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Wednesday, April 20, 2022

How to Prepare for Hard Times in 5 Steps

People have a way of procrastinating, even about really important stuff. Problems very small and very far away on the horizon quickly grow in magnitude the closer they get.

Suddenly, what appeared to be about as threatening as a tiny newt has taken on positively draconian proportions when it is staring down at you, breathing fire and belching smoke.

rural bug out bag and some gear

If you are a person that has only come around to the notion of prepping as a lifestyle in recent months, you probably feel like the poor medieval footman facing down the fire breathing dragon with a lowly spear.

This is how bad situations seem to sneak up on us. It is not that we didn’t see them coming, or weren’t aware of the possibility; we simply fell into the altogether too human trap of thinking that it wouldn’t happen to us or wouldn’t happen at all! But, as it turns out, you rolled snake eyes and lost.

Your number came up, and now staring at the onset of a massive disaster or the first legitimate rumblings of a SHTF scenario in the face you blanch and are filled with dread because you are intimately aware of just how unprepared you are to face the dark days ahead.

It is an entirely understandable feeling, but despite your procrastination or your innocent ignorance of the way the world is apt to work, you aren’t doomed just yet.

There is always something you can do to improve your situation, no matter how late in the game it appears or how late in life you think you are.

In today’s article we will share with you procedures and tips that will help you get prepared for the hard times sure to come, and do it in a great big hurry.

First, Take Control of Your Mind and Emotions!

It is easy to fall prey to all kinds of negative emotions when you realize that danger and uncertainty are closing in, and that you are anything but prepared for it. You’ll regret ever letting things get this bad.

You’ll resent the notion that you are not as prepared as other people, especially people you know- friends, family, associates – who have made it a point to preach a lifestyle of readiness.

You’ll feel like there is no way you can catch up, and that you are just stuck; that your fate is sealed.

Time to cut the crap, and put an end to the pity party! Any seasoned prepper or survivor of previous crisis situations will tell you that cultivating, hardening and maintaining the proper mindset is critical to performing (and hopefully surviving) a high-stress, high-stakes situation.

Nothing is over until it’s over, and then includes your life. No matter who you are, where you live, and what scary and uncertain future you are facing there’s always something you can do to improve your situation.

You could be facing down a massive tornado a mere 5 minutes out to a rampaging horde of rioters burning and looting through your city.

Maybe it is just the realization that things aren’t the way they used to be, getting worse and there is no end in sight to the current woes.

Just like driving a car, you should look at where you need to go, not what you want to avoid; doing the latter is a sure way to plow into the wall or run off the road.

The dead focused on the problem; winners focused on the solution. Focus on problem solving and fast-track it.

The time to start improving your situation is now, right this second. With some diligence and a little luck you will not fall prey to whatever has you so frightened. But even if the event you fear is all but certain, you will only improve your chances of survival by taking action.

You might have more time to start course correction or you might have less. Whatever the case, below you will find a crash “catch-up” program that will help you harden up for the hard times ahead.

Step 1: Analyze the Threat(s)

Before you do anything, before you react to any perceived problem or fear, you must concisely identify what the threat is. Put another way, what are you so dang worried about?

Did a town a few miles over get wiped out by a tornado? Does the notion that society is growing ever more fractured and ever more contentious have you justifiably nervous? Was a friend or relative a victim of violent crime, like a mugging, or a home invasion?

If you cannot precisely identify what the threat is, you cannot prepare to react to it.

Once we have precisely identified the problem we may begin to plan, even if it is in a highly compressed and abbreviated timetable.

You will not prepare for personal, intimate criminal violence the same way you will prepare for a natural disaster, although some skills are universally useful in any emergency.

Now is the time to pour yourself a cold drink, take a deep breath, sit down, and identify what your particular problem is or problems are. This doesn’t need to be a diatribe or a list as long as a feature-length novel.

What are the most likely threats that could hurt you or ruin your life? Write them down. They might not be your typical prepper-centric things. Some examples:

  • You live in an area prone to a given type of natural disaster. Through luck or providence, you have avoided major damage, but a “near-miss” has impacted your area or a nearby town. You are spooked – it could’ve been you…
  • Your personal finances are not in good shape. You are one bad turn away from destitution and homelessness. The thought fills you with dread. There is no golden parachute in sight. You need to fortify yourself against financial calamity.
  • The writing is on the wall. Turns out the competing ideologies in your country can no longer get along. Soon they will not be able to cohabit. Civil conflict is intensifying. You know enough to know that any societal upheaval is extraordinarily dangerous. How can you prepare for something like this?
  • Your hometown has become something of a hot spot for political “protests” that invariably turn violent, and destructive. You are increasingly worried about the safety of yourself and your family members that work and manage your small local business. Last time a neighboring business man was beaten severely after trying to defend his storefront.

