.

Consider these in your dialogue with your family and friends;

1. Be honest – about what you feel, what you want, your motivations. I know for some of you this will be nearly surreal because you may have never done it before. But you may be pleasantly surprised that honesty, especially in this case, works best of all.

2. Don't sensationalize. Many a spouse has taken the liberty to use questionable facts and outright bullshit to get their spouse to agree to a lifestyle change. There is a property to bullshit that needs to be considered. Most people can smell it coming off your lips. So don't sensationalize. Ask yourself if you would like to make a life-change decision based on bullshit and sensationalized facts. How would you feel when you found out it was bullshit? This can create problems down the road, so don't create any minefields to convince someone else that you are right. It's an easy pitfall to avoid.

3. Decide beforehand who is worth telling and who is not. Far too often people use people who mean little to them or people to whom you mean little as the first ones to approach about your lifestyle-change decision. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!!! Earl Nightingale gives us excellent advice on this topic... (paraphrased) don't bother discussing your goals with those not intimately involved with those goals. They will shoot you down every time and destroy your ego. Only discuss your goals with those who are intimately involved with them or who you love. So don't use the guy who sits next to you in the subway or the guy you casually have lunch with to discuss your plans. Make a list of those who would be directly involved with your decision and talk only with them about it.

Saying you have everything ready is a misstatement for most. The most important place to have ready is your mind.

Some of you say that you can't wait till you no longer have to wait in line at Starbucks, or fight the traffic to get to your cubicle at your job, but all those activities in the pop culture world create neural-synaptic connections that become your current addictions. Most of our addictions are consumer addictions. The rituals – vis a vis going to Starbucks or walking around the mall – are deep-seated in our brains through what scientists call a neural-synaptic connection.

These connections become warm, fuzzy, homey feelings. That's what they are designed to do. Nobody really pays $8 for a cup of coffee with cream for the coffee or the cream. They are paying for the feeling they get when they do it.

If you truly want to be successful in the survivalist lifestyle, you need to begin now breaking old patterns or prepare for the culture shock of your life.

We have seen this undo people more than any other cause – more than money, more than physical hardships, more than lack of ability. The culture shock is your real enemy.

Most people, when told this, slough it off and usually say something like, “Oh, that won't be a problem for us, we're already out of the system,” when what they mean is, “I only buy organic foods at the supermarket.” It takes much more than that. Our advice to someone considering the self-sufficient lifestyle is to begin now breaking patterns.

Patterns to Break:
  • dependency on alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, sugar drinks, etc.
  • watching TV
  • shopping as entertainment (Wal-mart, supermarkets, etc.)
It's not only about your head, but also about the heads of those you care for and love.

Now, understand this. For you to be successful in changing from an urban/suburban lifestyle, you must truly believe that this is the way to go. You have to believe in yourself, and you have to believe that there will be a future that will be better than the paradigm we have now. You have to believe it so deeply that it won't matter when people tell you you're crazy – and they will.

Not everyone is meant to understand what is happening in the world today – even some family members will not wish you well in your endeavors. If you have been given the gift of insight, we encourage you to go with it.

Read other articles by Dan and Sheila HERE.

Dan & Sheila are the authors of Surviving Survivalism – How to Avoid Survivalism Culture Shock, and hosts of the free podcast, Still Surviving with Dan & Sheila. For questions about space in their Intentional Survivalist Community or other survivalist issues, they can be reached at surviving@lavabit.com.


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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think it is defeatist to tell people either be in it 100% or not at all. You cut of people's hopes then. This is NOT a 100% or just die situation, I am sure people will come up with creative ways of adapting... adaptation IS our biggest asset and though you have good points, one does NOT have to be in 100% all the way, the rest comes with the will to survive come hell or high water and during a crisis people will find that. During crisises in the past I'm sure some people found very creative ways to get things done. Not everyone suceeded in their attempt to survive, but unless they gave up they tried. The semi preppers still have a chance of surviving, as long as they can still hunt, fish and scrounge... I thinl some preppers are going to have a rude awakening if the government attempts to commandeer their stored food (NDAA) or kicks them off their property in a long-term crisis for one reason or another (NDAA again and other signed orders)... Preparation is a big part of it, but the willingness to keep trying, to NOT lie down no matter what is also a huge necessary part of this. When backed into a corner one may find the courage they thought they never had. You are right in your points but I wouldn't sell people short on their chances of survival just yet. They may surprise you.

Anonymous said...

What? No Tobacco? Funny, I had quit three years, worked out everyday and ate a healthy diet. 'til I wound up in Iraq. Since, I smoke a pack a day and can drink a case a beer in one sitting.

Just food for thought...

I THROUGHLY understand the point. It's very good advice. When your "in the shit" your partner(s) can not crack. It becomes a problem worse then the "enemy". All the preppin' and planning comes all unwound in seconds....that's the shit that can cost you your life.

Good article.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article. I enjoyed the forthrightness of the author in discussing such a serious topic.

I don't have the physical capability to live completely on my own on my own land but I wish I could; I don't think I could survive arguing with other people. Even my own family members.

Joe said...

You are right not to forcibly exclude people, but you must draw the line, I think, where people refuse to commit because they say that those around them have refused to commit. That just means that a person's decision to survive is co dependent on someone else's. That's an unhealthy sign in any relationship. Marriages aren't suicide pacts.

Anonymous I think the "all or nothing" referred to is the decision to take any steps at disaster prep, even small ones like learning. Not everyone will be equally prepared regardless. I for one might have preppers come to ME for certain esoteric things, and exchange that for stuff I did not prep as well.

Adaptable, yes, you can be 50%, but you can't be 50% committed to something. Look at it like a casual relationship vs a marriage.

You cannot be 50% committed to trying (taking steps) to survive, or your spouse committed and you not. There are plenty all over youtube overwhelmed by Sandy and asking for help. Doesn't mean they didn't prep, just that they fell short.

And NDAA-wise not being prepared because you reckon the government is both the perfect enemy and the perfect saviour just implies you never worked for or with them. The government is as random and fallible as the people in it.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Everyone should try taking the Penn State IPIP on line .... the long version.

It measures six traits in each of five categories. I think, that in my case, it was right on.

I scored extremely high in Conscientiousness and Openness average on Neuroticism. I performed substandard on Extroversion and got a zero on Agreeableness.

Where can I sign up for membership in your stupid survival community?

Anonymous said...

To Anon November 6, 2012 6:42 you don't need to give up your addictions, tobacco is easy to grow and beer can be brewed at home from ingredients you grow yourself.

I make my own wine, soap, medicines - the only thing I have a problem with is paper products.

Ben said...

Survivalist,preppers,call it what you want.I have personally seen or experienced natural disasters all over the world the past 30 years.What will you do if you're not prepared for a disaster.With the state of the US and people being beat down and suppressed by the government,their will be a civil uprising.How big it will be is anyones guess.

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