Most of us have mountains in our life both literally and figuratively. For the luckiest among us, those mountains are beautiful shapes in the distance with snow-covered peaks touching the clouds. Those awe-inspiring formations frame our gaze toward the horizon with a completely different backdrop that easily makes one feel small and insignificant by comparison. I was on a hunting trip several years ago and our camp was right at the base of the Rockies and I was so consumed by the beauty of that sight filling my vision every day that I am sure I missed dozens of deer. I took more photographs than actual shots because I couldn’t keep my eyes off the sight in front of me. The distraction only impacted my hunting ability – I was still able to bag one, but I remember the mountains more than anything else on that trip.
For others, there are figurative mountains in our life, but they share some common traits. By mountains in this context, I mean hurdles, challenges, and obstacles in our journey towards our ideal of preparedness. For some of us, these mountains that we see in front of us are of our own creation. The shape and scale of our own individual mountains are formed by what we imagine standing between us and our goals. We sometimes refer to the “mountain of information”, or “mountains of supplies” and I think that some of us view the obstacles in place of our goals as a blocker. Instead of a challenge to overcome slowly with time and determination, these obstacles become an insurmountable vision in the distance that we can’t ignore or overcome. This morphs into our reason why we will never be prepared and our excuse to not even try in the first place.
What are the Prepping Mountains in your life?
I got the idea for this article from a comment on our recent post “Prepping Lite – Ideas for Those Not Willing To Commit” from a reader and sometime Prepper Journal author, Matt who said he had a friend who wished he could start prepping but didn’t have the money. In his comments, the funny thing was that this friend already has a number of guns and ammo along the way. It struck me that a lot of people are like Matt’s friend. We see the obstacles, but not what we already have. It is though without some particular aspect of what we consider “being prepared” in our possession; the rest is a deal breaker. Without X, we aren’t prepared, so why even start? This friend had a mountain in his life in this one area that he couldn’t see around. It loomed in front of him so large that he thought he couldn’t do anything about it.
These mountains have some common themes that I have picked up from detractors in the past.
Money – You don’t have enough money to prepare. This is probably the most common mountain I see for people. Either that or they make detailed spreadsheets with pricing and vendors for each item and end up with analysis paralysis.
Time – You may have money, but you don’t have the time to research and learn what needs to be done. Usually this manifests itself into purchasing a lot of “12 Easy Steps to getting prepared” books or looking into 6 month food storage supplies.
Resources – Another big one are the people who live in areas they don’t feel would facilitate becoming more prepared. Urban areas or people who live in apartments, senior citizens or disabled persons. This also applies to people who believe that if you aren’t part of a survival group, there is no point in preparing because you are going to die anyway.
Family – When your family or your spouse is not on board with your prepping efforts, this can be a huge mountain for a lot of reasons.
Everybody says – You will forever hear that prepping is stupid or you are over reacting or a hundred other ways people, the media and even the government will use to try to make efforts to become prepared seem fringe or weird. You are hardly alone.
Like my literal mountains on that hunting trip years ago, these figurative mountains get in our way and distract us. We can focus so much on the view of what is ahead of us, or our obstacle that we forget what is going on around us. We let the mountain or our problems blind us to what we have already, what we can do, where we already are in life and what is possible.
What can you do to level that mountain?
It is easy to focus on the obstacles in our path and there are far more reasons people give that you should not prepare. Making excuses is easy and it is the default position for people who aren’t prepping themselves. I think this comes from two types of people. The first are the really clueless who believe nothing bad will ever happen. You can write them off completely because history has shown time and time again, bad things do happen.
The other type are people who are smart and will even agree with you that prepping on some level is prudent, but they still won’t prepare because they are afraid of how it will make them look or more likely they simply don’t care. These types of people are usually shallow, vain, usually obsessed with Social Media and will be in for a rude awakening. The first type will stay in denial forever, but the second type will come around when it is too late.
The trick is to listen to your own gut on prepping. Do you feel that being prepared is logical? Is this something you can see value in? If you are reading this blog you probably do. Prepping is not a quick win, it is a long-term lifestyle and you will change your mind and perspective as you go along. Similar to hiking up a mountain, your view will change as you go and learn, but you have to plan your journey ahead of time to make the most of your trip.
If you are serious about prepping, here is what you can do to level those mountains in front of you.
Plan your journey – I recommend anyone who wants to start prepping needs to sit down and think first. It is easy to read some blogs and run out to the sporting goods store and put a serious hurting on your credit cards. That might scratch that prepping itch for a while, but you could end up wasting time and money on things you don’t need. Take some time and research what you are prepping for and then write down what “being prepared” would look like to you. I watched movies, read blogs and hundreds of articles then I started writing down everything I thought I needed on a big sheet of paper broken out into groups. Make four groups (Water, Food, Shelter, and Security) and start writing down everything you think you need. Don’t buy anything just yet.
Inventory your supplies – Unless you live in a cave in the middle of the woods, you probably have some of the items on your list already. Matt’s friend sounds like he already had the security box checked, so seeing that on his list might make him realize that he didn’t have as far to go as he thought. Additionally, it might help to focus him on what he needs.
Prioritize what you need – Once you have a list of what you have and what you need, consider what you are prepping for again. If you are planning for a blackout, it might make sense to move alternative power (Shelter and possibly security) items on your list up higher. If you have smaller children, maybe additional food and clothes might be more important. Each person’s situation will be different so make the list fit your life, your needs and your priorities. The priority list will help you focus on acquiring supplies you need. In my situation, water was moved to a higher priority in the beginning because you need it to live, it is easy to stock up on, so that moved to the top. I was quickly able to check that box and move on to the next area of my plan.
Take it one step at a time – Prepping isn’t a race, it is a lifestyle. If you are serious, this will take some time and even though you feel a sense of urgency I wouldn’t panic. Learn as much as you can and become more prepared as you go each day with knowledge and stocking away supplies. You don’t have to have a months’ worth of food stocked up if you can’t afford it. Start with another day. You don’t have to have a rain barrel system and 1500 gallons of water stored up right now. Start with a few gallons and build. Just like climbing a mountain, it will take time. You may have to back up and try another path, but you can make it. Don’t let anything make you think being prepared is impossible.