Taking even this beginning step should provide you a measure of comfort. It is the first paverstone, however small and however humble, on the road to taking responsibility for your own life and safety.

You have identified the threat, and are now beginning to lay your sights on it. You are starting to establish control over the outcome. Let’s keep going!

Step 2: Identify the Failure Points

Now that you have identified what kind of threat you are facing, or at least the most probable threat, ask how that event or occurrence will impact you specifically.

Time to get down to the nitty-gritty: only by identifying our personal failure points, or vulnerabilities, in the context of a greater scope problem can we begin to troubleshoot and rectify those vulnerabilities.

For instance using a couple examples mentioned previously:

  • You live smack in the middle of Tornado Alley, and despite a decade of good luck a recent monster twister nearly obliterated the neighboring town. That was entirely too close for comfort. You live in a mobile home, one of the statistically most vulnerable structures you could possibly occupy when a tornado strikes. Not only are you not prepared for riding out the aftermath of the tornado, but you cannot even rely on your own home to provide meaningful protection. What are you going to do about that?
  • A more random threat from disaster: a 100-year flood in a low-lying area. You are certain any such event will lead to water being nearly up to the ceiling of the first floor in your home. What should your response be in an event like that? Is it even possible to stay in your home on the second floor? Should you? If you’re going to evacuate where are you going? What is the “point of no return” when the water starts rising, at what point do you say “abandon ship”?
  • Living in a large suburban or major metropolitan area seeing steadily increasing and ever more violent social clashes. It is easy to feel vulnerable when everything seems so random and you cannot shake the idea that you could be targeted for violence specifically because what you have said or what you believe or who you voted for. You are a local business owner, and have a moderately visible public profile. Soon you are sure you’ll be “spotlighted” to make a show of support for one cause or another. How can you make sense of it, and more importantly how can you avoid retribution from those who would harm you for being on the “wrong side”?
  • Financial insolvency. You need to identify your principal vulnerability. Is it your lack of income or the instability of your source of income? Are you facing mounting expenses? Are you facing a catastrophic expenditure like health problems without insurance, or without adequate insurance? Perhaps any of these apply to a member of your household.

You must first locate the source of the pain, or in our case the potential source of pain, before applying the remedy. Once you have done that, you’re then ready to start taking concrete action to shore up your defenses!

Step 3: Course Correct NOW!

So you have identified the threat and also identified your particular vulnerabilities in the context of that threat. Today is the day you start correcting course, and I mean right now!

Stop doing the things that make you vulnerable. Start doing the things that make you less vulnerable. That’s it, full stop.

But easier said than done, right? Maybe. Maybe not. For instance if you are concerned about the threat of personal violence due to encroaching cultural diversity or a rising political temperature you’ll need to obtain the skills, tools and other attributes necessary for defending your life and your property.

Most Americans would like to start with the tools before anything thanks to a cultural reliance on gadgetry.

However, if your physical fitness levels are in the toilet and you don’t know how to handle yourself in a fight or before a fight starts, you are best served taking care of that post haste.

Stop eating garbage food. Start working out. Learn verbal judo and conflict avoidance. Learn how to “fail” a criminal’s pre-attack “interview”. A gun or knife is not a magic talisman that will keep you from harm.

Also consider the previous example of natural disaster. If you live in the middle of Tornado Alley in a mobile home, there is not any amount of other material preparation that will suffice. Your vulnerability is your home and remaining in it keeps you vulnerable every minute of every day during tornado season.

What are your options? Install a tornado shelter on your property, perhaps? Good, go get the kit, and start installing it. If you can’t install it hire a professional. If you cannot afford the kit or installation start saving for right now.

That means identifying what you can live without, or where you can scrimp and scrape to accomplish it. This wisdom applies to the threat of financial insolvency, too; stop wasting money on stupid crap!

No matter how “in the hole” you think you are when it comes to preparation, and how hopeless and helpless you might feel when you compare your situation and status to those who have been preparing for years or decades, it is never too late to begin, and never too late to improve your situation!

