In 1989, Stephen Covey published his timeless book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and launched not only a “7 Habits” empire, but changed countless lives.
I was reviewing his list of habits and was struck by how many of them directly apply to preparedness and survival, from everyday emergencies to worst case scenarios. Here are 6 of Covey’s habits and how they apply to prepping.
1. Be Proactive
To be frank, none of us have all the time in the world to get prepped. Even folks on vacation have to be concerned about sudden emergencies like this recent event in North Carolina. Even small emergencies catch most people unaware, and even fewer people are ready for the truly big crises that life has to offer.
It’s not enough to just know about impending catastrophes, such as a worldwide depression or the possibility of an EMP, and neither is it enough to spend hours researching survival topics. If you and your family are to survive and thrive well beyond any crisis, it requires being proactive right now, today. Steven Covey was right to have this as his first Habit.
2. Begin with the end in mind
What do you want your family and home to look like following a major catastrophe? Do you want to have enough food, water, medicines, and supplies to last at least six months? A year? Do you want to have cash, gold, and silver cached in case of a banking collapse? Do you want to be strong, healthy, and fit, able to do plenty of physical labor and take care of the family? Do you want your home to be the one in the neighborhood that survives because it is surrounded by sandbags that protect it from flood waters?
Develop an actual picture in your mind of what your optimal survival scenario will look like:
- Who will be with you?
- How will you all arrive at that destination?
- How will you make sure that your survival situation is secure?
- What will you have in terms of gear and supplies?
- How will tasks be delegated?
- What will a typical day and night be for the duration of this scenario?
With a crystal clear picture in mind, you can then set goals in order to achieve it. Without that clear goal in mind, you’re taking a gamble on something where every day counts.
3. Put first things first
The basics of survival are water, food, shelter, and warmth. Wherever you live right now is where you must begin. That off-the-grid survival retreat may or may not become a reality (and may or may not be desirable – but that’s the subject of a different article), so don’t put off becoming as prepared as you possibly can be right were you are today. Fully cover the basics first.
4. Effective preppers think win-win
Too often, survival minded people circle the wagons and include only their immediate family and, maybe, their very closest friends. But history has shown repeatedly that it’s groups of people who do best when it comes to survival. Neighborhoods and towns who band together following a tornado, for example, recover more quickly than someone trying to do everything on his or her own.
Look for ways to connect with others in your survival plans. No, you shouldn’t tell anyone everything, but sharing ideas, strategies and being supportive of others will increase the chances of your own survival, and that’s smart. If the people surrounding you also have plans and supplies for survival, it’s a win-win for everyone.
How to find those people? Well, as author Jim Cobb says, “Go places where preppers tend to hang out.” Gardening classes, prepper Meet-Ups, fishing and hunting clubs, and so on.
5. Seek first to understand, and then be understood
Not everyone has the same level of concern for survival as you. Some relatives and friends may even seem hostile when you mention food storage and being prepared for emergencies / disaster. Normalcy bias is the default setting for nearly everybody, and since our brains are already wired for that response, it’s no wonder that so many people cringe when “prepping” is mentioned.
There are many reasons why people are oblivious to impending dangers from health issues to hurricanes. Rather than try to force someone to change their mind, spend time listening and asking questions. You may discover that the reason they don’t want to hear about preparedness is because they are frozen with fear and your lectures force them even further into a fear-filled corner.
6. Sharpen the saw
It takes far more effort to cut down a tree with a dull saw than a sharp one. You’ll be able to set clearer goals, stay focused, and accomplish more when you take care of yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Always remember that you are a pivotal factor in the survival of your loved ones. When you don’t take care of yourself, they become more vulnerable. Who will protect them if you can’t or are untrained or unfit to do so?
Find time to decompress. Read a book just for entertainment, pray, get into a regular exercise routine, do some of the things you know you should do, but don’t. In a crisis, you’ll need to be prepared in every way to respond quickly, decisively, and with authority. That won’t happen sitting in front of a video game, regardless of what level you’re on in League of Legends.
Based on these 6 Habits, where do you stand as a prepper?