8 Reasons Why People Refuse to Prep

I’m always fascinated to hear the many reasons why people don’t prep. In our neighborhood, my wife learned from a friend that a mutual acquaintance was planning on coming over to our house in the case of a dire emergency. My wife has met this woman exactly once. So why doesn’t she prep herself? Apparently, she’s just too busy.

Too busy to look out for her own family but not too busy to make the calculated decision that she, her strong, young husband, and their 3 kids will drive a few blocks to our house and, basically, steal from us.

So what other reasons do people have for not prepping? Well, in no particular order, here’s what I came up with:

Sheer stupidity

Yep. In a world filled with vapid video games, celebrity worship, and a shallow understanding of how anything works, anything at all, there are people who have simply never considered doing something today to prepare for tomorrow. They’re the same ones who couldn’t handle a $500 emergency and have to run to the store hours before a hurricane hits to buy milk, bread, and eggs. We know them as “French toast people.”

Their IQs are probably adequate for getting through the mild ups and downs at life, but when thrown a curve ball of any magnitude, their choice is to sit back and wait to be taken care of.

Denial

“It can’t happen to me.” “It’s never happened here.” We’ve all heard these sad refrains and can only pity the people who believe them. If all emergencies came with a 1-month warning, they wouldn’t be emergencies, would they? No matter your income, education, status, or title, sooner or later bad things will happen to you, but, for now, it’s easier to remain in denail than actually think about those scary scenarios and prepare for them.

Fear

We know from basic human psychology that when the human brain is confronted with something terrifying, it sends 1 of 3 signals to the body: freeze, flee, or fight. For Americans who have never had to deal with much out of the ordinary, thinking about a nuclear war, an economic collapse, or a geography-changing earthquake causes them to often freeze. Acknowledging potential and possible scenarios like these is too difficult and they remain frozen in their inaction.

People in this category would do well to read Gavin De Becker’s best-seller, The Gift of Fear, and understand that very often, fear makes us do some pretty smart things, and that includes prepping.

Peer pressure

Now here’s a weird one but I’ve seen it in my wife’s family. Back in the days of Doomsday Preppers, I heard some of them make fun of the preppers depicted in the show and then laugh at a couple of relatives who had thought of prepping themselves. Those folks backed down, as in, “Well, I guess it is kind of silly, huh?” when facing ridicule. Hard to imagine that mature adults, with kids, mortgages, jobs, and other responsibilities would back down, but they did.

Procrastination

I’ve heard it said that TEOTWAWKI has a date. You just don’t know what it is, yet. That dire medical diagnosis, news of a loved ones death, the loss of a job, a Category 5 hurricane, “the storm of the century”, they will all happen at some point. We just don’t have the ability to peer into the future to know exactly what will happen and when. So, most people procrastinate. They’re busy, money is short, the spouse isn’t on board, or maybe they just aren’t all that worried, but for whatever reason, they don’t prep because they’re rather put it off for another month, anothery year.

Normalcy bias

Normalcy bias differs a bit from denial because denial is a conscious choice. Normalcy bias is a little trick our brains play on us. It’s a survival mechanism that causes us to believe that everything will be okay. The Survival Mom writes about witnessing a tragic traffic accident and, to her eyes, seeing a scarecrow fly through the air. In fact, that scarecrow was a human being who had been jettisoned from the car’s window, but her brain insisted, “It’s a scarecrow. Humans don’t fly, silly!”

Our brains for survival and normalcy bias is one way it prepares us for the most traumatic life events. So, for those who insist that really, really bad things will never happen may just be suffering from normalcy bias.

Sense of superiority

If your above average intelligence, wealth, and overall superiority naturally places you in a lofty position, high above the riff-raff, then you probably also scoff at the idea of stocking up on cans of beans. After all, you know best and those dummkopfs on Doomsday Preppers are just a bunch of redneck hillbillies. What could they possibly know that you don’t? Right?

I know people with this attitude, and maybe you do, too. It seems to be a combination of arrogance and denial, a dangerous blending of 2 potentially lethal beliefs. You quickly learn to not even try to reason with these people. After all, if you had their bank balance and degree from a fancy university, you, too, would realize your own invincibility. You poor sap.

Life’s overwhelming burdens

I don’t have much patience with people in the previous categories, but this one, well, I’ve been there — burdened down with a stressful job, behind in paying taxes, rowdy and loud kids, a wife always behind in household chores while trying to keep a smile on her face.

Sometimes life just seems to keep you under its heavy boot and the last thing you need to hear is, “Hey, you’d better start prepping for the end of the world, man.”

Where will the money come from? Where will I get the time when I’m already working 50 hours a week, plus some weekends? On top of everything else, the last thing I need is to start worrying about an economic collapse, a civil war, nuclear bombs going off — I just want to take a nap and maybe escape for a while in front of the TV.I understand and sympathize. I really do.

In the past 9 years, my wife and I have gone through some of these mindsets, or excuses, depending on your point of view. A lot of preppers do but since we understand the need to be ready for when the S really does hit the fan, we eventually get back on our prepper feet and keep going, a little at a time.

