Unless you’ve been in combat or survived a real disaster, you probably didn’t get a chance to see things blowing up and people dying. You never experienced the feeling of despair or not knowing whether you’re going to make it out alive and see your children.
And that fine. Mentally preparing for an SHTF event can be done even if you’ve never been in these situations. It’s not the same but, hopefully, with this article, you’ll make the first steps to become mentally stronger and become a better leader for your family.
Although our mind is capable of storing and processing huge amounts information, it’s really easy for us to trick it. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do. You can view my tips and exercises as a veritable SHTF mental preparedness workout.
The following techniques work for much more than prepping. Things like pumping more weight at the gym, getting better grades in school or becoming better at your job can be achieved by doing the things I’m about to teach you.
Let’s start off with visualization.
Visualization exercises are my favorite. From Neanderthal ‘artwork’ found in caves to text-based computer games to video, our minds were always able to make simple representations come to life using the power of imagination.
No, we’re not just going to imagine the SHTF scenario. To make it as real as possible, let’s find some YouTube videos with some of them. Look at one, then close your eyes and put yourself right in the middle of the action.
Imagine yourself moving quickly and with confidence, knowing exactly where to go to lead your loved ones to safety. As you’re doing this, notice the other people running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Most of them will surely die… but you don’t have time for them, you’re too busy doing what needs to be done.
Now, there are two keys to this exercise:
Key #1 is to do it with unstoppable confidence. This is one of the few times it’s ok to feel like Rambo. 🙂
Key #2 is to stimulate all your senses, not just visual. Hear the sounds of police sirens, hear the tornado rumbling, smell the smoke of burning buildings… feel your survival knife in your hand. Create a full multimedia experience for yourself that will trick your brain into thinking it’s all real.
Watch as many disaster videos as you can. Put yourself in as many of those terrifying situations using your mind’s eye. It’s not the same as the real deal but it’s enough to trick your mind just a little bit to prevent it from freezing when disaster strikes.
OK, now that we started off with something practical, it’s time to move to something a little more theoretical: goal-setting.
You need to have goals that are way above what most preppers have. Notice I said preppers, not people, since the average Joe doesn’t have any objectives to begin with!
Instead of setting a goal to “survive a disaster”, how about deciding to “survive and thrive”?
After going to your bug-out location when things to down the drain, how about you make an even more ambitious goal? To move, after 2 or 3 months, away from your location to an even better place with more resources, more gold and even a functioning community of like-minded people. I’m not saying you need to plan for this event right now, I’m just giving you an example of a big, bodacious goal, the kind you need to start making for yourself.
Heck, you can go ahead and make some goals for your professional life as well. When you ask for more responsibility at work, you learn to lead people, meaning you’ll be much better prepared for a SHTF situation where few people will need leadership more than ever.
There’s one more thing I want to talk to you about as part of your mental preparation: optimism. I know that our day-to-day lives give us few reasons to be optimistic about the future (particularly with all the news we see on T.V.). As we grow older, we start getting too much into our comfort zones, we become disinterested, apathetic and so on. This all leads to pessimism. Heck, a lot of folks get into survival only because they’re scared and pessimistic by nature, so thinking about Doomsday all day long becomes a way for them to feed their fears.
Things don’t have to be this way. Optimists aren’t just better leaders but they’re more fun to be around, they seem to get “lucky” more often and make far fewer prepping mistakes (you can find a list of those here). You have to stop looking at what’s about to come as something negative, but a natural consequence of the screw-ups of the human; that’s when you’ll start being far more optimistic.
Here’s a list of a few really good reasons to get excited despite you knowing what’s coming:
- You’re preparing, which puts you ahead 95% of the population;
- You learned something new today by reading this article, particularly my visualization exercise;
- You have your loved ones right there with you;
- The more you think about preparing, the more you learn: new ways to find and filter water, better ways to defend yourself and your home, more possibilities to ensure you won’t just survive but thrive post-SHTF. Learning the “advanced stuff” pays off.
Last but not least, please keep this in mind: being optimistic is not about waiting for things to get better; it’s about seeing the up side of every situation, no matter how adverse. Only thing is, you have to look for it even when everyone else around you is miserable and overly negative about it. When you can do that, you’ll know you’re mentally prepared for anything.