I am a bit dismayed that many people these days have very few actual survival skills. Years--and I mean many years--ago, learning basic survival skills was just a part of life. Granted this was in rural areas where every kid knew how to use a gun, everyone had basic gardening skills, and the can-do attitude was alive and well.
These days my cynical self sees people who wouldn't even know how to feed themselves if the local fast food places were to close down, parents who can't or won't teach their kids the basics of reading/writing/arithmetic because "schools are supposed to do that", and people with advanced degrees who can't find a job because none of the jobs available pertain to their degree so they remain jobless even though there are plenty of other jobs that need workers (the "jack of all trades" type of workers seem to be few and far between these days). But I digress. Here are a bunch of skills, many of the old fashioned kind, that will serve anyone facing a SHTF situation...
- Be fit. With more than 70% of the American population being overweight or obese, we are a country of decidedly not fit people. Fitness--the ability to walk or run far distances, lift heavy things, push heavy things, pull heavy things, crawl under things, climb over things, etc--will serve anyone well in a disaster situation. The good part is that people can move towards being fitter at any point in their lives so start today.
- Be healthy. Our health statistics are nearly as dismal as our obesity statistics. Chronic diseases that come along with aging--hypertension, diabetes, other chronic illnesses--used to happen to "old" people, these days it is not uncommon to see such health conditions in very young people. Again, this is something that most people can take control of today simply by eating healthy food, exercising, de-stressing, getting some sunlight and fresh air, drinking water instead of soda, etc.
- Practice a range of interpersonal skills. Skills like empathy and manners and following directions used to be taught on the daily in a variety of ways--at school, by parents, on TV, at church, in books, etc. It seems like the learning of these skills is a bit more hit or miss now than they used to be. I've seen people who were less intelligent and less skilled zip ahead of others in the workplace simply because they had better interpersonal skills, needless to say, having a good grasp of these skills will go a long way when working with others in a SHTF situation.
- Have multiple sources of income. So many people were blindsided by the pandemic (as well as many other types of disasters) because they relied on one job to provide all of their income. When the job disappeared, either because it was shut down by the government or became financially unviable and everyone was let go, people were left with zero income. Relying on unemployment was a crapshoot for many people (it took some people in my city over a year to receive the pittance of unemployment they were due) so by having multiples sources of income you will be much better prepared to weather financial storms.
- Have money. When it comes to any sort of disaster--pandemic, wildfire, earthquake, hot water tank dying in dramatic fashion, etc--having money will help you weather the disaster so much better than not having money. With money you can easily buy a new hot water tank, you can have Instacart bring all the groceries you need, you can evacuate in comfortable style by staying at hotels instead of in your vehicle. Have cash in your wallet, cash safely stashed at home, cash in the bank, and cash in investments.
- Diversify your assets. If your only asset is a mountain of GME stock or Dogecoin, your financial security is in a very perilous position. By diversifying your assets--cash, gold, silver, barterable items, stocks and other investments, cryptocurrency, etc.--you will be able to handle whatever our financial system brings (if cash collapses due to hyperinflation, you will have plenty of barterable items; if crypto is wiped out, you will still have plenty of cash and valuable metals).
- Be debt free. The best place to be financially is owing no one. The peace it brings you is invaluable, you actually own your assets (like a car or house) instead of the bank owning it, and you can get through financial disasters much easier without a stack of bills to pay each month.
- Live below your means and blend in with the neighbors. Living below your means is a given if you want to be financially secure, it also helps you blend in with the neighbors which makes you and your home less a target for burglary or theft (we are so minimalist that we often joke that if a burglar did break in, they would probably break into the neighbors house just to bring stuff over to our minimal home). In a world where flashing cash on Instagram and driving a car you can't afford is the norm, doing the opposite will help you stay on the downlow and not bring undue attention to yourself.
- Have skills. What skills do you have that would help you during a disaster, or, in fact, any small day-to-day emergency? Here is a sample list (there are many more skills to have than this but this list is a good start). A wide range of skills will help you fix whatever situation you find yourself in as well as provide something to barter with others, it will also increase your leadership abilities, and allow you to provide for friends and family when needed.
- Know who you can rely on. Do you have a wide range of people you can rely on during a disaster? How does your friend and acquaintance list look? When I look at my list of friends, family members, buddies, and acquaintances, I realize I could probably start a small country with the wide range of skills and abilities they have. Of course, you want to be an asset to your friends and relatives as well. No man is an island and everyone needs help sometimes so cultivate relationships with like-minded people.