With others, though, I don’t nag or even talk anymore about prepping. I don’t want my friends to start avoiding me and in the case of co-workers and family members, I need to maintain a positive relationship with them. They know where to find me if/when they change their mindset about being prepared.

Have I covered all the reasons people avoid prepping or have I missed one?

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18 Responses to 8 Reasons Why People Refuse to Prep

  1. Moe says:

    Noah:
    Nice summary. The only one I would add is those that see prepping only from a doomsday scenario and think we are all going to die anyway. Preparedness is a mindset. Chances of a total breakdown are slim, but most of us will face some sort of emergency. Blizzards are our main concern but others may face hurricanes, floods or tornadoes. Not to mention very few have lifelong job security.

  2. Dawn Singleton says:

    My dad thinks I’m nuts. “Why did you buy more corn? We already have a case of it.” My way of thinking is this….I lost my job once. I was there 9 years and then *poof* I got fired. Then I got my current job. Not my idea of good work but it is a paycheck. Should I lose my job or be out for illness (or his illness since i take care of his house etc.) I want to know where my next meal will come from. I want to know that I can go at least a month or two without needing to buy groceries. With winter coming up, blizzards are a possibility. I may not survive a Nuclear winter but for now…I’m doing ok. Each week I buy a few cans of this, or a few of that…not much but a little at a time.

  3. WhereEaglesDare says:

    What most people don’t realize, that prepping is a way of life. We don’t go around wearing tin hats wanting something to happen. If you’re living beyond your means ( which is a big % of us), or trying to keep up with the jones. You will have a rude awakening when something happens. As the saying goes, “better to be safe than sorry”.

  4. Mic Roland says:

    Hey Noah,
    A variation on your “Sense of Superiority” category that I’ve seen a lot of is Statist Pride. These are folks at work who have very much drunk the Koolaid that The State has all the answers and will take care of everything. They, being good-and-loyal subjects of their nanny state, cannot prep. To do so, would be to admit that their Dear Leaders might not have all the answers. To prep is to distrust: almost treason.

    — Mic

  5. Karen says:

    I started prepping years ago and stopped. Figured people will come in and kill you for your things that you have anyways. Why prep? Constant food going out of date. I think we should learn what to eat off of nature. Made a bug out bag a few years ago and people have been walking away with the stuff as they need it more than I do I guess. Too many thieves in this world.

    • Noah says:

      If I got gotten lazy about prepping, too, my family would have been devastated by Harvey. So far, no one has come to kill us for our food. I think you were just looking for an excuse.

    • Barb says:

      So be ready to defend yourself and your stash. I tend to believe this to an extent, that’s why I also ‘hoard’ knowledge of foraging, they can’t take that away from me.

  6. Brian says:

    This may fall into some categories you have mentioned, but a large percentage of people have no clue of about the past or present. They have no desire to know what is happening around them.

  7. Marcia Moir says:

    For our family prepping is a lifestyle…..we garden….can…dehydrate….and make our meals from scratch….we could go off grid at a moments notice and save a ton of money because we buy in season and in bulk…..has enables us to build a nice deck and pool this year…..plus we eat healthier and live happier….

  8. CONNIE says:

    My husband and I have been prepping now for around 9 years. Our prepping goes be on long & short term food, it is much-much more. you have to think outside the box knowing “everything” you will need for survival. We tried to get our siblings involved and they fit into the categories in this post. We now have come to the conclusion to just keep our mouth shout and keep doing what we feel needs to be done. For all new beginners who feel they want to start to do something but have no clue where to start, there are many great sites to help you get started, just google “BEGINNER PREPPERS, AND HOW TO GET STARTED IN PREPPING.”

  9. Pingback: 8 Reasons Why People Refuse to Prep – Preparedness AdvicePreparedness Advice | SHTF Prepper

  10. Tim says:

    I have had conversations with a few friends that refused to prep because they insisted that God would protect them. I try to explain to these people that God allows bad things to happen to good people every day. Part of being a Christian is using the tools and resources that God gives you wisely.

    • naturegal1943 says:

      That reminds me of a joke. A man was drowning in the sea. A small boat came by and offered to rescue him. He said “No. God will save me.” The Coast Guard came by and he waved them off saying “God will save me.” Then a helicopter came flew over and threw him a rope. He swam away shouting “God will save me!” The man drowned. When he met God he asked why He didn’t save him. God said “I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what did you want?”
      God’s provisions should not be ignored.

  11. Ray c. says:

    You forgot one I’ve heard, I wouldn’t want to live through something like that! Yeah ! Unreal!

  12. Roger says:

    I always have had plenty enough to always be able to survive a 3 day blizzard. A couple years ago I got a generator, and then I wired my house so that I can just plug the generator into the house when the power goes out. (note to self: need more gas storage). Never had a bug out bag before, so I made one this summer. It has food, shelter, and the ability to get water for my wife and myself for a week. It’s a work in progress.

  13. Lloyd peters says:

    A few of my friends have read the book 1 second after and they say they don’t want to live in a world like that. And if that time comes they’ll just kill themselves.

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