Gloom and Doom
Updated: May 24
The media, mainstream and conservative alike, generally focuses only on the worst of humanity. You rarely read anything positive about someone with different beliefs and values or see them portrayed as fellow human beings. The goal of the media isn’t to keep the people informed and hold governments and the elites accountable. They exist to make money. If there was no money in the chronicling of our lives and events, news outlets would likely not exist in their present form.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with the pursuit of money by a news organization or any other lawful business entity. Stories are featured based upon their ability to shock, to titillate, to enrage, to mollify and, above all, to bewitch. Television in its myriad forms allows us to escape into fantasy far removed from the increasingly frightening and dangerous world we’ve created. Social media gives us a voice; the ability to call out and hold to account those whose wealth, station and influence should be sufficient to ensure their good behavior. Moreover, it gives us a peek into the daily lives of the beautiful and powerful people whom we simultaneously love and despise.
All of which is fine until you consider that we spend far too much time consuming such drivel. We are captives to people and events that do nothing other than keep us overstimulated and distracted from taking the actions that would allow us to live happier, healthier, and better prepared lives. Watching television is a nice way to unwind and shut your mind down after a rough day at work. Social media can be empowering and profitable for you, if used intelligently. In other words, moderation is the key.
What we focus on determines our reality. In a very real sense, we attract the circumstances of our lives. A former manager frequently told me that if I changed the way I think, which I could do in two seconds, I could change my life. With that in mind, let’s allow our focus to determine our reality as it relates to prepping. Here are a few things to consider.
There’s a staggering amount of wealth in the United States yet study after study reports that most Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck and lack the ability to cover a $1000 emergency. In normal times, a dearth of resources is challenging. Once SHTF, this lack could prove fatal. Start setting side cash now. Take a deep dive into your finances and determine which expenditures aren’t essential. I’ve done this before and was able to cut my wasteful spending by over $300 a month! I’m not suggesting a life of austerity. Instead, give yourself a cushion, a safety net by delaying immediate gratification and dramatically reduce, if not eliminate entirely spending on the things that don’t support your larger financial goals. Treat yourself occasionally but keep your goal in sight.
Whatever you choose to believe, the increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters is undeniable. Extreme weather events are occurring in places that previously never experienced such events. Mass shootings, street crime, cybercrime, instability in the financial system, malfeasance on the part of corporations and elected officials all seems to be raging unchecked. This becomes yet another source of stress, anger, and fear. The question to ask is what’s your level of readiness for something out of the norm? Do you have food, water, and money set aside? Can you get your family to safety if ordered to evacuate? If you had to hole up in the house for three weeks, could you do so? Having answers to these questions will not only give you greater peace of mind, but better prepare you for whatever comes next.
Thinking and Acting versus Reacting
In all honesty, living in a state of constant readiness is exhausting and not possible for anyone to do. I’ve stated before that careful, focused planning goes a long way to giving you a level of stability, security, and options during challenging times. Set aside food, water, and other supplies for a ten-day emergency. Create an emergency communication plan to be used by your family in times of crisis. While you’re out for a leisurely Sunday drive, explore alternate routes out of town in advance of a disaster. It's a huge challenge to make effective decisions in the middle of a crisis but, putting plans in place removes much of the later guesswork and allows you to act decisively when it matters most.
Unless your livelihood is based upon social media, get off social media and out of the echo chamber immediately! While you’re at it, limit your consumption of the news. We live in a state of hyperstimulation, and social media and the news are at the core of this. Disconnect from the noise and reconnect with family and friends in the physical world. Identify the aspects of your life that you can control and make changes where you think they’re needed. Focus on the tangibles that impact your life rather than the abstracts. The most precious resource we have is our time. Much like land, no one is making any more if it! Be highly selective in how you use it.
Move Your Ass
Do something different. Get off the couch and get in motion. If practical, bike to the store. Practice intermittent fasting. It’s as simple as not snacking if all you’re doing is sitting around watching TV late at night. You can be more focused and make dinner your last meal and not eat again until breakfast the next morning. Do your research and experiment to find what works best for you.
The goal here is to unplug and reconnect with other people. Wishing for stability, wealth, love and happiness without a plan and action is just that, wishful thinking. There will always be events beyond our understanding and control. However, by changing the way we think and what we give our attention to, we can transform our lives. We can make our small corner of the world a little less frightening. That’s certainly worth the effort.