Think of success as being a stool that needs to have three legs to be able to stand. In this example, the three legs represent knowledge, materials and experience. Missing a leg or falling short of what you need for any leg will seriously reduce your chances of being able to rest safely on that stool.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
I think this is the most important leg of our imaginary stool, because it gives us the awareness of what we need and the ability to address those needs through our experience and materials.
However, knowledge without the benefit of practice or the right tools is not sufficient to be successful in any endeavor. We all know folks who study books, magazines and other survival information resources who have never actually used that knowledge in a practical setting or who don’t have the wherewithal or desire to acquire the gear necessary to implement their knowledge.
In addition, not all people can master all techniques, but they won’t know that until they try to apply them in the field. We all have a few things we know how to do, but we don’t seem to be able to achieve consistent or satisfactory results, no matter how much we try.
Let’s be honest: This is the aspect of prepping that most of us really look forward to. There is nothing like checking out the latest gizmos and gear or going through our stockpile of stuff and feeling that we’re ready for anything ... because we are loaded for bear.
It can also be the one that causes the most anxiety and frustration, because so much of what we’d like to have can come at a high cost. Hunting for gear teaches us some good prepping lessons, though, in that we often find ways to acquire the capabilities we need without spending an arm and a leg. This creativity and adaptability make for good practice for when the SHTF and we need to get things done with ersatz materials or methods.
This leg is the one that I think provides the most enjoyment, satisfaction and validation of the three. First, it typically requires getting outside, which is always a plus. It’s the culmination of all the studying and conversations with others, along with the opportunity to “play” with the gear we believe is going to keep us safe and secure.
Whether it comes in the form of a day at the range, a camping trip or excursions along our escape routes, this is when we get to test ourselves and everything we’ve invested in and find out what works, what doesn’t and maybe even discover a few tricks and tips of our own.
This is the leg that most of us see in our mind when we imagine having to deal with emergency situations, so it should be the one we’re most curious about.
A FOURTH LEG?
If you prefer a stool with four legs, I’d agree that there are some other good candidates:
Attitude is key, but I think you already have this squared away if you’re handling the three topics above. Sure, when it’s go-time, this becomes critical, but taking care of business ahead of time should provide you with a good attitude in all but the direst situations.
Self-reliance is a crucial aspect to dealing with more-serious emergencies and disruptions to your way of life. To believe in yourself is essential to making it through tough situations. In disaster after disaster, we see truly self-reliant folks making the difference in their own situations, as well as for those around them. In my opinion, the Cajun Navy is a great example of the benefit and power of true self-reliance. In fact, it reflects part of what our nation is built upon. Nevertheless, self-reliance is one of the end results of investing in knowledge, materials and experience.
As I’ve said before, If it is to be, it is up to me. No matter how you put it together, build your "stool" so you have a comfy spot the next time disaster strikes.