Building mindset and starting from the beginning.
A survival instructor once told me that your ability to survive should center on how you would survive if you were in a shipwreck. Can you survive off of what’s in your pockets and the skills you've developed?
Every day carry pictures are all over the internet and what people decide to have on them significantly depends on their personal situation and various skill levels.
But the problem I see most often is people showcasing gear they have as a show and tell looking for approval or likes in social media. Custom pistols with no scratches and wear marks. UnusedKnives, notebooks without an earmark or crease to be seen and other custom equipment in near pristine condition.
Why would you carry gear that you’ve never tested in adverse conditions?
Simple answer – you shouldn’t.
But even taking a step back from what’s in your pockets every day the real question should be, “What purposes are these items serving?"
It is easy to listen to a YouTuber or proclaimed survivalist talk about why they have it, but if you don’t have training in that particular item or tool than should you even have it with you?
Mindset and training are far more important than the items you carry.
Having a pistol and a concealed weapons permit does not make someone a gunfighter or defender of the public. It is the equivalent of someone owning an acoustic guitar walking around in public with it.
They own it, but that doesn’t mean they are capable of playing it, especially to the benefit of others.
As your situational awareness, critical thinking, and skill sets increase so does the knowledge and equipment you carry. If your 16-year-old son decides he wants to be a racecar driver but doesn’t have a license would you put him in a race car and toss him the keys?
I Didn’t think so.
Education starts simply with what you’re doing now, reading and researching. Deciding what tools, courses, and equipment will be to the greatest benefit for where you are at now in your preparedness journey. These educational tools might be to improve your everyday life or for being ready in case of an emergency.
There are numerous ways of building a core set of knowledge and skills. One way I typically recommend to those starting out is to volunteer with a C.E.R.T. group (Community Emergency Response Team). They usually have a certification program that will be free of charge and take a few weekends to complete. This program will typically get you Red Cross Certified in CPR and First Aid; they will go through different disaster scenarios, and you will join a volunteer team who assist first responders during a crisis. Most of these groups work directly with EMS and have liaisons that are at the meetings. Being a part of C.E.R.T. will give you access to training, resources, and people you wouldn't normally have access to for just a small time commitment. It is also a great place to network and meet like-minded individuals with a multitude of backgrounds.
For those looking to jump into a more extensive program SAR (Search and Rescue) is a great program to check out. You will get more extensive training than C.E.R.T. along with a variety of outdoor training in mountaineering, survival, tracking, etc. SAR presents another amazing way to network and acquires knowledge that you might not have had previously.
Other training I recommend for those just starting:
• Red Cross CPR and First Aid
• Martial Arts/ Combative – Specifically Jujitsu, Krav Maga, or a combination of grappling and striking. Most fights end up on the ground, so ground grappling is crucial. Street predators rarely attack one on one. Being able to throw strikes and block them is critical to protecting yourself. A good program should have a substantial contact component to developing the body and teaching it to push it through impact shock and pain.
• NOLS or Certified survival course
• Professional firearms instruction with an Instructor that has been vetted. Meaning they carry recommendations from experts in their field.
• REI – Take this with a grain of salt, but if very new to survival and the outdoors this an excellent way to get your toes wet and ease into these ideas. They have classes on backpacking, gear setup, navigation with map and compass, and a plethora of other courses usually for free or a small charge. It’s a great intro and perfect way to meet other people who are just getting started. They are going to push a lot of gear for purchase, but they also have a great return policy so if you do try something out you can always return in within a year. (I don’t receive any endorsement from REI or any other organizations)
These suggestions are great places to start and begin building skills and meeting others on their path of self-reliance and personal preparedness.
Good luck and I’ll see you out there.
Until next time.