Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Getting started... its not just about the toys

So... you have your Gucci kit, your bug out bag was personally designed and fitted out by the SAS and SEAL Team 6, turns into a tent and can fly. Your house has enough food to last 6 years, you've got a bunker in your garden, solar panels everywhere and a secret passage to the nearest hypermarket.

What's missing from this picture?

Well, what you have is a 'hobby', a nice hobby but a hobby all the same. Like collecting teapots, trainspotting, breeding goats or my personal favorite, collecting books, you are just 'collecting' some cool equipment and effectively displaying it around your house. You need a 'survival mindset' if you're going to put your display items to good use.

Arguably the survival mindset is key to everything. In the 1740's, four Russian sailors marooned in the arctic survived for 6 years with the clothes on their backs, a musket with twelve balls and twelve charges of black powder, a single knife, a single axe, a small kettle, twenty pounds of flour in a bag, a tinderbox and a little tinder, a pouch of tobacco, and one wooden pipe each. No SAS/SEALS backpacks for them. Why? Because these men were Pomori — literally "seacoast dwellers," hardened and resourceful sailors born and bred in the Russian north. But most importantly they had the survival mindset.

What is this mindset though? Well, that's quite hard to say but let's take a look at our Pomori sailors; they had two vital things that made up for the fact that they had only basic equipment.

First, they had the skills to survive and use their basic kit to it's greatest potential.

Secondly and more importantly they had the willpower to survive those 6 long years; whatever drove them it drove them well and kept them alive far better than any amount of equipment ever would.

It is vital that you all acquire this mindset as you progress and it's something I and the other writers will come back to time and time again. It's about finding the skills to put your nice shiny kit to use, putting those skills to practice in your everyday life, practicing using them, testing yourself, your limits and finally finding the willpower to not give up when the worst of the worst happens. It's probably the hardest part of 'prepping', prepping your mind, but it is possible and, once again, it's not all work and no play. I promise you we will have fun with this one! Seriously, once you have found the joy of, for example, being able to survive by yourself out in the jungle/forest/desert for a week you will never turn back. I promise.

So to round off, this really is a sort of 'introduction' to a set of articles Josh and I wrote and will release over the coming two weeks, covering some very basic aspects of the 'mindset' and giving you a few skills to start you off. We've got a bit on getting fit, some stuff on getting out of a bad situation alive and even a little on what to do if someone decides they'd like to steal your lunch money.

See you there


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