This page was last updated on Thursday, 30 April, 2015.
Michael Pereiara | 30 April, 2015 | Contact
Letís talk about your list. Not the list of guns you own or the types of seeds you have stored and not even your Christmas list. Today, Iíd like you to think about your skills list. If you are in the preparedness community, you will more than likely, have a decent list of survival skills. But what about when you have gotten past the survival stage, or perhaps before you get to the survival stage, you should have a list of skills that you can contribute to society.
Letís say, for instance, that the lights went out tomorrow. With no electricity, what can you bring to the table? I posit the question both literally and figuratively, because at some point you will need to have tangible skills that will either be used to rebuild civilization as you know it, or will be used to stop its degeneration in the first place. In a world without electricity, you will need skills without electricity. I think about this often as I venture into my office job. I have been blessed to have had a life of wondrous variety and I try not to take that for granted as look around at my co-workers and management team. These are all good people. Some of the best I have known. But, I also know that when the lights go out nine out of ten of them will be dead in the first year. Not because they werenít prepared, though they are generally not. (I have maybe four people out of the 300 in our office that I would consider prepared.) But they will die because they wonít have the skills to survive. Even if they had a yearís worth of food stocked up, they wonít have skills to grow more once its gone or even defend it in the meantime. They donít have the skills to fix their car or even know how to diagnose a problem with an automobile. They donít know how to build a home. They donít know how to sharpen a knife. Basically, they donít know $h!t. And it saddens me to think that they wasted all that time watching football or basketball or drinking beer at the bar, when they should have been collecting knowledge and skills that would help them in life.
Now donít get me wrong, I catch an occasional football game and I am a big fan of UFC and MMA in general, but I also practice martial arts and boxing. I play a game or two of Call of Duty, but I put in time at the range as well. I will watch an episode or two of house flipping or some remodeling shows, but I spend a lot more time actually building things, fixing things or repurposing things than I ever did in front of a television. This is mostly due to the fact that I grew up poor and as a young man I worked in Brick Masonry, Vinyl and Wood Siding, Sheet Rocking and other trades. I wasnít born into money by any means, so I had to fix my own cars, find my own work and learn any skills that I needed in order to survive. Like most other preppers I know, I have a natural thirst for knowledge, mine was just kick-started out of necessity.
Thatís actually how I ended up with a career in the technology field. I broke my computer. Then I fixed it. After I did that about a hundred times, I got pretty darn good with computers and the rest is history. The point is that I relied on myself to get things done, because nobody was coming to save me. It was sink or swim, so I chose to swim. It was never easy, but I never let that get in the way. I realize that not everyone has that same sense of urgency to learn everything possible. We are all different, but at what point do you call laziness and a lack of insight out for what it is. Things are not getting better on this rock we float through space on. Quite frankly, the opposite is true. Things are getting worse by the minute and in the near future there will be a reconciling in some way, shape or form. Itís the natural laws of physics and nature that will come back to haunt all of my fellow co-workers and their ilk. Whether by natural disaster, economic collapse or war, the world is headed towards a rude awakening at blinding speed. I wonít list all the possible calamities we face as you are all very familiar with them. Itís the folks in the rose colored glasses crowd who need to wake up and smell the reality.
We all know people like this, who pay another person to change their oil or cut their grass or clean their home. I donít mean to speak ill of these folks. Iím glad they work hard and can afford those luxuries. I am extremely grateful to have the career I do and the option to pay someone else or do it myself, but I wonder if I would be here if it wasnít for my lust for learning and my need for skills from the start. I once read when I was younger that the more you learn the more you will earn. Growing up poor gave me all the motivation I needed when it came to earning living and I have worked ever since I was fifteen years old. All through high school and community college I worked at any job I could. At one time I had three part time jobs while I was in school full time. Not that Iím special for that, but that is what I had to do, so I did it. When you are forced to rely on yourself for everything, you get good at it pretty quickly. Soon you develop a mindset and the self-confidence to do just about anything. This is something that the Pajama Boy crowd who think the government will always fix things for them doesnít seem to understand.
When we do hit hard times, and I donít believe that is far off, these folks who paid everyone to do their menial tasks in life for them will be in for a shock to say the least. Some of my peers and friends will be caught like a deer in the headlights of a car while the get it done crowd is moving to safety. What will these unskilled folks do when money is no longer available or is essentially worthless?
I really do feel sadness for them because of what they will have to endure as they learn these skills on the job, so to speak. Most of these folks have never started a fire without a match or lighter, if they have ever started one at all. Even if the only skills you have in life are prepping/bushcraft skills, at least you can survive on your own. But to thrive, you will need more than survival skills. You will need to be able to either do for yourself or contribute to a community. Both scenarios have their merit and I suspect that the nature of the disaster will have a lot to do with how we either try to prevent a collapse or bounce back from one. But, no matter how you look at it, you will need more than just survival skills in the long run. The food, fuel, water and supplies you have stocked up will eventually run out. When they do, you will need a plan on how to best handle that.
This doesnít mean you have to know everything about everything. That is impossible, but being knowledgeable about certain things will serve you well as a prepper or as a regular everyday member of society. You donít have to be a commando who can build a mansion from scratch and rebuild an engine at the same time. But you should have some skills in all of these disciplines to be truly prepared for whatever the future holds.
You can start building your list by taking your survival skills and looking at them from the long Ė term perspective. Security, shelter, food and water will be needed for as long as you intend to live. Once the chaos is over, it would be nice to live in a decent cabin or home and to grow your own foods and purify your own water. It will be nice to drive somewhere instead of walking. It will be nice to harness energy from the sun wind and water. Being able to do any of these things in long term fashion is a great skill.
If you are alone or if you are only with a small group of people, skills in building, repairing and re-purposing will be absolutely essential. If you donít mind being around others, you should seek out a community of like-minded, similarly skilled people. Joining a group like this has many benefits as communities of skilled tradesmen will thrive while groups of unskilled survivors will die off. So, if you donít have the time or motivation to become a jack of all trades, then you should find a group now and learn skills that will fill a gap in what they currently have. Or perhaps you already have a specialized skill that you use in your day to day life that will be essential when the hammer falls, all the better to be around like minded folks who have skills you donít. They will need you as much as you need them. But, just because you are a nurse or mechanic in your day job doesnít mean that you can put all worries aside. There is always room for more skills. A mechanic with a few years gardening experience would be twice as handy when the time comes. A perfect example of what we should all be striving for is a YouTuber who goes by the handle WranglerStar. He has a homestead he works full time and documents on YouTube. It is extremely informative and entertaining as well. Check out his channel and I guarantee you will become a fan of his work. He isnít any different than any of us and he is only semiskilled in certain areas by his own admission, but he never backs away from a challenge. He doesnít let his lack of experience impede his success. He is simply determined to accomplish whatever he sets his mind to.
The everyday issues that the unmotivated masses now fix by dropping them off in someone elseís lap along with some cash will seem insurmountable to them when they can no longer fix life with money. These folks will most likely fade into extinction like the dinosaurs due to their lack of preparedness.
Make no mistake it is preparedness that we are talking about, just a different type. The definition of skills changes when catastrophe strikes. In todayís society we overvalue and glorify the office worker who canít live without the latest gadget. But, todayís big wigs and techno-nerds will be tomorrowís poor, hungry masses. Most of the folks reading this article will already know that, but to the few weekend warrior preppers or those who thirst for knowledge, I ask, how is your list looking?