Monday, May 19, 2014

Survival Skill #10 Planning (Part 10 of 10)

The final survival skill that everyone should master is planning.  Continual planning.  It surprises me a great deal when I watch the news coverage of the wildfires in Southern California and every person who is interviewed on the news says "I can't believe this happened...we never expected it!" as they watch their entire home and neighborhood go up in flames.  Really?  You live in an arid place, there is a heatwave with high winds for days, and the ground is covered with burnable material and you don't even think about the possibility of wildfire???

Someone who wants to survive is always planning, always asking "what if?", and always looking at what the future could bring and reacting accordingly BEFORE they reach crisis mode.  Here are ten examples of planning:

  1. You know you are going to die.  I will too and so will everyone you know at some point.  Hopefully it will be a good deal in the future but it could be next week.  Everyone should have a plan for their death (life insurance, a Will, a Living Will, a durable Power of Attorney, etc).
  2. Something will happen that will require a sizable sum of money and you will need it immediately (the furnace blows out in the middle of winter, your car engine blows, a family member ends up critical in the hospital and you need to jet across the country).  Have you planned for such and event and put aside money in an emergency fund for this purpose?
  3. Keeping a job for life is practically unheard of these days.  Lay offs, companies folding, getting fired for whatever reason...have you planned for these possibilities?  You want to always keep your resume up to date, your job skills sharp, and your networking thorough.
  4. You have a house, you have a car, you have kids.  Just by looking at these circumstances, the person who plans will already be looking forward to replacing the roof, replacing vehicle tires, and paying for braces.  None of these sorts of of everyday expenses should come as a surprise.
  5. It isn't if but when you will need to evacuate your home.  It is almost a certainty that at some time during the course of your life (hopefully only once, for some people this happens with unfortunate regularity), you will need to evacuate at a moment's notice.  It could be due to a wildfire, flooding, police activity, a stalker, a chemical spill, your kid or spouse being taken by ambulance to the hospital...for whatever reason, you will need to grab and go.  In this case, the planner already has a comprehensive BOB at the ready to take with them.
  6. You walk through the mall or the tourist attraction that has drawn the interest of your kids.  The average person walks around being amused by what they see.  The planner takes note of emergency exits, the people who are passing by, and wonders 'what if I need to evacuate my family immediately...what would I do?'
  7. You are a young person just out of college working a crappy minimum wage job.  You can become one of the crowd (I'm entitled to a higher minimum wage, I am entitled to work 40 hours per week) or you can be a planner (and a do-er) and figure out how to develop multiple streams of income that will, in the future, provide more money that you ever though possible (this is my plan for starting a small business, this is my plan for building my skill set, etc).
  8. You don't have a whole lot of hope for the (socio-economic) future of your country.  If all goes well, your worry will be for nothing, but the planner determines what skills would be necessary in this uncertain future and makes a plan to develop these needed skills (by joining the local HAM radio club, by spending free time camping and backpacking, by reading incessantly, etc).
  9. You are a planner by nature so have no problem (and indeed enjoy) planning tasks (keeping a calendar, using a daily/weekly/annual "to do" list, drawing out plans for everything from achieving the career of your dreams to continually refining your BOB).
  10. Many times throughout the day, you stretch your planning muscles by wondering "what if?"  What if an active shooter appears within the next ten minutes?  What if my boss fires me next week/promotes me next week?  What if the spouse suddenly up and leaves?  What if my kid decides they want to go to Harvard instead of a state school?  What if the price of coffee triples in the next few weeks?  What if I win the lottery?

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