Step 4: Prioritize Survival Necessities

When folks facing down uncertainty or just really rough times ask, in vain, “how will I survive?!” they are being more figurative than they might imagine. It is typically in stark contrast to how they feel.

The bottom line is that every, single person alive on Earth has only four truly physical survival necessities. And while it is true that thriving and surviving are not the same thing, it is very difficult to do the former if you cannot even do the latter.

As for survival necessities, in order of “most deadly to go without” are:

  • Air
  • Shelter
  • Water
  • Food

Consider that whatever your situation, however grueling, however humiliating it might be, so long as you have those four things you will survive! It will not be pleasant and it almost certainly will not be pretty but they are all it takes to sustain life.

I told you this for two purposes. The first is to instill a sense of hope and gratitude. Chances are, no matter what happens, you will not be going without any of those four things, or at least for any period of time that can imperil your life. And so long as you are alive you can rebuild, regain and start over.

Second, let these for survival priorities inform your choices. No less an agency than FEMA has determined that the vast majority of Americans will be equipped well enough to survive the majority of disasters that might befall so long as they can provide, one way or another, all four of those necessities enough to last just three days. Anybody can do that.

No matter how far behind you are, or rather think you are, in the prepping game right now ask yourself if you could come up with three days of food water to store as an emergency survival supply.

Could you lay in some additional clothing that is environment and season specific in case you are driven out of your home? How about a propane heater or some extra wood for your fireplace?

The most rudimentary material preparation will, statistically, prepare you for the vast majority of disasters and hard times that might befall you.

Step 5: Skill Up

Beyond the necessities, consider that most people get into trouble during any kind of disaster or emergency because they are unable to take care of themselves, or effectively deal with the situation at hand.

There are a thousand and one ways to get injured in the course of your normal day, and a thousand and one more during any disaster or SHTF situation worth the name.

When the sky turns dark, the power goes out, and the mountains start to roar you can count on all of our modern emergency responders being overwhelmed and out of commission right alongside you and other survivors.

Consider the following elementary survival skills that anyone can learn and implement:

  • Do you know basic first-aid?
  • Do you know how to navigate without benefit of a GPS?
  • Do you have contingency plans A, B and C for evacuation?
  • Have you rehearsed multiple rendezvous points with loved ones?
  • Do you know how to start and maintain a fire for warmth or cooking?
  • Do you know how to signal for help with a variety of tools or without?

All of these things are the most basic of survival skills, easy and affordable or even free to learn. There is no excuse for any citizen to not have “journeyman” competency in them at the very least.

Even when you are learning the ropes in any of these skills, you’ll be miles ahead of people who are completely untrained and incapable.

Spoiler Warning: most people are completely unprepared in any way for any kind of emergency, and that means you’ll be way, way ahead of the pack even as a beginner!

Step 6: Begin Diversifying to Cultivate Resilience.

Once you have your bases covered and have taken the initial steps to improve your position, and your outlook against the hard times that we all know we’re coming, you should focus on diversifying in order to further fortify yourself against misfortune of all kinds. This is the best way to cultivate “anti-fragility”.

Do you only have one response to a given disaster or situation? Time to install a backup plan. How about multiple survival stashes of food, water, medical supplies and warm clothing?

Maybe a second one in your storage unit or at a family member’s place would serve as a hedge against loss. Only know one, true way to treat an injury? Learn the second best way.

This applies to the more “civil” issues that are no less able to make hard times, well, hard. Is your income too meager? What can you do to improve it? Is it a second job, a side hustle, or the occasional gig?

Are you only courting dead-end jobs? It is never too late to go to school or learn a trade. Worried about having all of your financial eggs in one basket? Consider various investments.

The bottom line is that the more adaptable you are to changing conditions both civic and tactical, the more resilient you’ll be. That means harder to break and harder to kill, by any means.

And that means that you, not your circumstances, will be primarily in charge of dictating your outcomes. That is all any of us can ask for.


Hard times and dangerous days will invariably lie ahead of us, and many think they are close indeed. For those who have deferred preparation or who were unaware of the trials in store getting ready to face them might seem like a hopeless venture. Not enough time by half.

But don’t believe that lie! By acting decisively and quickly now, it is entirely possible to turn your personal readiness situation around and dramatically increase your ability to meet these looming challenges head on.

Use the guide provided to quickly assess your biggest threats, create a rough plan and get in gear for covering your vulnerabilities.

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