Soldiers with a survival mindset rushing a white sand beach

Survival Mindset – Physical and Mental Preparedness for TEOTWAWKI

“We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.”
Thomas Edison

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Benjamin Franklin

Neither of these great American men could have predicted the kind of threats we face today. But these ideals remind us not to rely on good luck to save our asses and that most people’s successes aren’t the result of “luck”, but of preparation.

This is a core value of the preparedness lifestyle. I’ve personally built these ideals into my life and into the soul of the Ready To Go Survival culture – that’s sounds super cheesy, I hear it too.

The Survival Mindset

Survival is a lot of instinct and preparation followed by training. Below is our honest breakdown of the survival mindset that everyone needs to undertake at one point in their journey. We’ve asked our internal panel of homesteaders, avid outdoorsman, preppers, EMTs and military veterans to chime in.

Expect

Bottom line: Every human on this Earth will at some point, experience trauma – don’t be surprised when it does.

Our planet, our nation and our culture is more unpredictable than ever, IMO. Uncertainty looms more prominently than at any time in recent history between the threat of war, security issues, “climate change” (jk, not making fun) and political unrest. Preparedness is the best defense against uncertainty and if you’re reading this then you already know that. Don’t wait for shit to hit the fan to start preparing now. While you’re at it, start wrapping your mind around some ugly facts like, who is really comming with you? Can you afford, in terms of food and water rations, to accept those that bring neither skill nor supplies to your group?

Prepare

Bottom line: Evaluate basic human needs – food, water, clothing, first aid shelter. Gather the essentials and keep them and keep locked n’ loaded, ready to go.

The Bug Out Bag List

This whole topic has been beaten to death on every forum and every post and subreddit board on the internet. With that said, this is the most critical subject of the survival mindset as it gives the most sense of preparedness – but that’s only the start. I’ll briefly recap some of the highlights from our The Ultimate Bug out Bag Checklist article.

The 8 key principles to building a great Bug Out Bag.

  • Weight
  • Keep it “gray”
  • Lone wolf or wolf pack
  • The environment
  • Your Health
  • Skills
  • Quality of equipment

Think of your survival kit as sectional or modules.

Backpack

If you’re gonna go with a tactical pack, make sure to get a rain cover. Not only does it keep your gear dry, but it also covers up the tactical features. Buy your backpack after you purchase the rest of your gear. You don’t want to end up with a pack that’s too small to carry all of your intended items.

Shelter

You’ll likely be able to find an indoor shelter in an emergency situation. In this case, keep it simple and light. Otherwise, Tents and sleeping bags are usually on the heavy side, so partner up with a bug out buddy to disburse the load. These items also take up quite a bit of space, so pack everything into a compression sack and strap it to your pack.

First Aid

Basic components of a first aid kit are trauma control, essential first aid, and medication. We recommend buying a quality pre-made basic first aid kit that comes in a sturdy enclosure and also has room to add additional items.Keep your first aid kit in a waterproof bag located in an accessible part of the pack. You may need to use it in a moments notice.

Hygiene

Keeping clean is not only important for health, it plays a big factor in keeping up morale and focused survival mindset. Lack of hygiene items can lead to infection, sickness, and a whole list of other crappy things that you’d best avoid. Here’s what we recommend to make sure you stay clean and healthy:

Food and Water

For a BOB, the rule of thumb is carrying 72 hours worth of food and water. To maintain endurance and energy, add a few packets of powdered electrolyte mix. You should also have the means to procure food once your rations run out.Aim to provide about 1500 calories a day per adult, along with 1 liter of water.

Tools

This is where many people go overboard. Tools make your life easier when you need them, but they weigh a lot and take up space. Aim to add tools that are multi-purpose.

Protection

Protecting your orifices is imperative in a bug out situation. After 9/11, over 20K people have reported respiratory damage ranging from breathing issues to full blown Mesothelioma. If on that day the victims had something as simple as a N95 mask, a set of goggles, and a pair of earplugs, I think that number would be dramatically lower.

Communication

In a major emergency, there’s a very good chance that your cell phone won’t work. Everyone is trying to make a call at the same time and the satellites just can’t handle the bandwidth. At that point, you’ll have to rely on other technologies. The radio is tried and true. It will let you listen in for important updates about road conditions, weather patterns, or even updates on imminent terror threats.

Fire

First resort is always the lighter, then the matches, then the fire starter. If all else fails and you’ve got a bit of sun, use the fresnel lens. It’s very effective and weighs close to nothing.

Self Defense

Be as discreet as possible. If local laws permit, conceal a handgun. Other options are to keep non-lethal weapons like bear pepper spray and stun guns.

The Know-How List:

This is just a important as what stuff you’re hoarding for the apocalypse. Take classes, seminars and courses! It’ll be just like school except for there will be no grades, it will be way more fun and the only test will be whether or not you make it out alive at the end.

First Aid

During a disaster, a medical emergency is the one you’re most likely to experience. This is the top choice for a course. Even if you aren’t expecting an emergency, this is good stuff to know to get through everyday life.

Shooting & Tactics

Self-defense and self-preservation are part of the prepper lifestyle. No use having a gun in an emergency if you have no idea how to properly and safely manipulate and shoot it. This is an area where you want as much practice as possible for accuracy and personal safety.

