My Philosophy Of Prepping: Have A Plan, What If ? (Part 6)

18 Feb

For those who haven’t read the previous posts, let’s recap: Being a prepper involves a certain mindset. You want to understand the physical world around you. That could mean knowing how to repair your roof or it could mean knowing how to dress a deer. It involves believing you have a right to protect and defend your family against the malicious actions of others. It means you understand you can’t save the whole world. That’s not realistic. You focus on protecting your family.

Part 6 is something I’ve seen in every prepper I’ve ever known. Preppers have a plan. They have backup plans. They always ask: “What if…?” Preppers are planners. Preppers like options. The don’t like being boxed in. They don’t like being limited.

Asking “What if…?” leads you to prepare and plan.

* What if your running water became unavailable for a week? What would you do?

* What if two violent criminals smashed through your front door? How would you respond?

* What if your vehicle broke down while on a deserted road? What course of action would you pursue?

* What if social unrest lead to groceries being unavailable in the stores? How would you feed your family?

Some plans are simple. More complex plans fail. A famous quote goes something like this: “Plans mean nothing. The process of planning means everything.” As you plan, you confront scenarios. Having thought about those scenarios give you a leg up on people who haven’t given any thought to the issue.

Some people mock preppers because of this advanced “What if” thinking. We see this on the Doomsday Preppers TV show. The show asks each featured prepper to tell them one doomsday event they’re prepping for. One prepper preps for economic collapse. Another for a solar flare that knocks out the power grid. A third for a genetic mutation that turns turtles into mutant Ninja killers that seek to destroy the human race. The more extreme scenario the show finds, the more it likes it.

Then an expert smugly comes on at the end and tells people the chances of the event happening is one in a billion. The implicit message: Preppers are idiots worrying about exceptionally unlikely events. The media profits from this negative stereotyping.

Here’s the thing: These preppers are prepared for a whole host of other possibilities. The guy “worried” about mutant turtles is completely prepared for his power going out because of a winter ice storm. If that guy looks at the short list above, he’s prepared for any of those unpleasant scenarios. If I made a list of twenty bad situations, he’s prepared for them. The only thing he has left to work on his is mutant turtle defense.

It’s difficult for the mind of a prepper not to plan and prepare. He wants something to prep for, even if he’s already prepared for nearly anything life can throw at him.

Some people just don’t think this way. Some people will hop in their car and drive across a desert without giving the journey a second thought. It usually turns out fine. Not always.

The prepper asks: “What if the car gets a flat tire along the journey?”

Non-Prepper: I’ll call AAA for help.

Prepper: What if you can’t get a cell phone signal?

Non-Prepper: Ah, I’ll change the tire myself!

Prepper: Is your spare tire in the trunk inflated?

Non-Prepper: It should be. Why wouldn’t it be?

Prepper: Because many spares are very low on air or flat. Do you know how to use your jack?

Non-Prepper: Ah, aren’t there instructions on it?

Prepper: Have you looked at them?

Non-Prepper: No.

Prepper: OK. Let’s give the benefit of the doubt. You have a good tire. You have a jack. You get your tire repaired. You continue the journey. Wonderful. What if your radiator hose bursts instead of a flat tire? What do you do then? Cell phone still doesn’t work.

Non-Prepper: I’d wait for another vehicle! HA! I’d catch a ride with them.

Prepper: What if it doesn’t come? Ever. You took a road rarely used. You don’t see another car for three days.

Non-Prepper: I’d wait.

Prepper: Do you have water in your car? You do know you’ll be pretty weak in three days, right?

Going through “What if” scenarios not only helps you prepare, it helps you make better decisions. After the conversation, the non-prepper could keep a map in his car and stick to the better known roads. He can check his spare tire. He’ll have a better sense of when he’s putting himself in risky situations. He’ll know it’s risky to drive across a desert without keeping some water in the car.


2 Responses to “My Philosophy Of Prepping: Have A Plan, What If ? (Part 6)”

  1. thoughtfullyprepping February 18, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

    Preppers aren’t the only people who plan.
    Preppers are usually only thinking short term too while survivalists think way LONGER.

    Survivalists understand that spares and supplies only go so far thus train and equip for a time when they will have to resupply by their own means.
    Thus their whole ethos is built on flexibility not just a plan A or B.

    I read a wonderfully accurate description of what defines a prepper and survivalist.

    A prepper spends their time preparing for the storm that may occur and laying in provisions for the aftermath.
    A survivalist spends their time actively training to withstand the inevitable storm and how to survive afterwards.

    It actually changed my whole perception of what I had been doing i.e. a die hard prepper.

    • preppernextdoor February 21, 2014 at 7:09 am #

      Great comment.

      Thus their whole ethos is built on flexibility not just a plan A or B.

      I agree completely. Flexibility and knowledge beats specific plans that can fall apart.

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