Self preservation is often one of the first things to kick in when our survival is threatened, and it is only natural as it is a part of the survival instinct. This impulse can be triggered by something as minor as a storm moving through the area. Suddenly people start to hoard food. They begin to hold up and isolate themselves from their neighbors, even their friends, and family. Although self preservation is important, we can often increase our chances of getting through a situation unscathed if we join forces with others as a community working together. When we work together with others, we accomplish more exponentially than we do alone. This concept was presented to me by Richard Rose, an old man from the hills of West Virginia whose wisdom was unsurpassed in so many areas of life, but that is another story. Richard spoke of the Contractors Law, which works something like this. If one man can clear a field in a week, then two may be able to clear it in six days. Three may get it done in a day and a half, and so on. Try observing this law in action the next time you go to work. Unless you work completely alone, you will see how this law works. While you are at it, observe your co-workers. Don’t forget to include yourself in this observation. Who is the most reliable? Who is the weakest link? Who is best suited for any given task? Chances are, the same rules that apply in everyday life also apply in a survival situation, whether it be urban, or wilderness. The main difference may be the level of intensity of the situation, and the overall level of consciousness demanded of us.
When you really look at life, we are all in some degree of a survival situation every day of our lives. If we don’t clothe ourselves properly, we expose ourselves to environmental hazards. If we don’t exercise proper hygiene, we expose ourselves, and those around us to potential disease, and health problems. If we aren’t conscious and alert when we drive, we endanger everyone in our path. The list goes on, and on. You get the idea.
Some of the points I am getting to here relate to whether you are a part of the solution, or part of the problem in a given situation. All of us have strengths, and weaknesses. Awareness of these is one of the first steps to improvement. After an initial observation and assessment, it is time to take action. I refer again to one of my mentors here, Richard Rose, who insisted that one of the fundamental acts of self development is to get the house in order. This applies to both our internal house, that is to say, our inner self, our mind, our thoughts, and actions. Those things that are our inner self. This is the part of ourself that makes up who we are, regardless of our external environment. Our other house begins with our immediate environment, starting with the clothes on our back, to our home, our neighborhood, town, on and on to the outer fringes of the universe that holds our world in its near perfect place. More simply put, you have to get your mind right, and your surroundings organized.
It is clear that our first step is awareness. Our next step is action. As the old adage goes, “Every journey begins with a single step”. Take simple measures. Don’t try to do everything at once, or you will get overwhelmed. In a survival setting, you have to establish an order for things. Once established, stick to that order. Remember that a proper mental attitude is probably the single most important element for survival. Next on the list is shelter, and again I stress, starting with the clothes on your back. Next is going to be water, and fire, then last is food. Water and fire are listed in the same breath, as you will likely need fire to purify your water.
There are measures you can take to be better prepared before you find yourself in a full survival situation. Begin by clearing out clutter in both your inner self as well as your outside environment. Make sure you have access to things you use in your daily life. This may mean knowing how many steps it takes to get out of your house in an emergency, or where you will meet up with other family members in the event of a crisis. Do you have a coordinated neighborhood plan where, as neighbors, you look out for one another? In the process of getting your house in order, work to establish good habits. Most of us want the best for our families, ourselves, and our fellow man, but if we don’t make a conscious effort, we may place others unknowingly at risk. The simple act of washing your hands after being in public, using the bathroom, or petting the family cat, can prevent illness from infecting the whole family. Suppose you have a flat tire, and after changing it decide you are too tired to properly secure the jack. A week later, you slam on the brakes, narrowly escaping an accident. All is well except that the jack you failed to secure is hurled at great force into the back of your head leaving you with a permanent injury.
These are just a few examples of why it is important to keep our house in order. Consider the priceless value of the Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared”. It could save your life, and maybe the lives of those around you.
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