Evasion

When you can’t fight, you gotta flight. Learn when, where and how to evade threats. Active shooter and home defense scenarios are great starting points.

Lock Picking

If you happen to be a professional thief in the midst of planning a high-profile heist, than you probably already know how to do this effectively – kudos – if not, you should learn. A locked door or window could be what stands between you and your family’s survival.

Hunting and Tracking Animals

Because the grizzly bear you know is better than the grizzly bear you don’t and aren’t expecting because you didn’t recognize you’re in the middle of its grounds. This may not apply to many without access to wild animals, but every landscape has its predators, know them.

Gather Food – Foraging

Learn about wild edibles in your region. This is not an area where you want to be guessing mid-catastrophe which wild mushrooms are edible, which are psychedelic and which are poisonous.

Farming and raising domestic animals

This has been a personal goal for some time now but given my neighborhood doesn’t allow this, I’ll have to wait on it. This doesn’t mean you give up. Use the internet to find local Meetups in this area and learn from those who have the land and are doing it.

#rtgsurvival day at the range. Team America!

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Work out!

Bottom line: Take care of yourself. Get exercise. Eat a vegetable every now & then. Get and stay in shape with some cross training. Learn a little self-defense or become a ninja.

I’ll be honest, if you can’t lug your 25 lb bug out bag on foot for a mile or two – you’re gonna die! Your health could be your best defense in an emergency situation and the most overlooked aspect of the survival mindset. Keep up with doctor’s visits, regular check-ups and preventative health and nutrition practices. Last thing you want in an emergency is a case of the sniffles or premature physical exhaustion.

You don’t have to be a marathon runner or bodybuilder to survive a true emergency. But a baseline of good physical fitness could make the difference between life and death.

Out of shape? Think you can’t do it on your own? Don’t just join a gym. A lot of us do not enjoy working out – I get it. Motivation and accountability are the biggest factors for why Americans have such high obesity. Join a gym and take classes if this sounds like you. Do CrossFit, Fusion type classes or low resistance training in a group environment or with a buddy. This will prepare your body to take on physical challenges and enable you to endlessly flip any size tires across warehouse floors for years to come.

More of a DIY’er when it comes to personal fitness? Well, then let me Google that for you. The internet is cool.

Next thing – You’ve heard the phrase that the best offense is a good defense.

Well, in a disaster situation, the best offense is often a good self-defense. Self-defense doesn’t mean you have to be a black belt, fighting crime and swinging high kicks at enemies – although that would be awesome. In emergency situations, ‘self-defense’ simply means that you’ve given yourself a fighting chance, or having a way to defend your body through acting and reacting to a situation. Pick an area of study, boxing, kickboxing, BJJ, Muy Tai, whatever. Hell, make it a fun family activity – trust me, your kids will love the idea of a getting a ‘free pass’ to take a swing at one another, and you’ll feel better knowing that your family could defend themselves against physical threats in emergency situations or the obnoxious neighbor’s kids any day of the week.

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Mental Fortitude

Bottom line: Take a deep breath. Focus. Don’t ever think it won’t happen to you. Have a reason to keep on keepin’ on.

You know to expect the unexpected. You’ve educated yourself and your family. You have stocked up on preparations to help you survive any emergency. Now it’s time to strengthen your resolve and pay a little attention to your mind.

If you’re somebody who doesn’t do well under pressure or in stressful situations, remember that a lot of your ability to think and act under pressure comes down to breathing. That’s right – breathing. The way that you are taking in oxygen can have profound effects of both your mind and body.

When disaster strikes, your mind will be racing, your breathing will get short and you might get caught in that deer in the headlights fight-or-flight adrenaline rush. To combat this response, practice deep breathing.

Deep breathing will help – s l o w y o u d o w n. And, while acting quickly is important, you won’t be able to think through your plan unless you breathe deliberately, recenter yourself and focus your mind.

Be proactive. You always want to be ahead of the situation. Having the high ground – pro-acting as opposed to reacting – will keep you calmer and more focused on your ultimate goal – survival.

Practice

Bottom Line: Tom Brady, yes Tom Brady didn’t become a legend and the top of his game by not practicing. Not just famous athletes or celebrities – everyone is training and practicing. Since they are – you must to.

You can read and prepare and worry and breathe all you want but if you don’t go through the actual motions, when the real thing happens, all you’ll have is a bunch of memorized facts and a theoretical idea of how to survive. Once you’ve prepared properly, it’s time to practice. Recreate a disaster situation. Get into character. Pretend your life is on the line. Who doesn’t love a little role playing to spice things up?

Time yourself. How quickly can you get all your prepared materials, gather your family and get out the door? How quickly can you get from one point along your evacuation route to another? These things matter and will give you a better idea of how you can adjust your plan to fit your needs.

The Ultimate Bottom Line:

With a Survival Mindset, you can do anything. If you expect, if you prepare, if you strengthen your mind and body, and if you practice – you set yourself up not just to survive – but to thrive in any circumstance.


One thought on “Survival Mindset – Physical and Mental Preparedness for TEOTWAWKI

  1. Great post on the importance of cultivating a survival mindset. A lot of times, all that it takes to succeed is just one more try, one last stand.

    I love the your concise style of writing. I am working on a few survival articles of my own and I am glad that I have found your website – it sets a very good example.

    “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
    Charles R. Swindoll

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