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  • Mike L

Head Games



I have stated before that prepping is a way of life. As best you can, you prepare for the expected as well as the unexpected. Food and water; firearms and ammunition; a strong network and a safe place to live are all critical, however; without the proper mentality, your efforts are likely to be for naught.


I have also stated before that people can and do survive disasters and other horrific events without special training, equipment, or advanced preparation. What gives? It's attitude. Like art, beauty and porn, attitude is often tough to define but you know it when you see it. I'm not referring to the bad-tempered, disagreeable behavior that's the norm these days. I'm referring to inner strength, a quiet resolve, the gumption to find a way to survive and succeed in the face of circumstances that are overwhelming to so many others.


My journey as a life-long athlete began in high school as a wrestler. I had nearly everything I needed to be a successful and formidable wrestler. I was fast; my repertoire of technique was extensive, and I had crazy endurance. The missing ingredient, I was told, was that I wasn't hungry; I wasn't aggressive enough. Bottom line, I didn't want to be a champion. As an intelligent and reflective young man, I didn't understand this assessment especially since I always had winning seasons. I put forth the effort in practice; I was passionate about the sport; I wasn’t afraid to test my skills against that of others. I graduated high school and moved on with my life. I'd occasionally recall the comments of the wrestling coach, but I had no more clarity as to what he meant, and I still wasn't comfortable with that assessment.


Years later, I finally understood the coach's assessment and more, I acknowledged that he was right. There were times when I lost the match in my head long before I ever stepped onto the mat. This pattern manifested itself in my life many times over the years and it took me a long time to figure it out. My skills and ability were never the problem, it was my intention. I’ll unpack this more in a minute.


It’s possible to change your life simply by changing how you think. Changing how you think can be done in two seconds and you can see immediate results. This sounds like an oversimplification but, I assure you, it’s as real as the ground upon which you stand. Here’s a test: when presented with something new, different, or unexpected, is your first reaction to complain or view the situation with fear? These emotions are perfectly normal. It’s what you do with them that matters most. If you stay there in the grips of fear and frustration again, a normal response, producing a favorable outcome becomes far harder. In a sense, fear, specifically, the loss of control, safety, and security, is baked into prepping.


Whether or not we can ever truly control these outcomes is another post for another time. Instead, I think it’s far more likely that we can influence and mitigate situations to create a more favorable outcome. For example, rather than running out of gas on the drive home in a snowstorm, you stop and get gas. Most people plan for the day when they will decide to stop working. Money is set aside expressly for this purpose. To avoid the financial ruin of a motor vehicle accident and comply with state law, most motorists have auto insurance. Like I said, these examples are oversimplifications, but you get the idea. They’re all examples of prepping, too!  


A minute ago, I mentioned intention. For this post, I’m going to call intention a plan of action. I’m going to break the plan into a series of steps to illustrate how it works. 1) I went to practice daily and put forth the effort to test and refine my technique. 2) I was happy and secure in my identity as a high school wrestler. 3) I ate properly to ensure that I’d be able to make weight- be at or under the required weight from my weight class- at the weigh-in before the match. 4) I was often nervous but excited as the tournaments neared. 5) I sometimes lost focus of the commitment required to win. 6) During such moments, I didn’t adapt or respond with a renewed intention. Said differently, I didn’t always see myself winning and in those instances, the opposite of winning was losing.


I didn’t know if I believed I could win or not, thus the assessment of me not being hungry and lacking aggression. So, the conversations we have with ourselves absolutely matter. Doubt and negativity are forms of fear. Thousands of years ago, fear kept us safe from wild animals. The world is a different place, but our doubts and fears still play pivotal roles in our daily lives. Before your eyes glaze over and you ask what all of this has to do with prepping, reread the second sentence of this post. Prepping is actively preparing for the expected and the unexpected. If fear is baked into prepping, so are determination and resilience and in greater quantities.


I regularly look for opportunities to test the effectiveness and practicality of my preps. I know that what I’m doing matters and can make a difference in my life and that of my family. There’s no way that I can prepare for every eventuality, nor can I predict the outcome of future events. What I do know is that thoughts matter and I’m a fighter!                   

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