Submissions     Contact     Advertise     Donate     BlogRoll     Subscribe                         

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Why I think becoming a Jack of All Trades is the Key to Survival

Become a Jack of All Trades: The Key to Survival.

Define what you actually want to achieve – and the skills you will need to achieve it. Figure out a large goal or two that you’d like to achieve, then break this goal down into some basic skills. Create a list of the things you want to learn – a checklist for your near future. Start with just 2 skills, then build up from there. Another good thing to do is to figure out the skills you already have. What do you know how to do that many others do not? Is this something that’s useful to others?

Start with the people already around you.
The people already in your sphere of influence are the best people to start with in your endeavors. Look for the friends and family you already have that have skills you’d like to learn, and simply ask to learn from them. In exchange, you should offer them something as well – one of your skills might be put to use in their life, or you might be able to simply serve as a helping hand for one of their projects.

Keep your ears and eyes open.
If you pay attention, almost every day gives us opportunities to share our skills and abilities as well as learn from others. Keep your ears and eyes open and see what’s available around you. Maybe you have a neighbor that is working on a project in the yard. Why not ask if he or she could use a hand? Maybe someone will mention that their brother is good at something you’re want to learn. Step up and ask if you can give that person a ring. It might even be as simple as offering to help someone fix their car in a parking lot – it gives you an opportunity to learn. Just look for every opportunity that life reveals to you to pick up a skill you’d like to have. Those opportunities come more often than you might think.

Another great avenue for picking up skills is through volunteer projects. Groups like Habitat for Humanity, your Church, The United Way, etc., are constantly engaged in projects where you can not only learn a useful skill, but you can spend your time in a way that provides for others at no direct cost for yourself. You will be able to practice the skills you already have, learn some new ones and most importantly…give back.

Share what you know.
Many people often feel that they don’t have something of value to share. (You would be surprised how difficult it is for me to get people to interview on my show, (Today's Survival Show or on my Handgun World Show.) Very rarely is that true – all of us have something valuable to share right in between our ears. Share what you know freely and widely. Often, people have valuable information and insights in areas that they never expect until others ask about it.

When learning, master the basics first.
Most people find that, when learning a new skill, it’s usually a must… to continually work on the basics as they go along. You need to master fundamentals first, master the basics and the advanced techniques will seem much more attainable. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Read something new every day.
Each day, make an effort to read something new related to your interests. Read a chapter in a book, a magazine article, or some blog entries or podcasts on that topic.

This helps you in a couple of different ways. First, it keeps your mind focused on the skills you’re trying to learn. If those skills are constantly present in your mind, you’ll find yourself wanting to practice them and grow them naturally. The Second benefit you get is that, it exposes you to new ideas and thoughts related to that specific skill. Reading what others have written on the topic constantly exposes your mind to new angles on what might seem like a familiar area. Whenever I’m interested in a topic or a skill, I usually start by following a few blogs on it. I do some Googling for blogs on what I'm interested in. Then I follow some links and read forum posts too. This is a great, inexpensive way to get my feet wet and my mind working. I’ll subscribe to podcasts and even pay for exclusive downloads containing content on what I want to learn.

Try something new at least once a week.
There’s no better way to master a new skill than by simply doing it. Dive in and get your hands dirty. For me, this is my best way to learn something. I know some people can read a book, but I have to be shown.

Share what you produce.
If you begin to learn enough to start making quality stuff -- share the things you produce with others. Example, if you’re good at gardening, Give away some of the vegetables from your garden. What you’ll find is that if you start sharing what you know, they’ll share what they know. That activity can lead to some good bartering.

Apply the skills you’re learning in your own life.

Best of all, as you acquire these new skills, you can apply them in your own life. The better you become at cooking for example, the better your diet becomes and the less expensive your food becomes. I like to cook and it makes me realize exactly what I'm eating. Sometimes I discover some scary things. The better you become at home repair tasks, the more likely it is that you can handle things that break down in your home without calling the repairman. The better you become at writing, the more likely it is you can sell a piece or you can start a successful blog that can earn you a bit of money. The better speaker you become, maybe you can start a podcast, radio show or start teaching your skill and earn extra money. All of this comes back to two things: building skills and building relationships. The more you do of both, the better off you are.

Self-reliance is a vital key to living a healthy, productive life. To be self-reliant you're going to have to master a basic set of skills, more or less making you a jack of all trades. Contrary to what you may have learned in school, a jack of all trades is far more equipped to deal with life than a specialized master of only a few.

Some things all survivalists should learn to do…..

Build a Fire – Fire produces heat and light, two basic necessities for living. At some point in your life knowing how to start a fire could prove to be lifesaving.

Operate a Computer – Fundamental computer knowledge is essential these days. Even in a stink it the fan (SHTF) situation, a computer can be very valuable. Obviously you’ve stored data and survival knowledge. Don’t be so quick to assume it will be useless. You will still be able to open your hard drive, open CD’s and DVD’s and use it as entertainment. All you need to do is figure out a way to keep the battery charged.

Use Google and Bing Effectively – Google knows everything. If you’re having trouble finding something with Google, it’s you that needs help.

Perform CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver – Someday it may be your wife, husband, son or daughter that needs help.

Drive a Manual Transmission Vehicle – There may come a time before or after a bad thing happens where they only vehicle available is one with a manual transmission. Learn how to drive it.

Do Basic Cooking – If you can’t cook your own steak and eggs, you probably aren’t going to make it.

Tell a Story that Captivates People’s Attention – This is a great skill for keeping kids entertained after a disaster.

Win or Avoid a Fistfight – Either way, you win.

Deliver Bad News – Somebody has got to do it. Unfortunately, someday that person might be you.

Change a Tire – sounds too basic, huh? You would be amazed how many people can't do it.

Handle a Job Interview – In today's economy this could prove very valuable.

Manage Your Time – You may find yourself the leader of a small group trying to accomplish a goal. Either before or after a disaster hits. You need to know how to manage your time and help your team manage theirs.

Speed Read – this really helps when reading instructions.

Remember Names – Do you like when someone tries to get your attention by screaming “hey you”? One of the best way's to get someone's attention is to remember their name!

Relocate – Are you really organized enough to relocate with short notice?

Travel Light – Bring only the necessities. It’s the cheaper, easier, smarter thing to do. Can you travel with just one bag?

Handle the Police – Jail is no fun, period.

Give Driving Directions – what if you need to direct a family member how to get somewhere and GPS' are down and they didn't prepare well enough to have a map?

Perform Basic First Aid – You don’t have to be a doctor, or genius, to properly dress a wound.

Swim – 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. Learning to swim might be a good idea.

Parallel Park – Even though some Ford Vehicles can do this for you, don't rely on them.

Recognize Personal Alcohol Limits - After a SHTF event people get stressed and often turn to alcohol and drugs. Know how to recognize this, it could save you from being a victim.

Handle a Hammer, Axe or Handsaw – Carpenters are not the only ones who need tools. Everyone should have a basic understanding of basic hand tools.

Make a Simple Budget – Being in debt is not fun. How can you call yourself a survivalist if you are carrying a load of debt? Sorry, but I have a firm conviction about this issue.

Speak at Least Two Common Languages – Only about 25% of the world’s population speaks English. It would be nice if you could communicate with at least some of the remaining 75%.

Staying in good physical shape – You never know when you will need to carry something heavy for a long distance.

Give a Compliment – It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give someone, and it’s free. It's one of the best ways to build rapport.

Negotiate – often forgotten, often needed.

Listen Carefully to Others – You have two ears and one mouth, use them accordingly.


  1. Good advice. The comment about volunteering to learn new skills is right on target, plus you are helping people, and it could even lead to a paying job for you someday. Learning cpr and first aid is important too.

  2. Very good info....Learn Learn and Learn some more. Opportunity is always there, we just need to take it.