All right guys, let’s get into the meat of the discussion today, which is being prepared, being prepared in all ways and for everything. I spent a lot of years in the boy scouting system. I was a Boy Scout when I was younger, never made it to Eagle Scout, that is actually one of the things I would have done had I done it all over again. And I’ve been vocal about the direction that the Boy Scouts have been going. I don’t think it’s healthy, I don’t think it’s good. I think they’ve abandoned a lot of the people that they initially and over the past 100 years have really tried to serve, but that being said, when I got involved in scouting, I came across it was an article or I don’t know, something in a magazine or online and somebody had asked Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts about the motto: Be Prepared and the person who was conducting the interview said, what should you be prepared for? And Lord Baden-Powell said anything and that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today.
Guys, we don’t know what situations we’re going to encounter. And unfortunately, it seems to me that we are seeing more and more violence and atrocity, of course, we’re going to run across natural disasters. And that’s just anecdotally, I don’t know if there are statistics to support that. I think there are statistics out there that share and say and support the idea that it is becoming safer, that society is generally milder and safer than it ever was. And I tend to agree with that, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared for the types of things that we may potentially face.
And although you may never utilize the skills that I will share with you today, it’s not wasted, and you could be the small percentage of individuals who fall into a difficult situation and people are going to look to you to be the source of them getting out of the situation. Or maybe you’re just getting yourself out of the situation. And as I talk about what it means to be a man, we talk a lot about the core pillars, the core tenants, which is to protect, provide and preside. And specifically today we’re covering two which is to protect and also to preside, which is synonymous with leadership.
So I’m going to get into 10 areas. Now, this is not an exhaustive list, I know there’s a lot of you listening who are more experienced than I am, who have more information, who have more expertise and knowledge on what I’m going to share with you today. And so this is not meant to be exhaustive, it’s not meant to be an in-depth analysis or dissertation into everything that you’re going to need to know to get yourself out of these types of situations. But hopefully, it gets you thinking. And that’s the ultimate objective. Again, when Baden-Powell said to be prepared for anything, that’s what I want you to start thinking about is expanding and opening your mind because you don’t want to be in this type of situation where some of these skills and resources are needed and you don’t have them. And you end up putting yourself in a bad situation and your loved ones and the people you’re responsible for in a negative situation as well.
I’ve thought a lot about this too as we’ve been here in Maine over the past, I think it’s been three months roughly now. And there’s a saying that I’ve heard quite often and the saying is in Maine you’re either preparing for winter or dealing with winter. And as we start to cool off at nights, and I can feel fall in the air, I can’t help but think that I need to prepare and make sure that we know what we’re getting ourselves into. So let’s break this down, guys. Again, 10 areas I guess you’d say that I think are critical. 10 areas that you probably ought to focus on to some degree. And I would rate yourself, maybe give yourself a green, yellow or red in each one of these categories. And if you notice you’re green, great. He keeps driving on. If you’re yellow, there might be some areas that you need to shore up within each one of these categories. And if you’re a red then I would encourage you to start working on these things.
Enlist the help of other people. There’s other resource and websites and podcasts and blogs that hone in on each one of these areas. So find those things and get after it. Make yourself a more well-rounded man and more capable of protection when the time comes. So here we go.
1. Food Storage
It’s just having the basic food items that you need on hand. I personally recommend, and we have not currently because we just moved here. In the past, have built our food storage up to a year’s worth of food storage. That’s something that we’re currently in the process of rebuilding. My wife actually really enjoys doing this. She cans and she preserves and we’ve got fruits and vegetables and dry foods and dehydrated foods and MREs and things like that. All set aside so that if we are boxed in our home for any amount of time or we can’t get to a grocery store or prices become outrageous, then we have the food necessary to be able to survive.
And it’s not just about preparation in this context because there was a time, this was probably 10 years or so ago, maybe a little bit more where I was just starting my financial planning practice and we were really, really struggling financially and there were a lot of nights that we pulled green beans out of our food storage and we were living off of rice and beans and we were really dwindling and diving into what we had set aside for a rainy day. And that’s exactly why it’s there. A lot of the times when we think about being prepared, we think about catastrophic events, but we don’t think about the everyday events that were more likely to run across. So for us, having the food storage is a necessity and something that we’ve actually utilized in the past and we will continue to utilize.
So what I would suggest is when you’re doing your grocery run, whether it’s you or your wife, that you just add a few extra things every time you go to the grocery store because the last thing you want to do is spend two, three, 500, 1000 or more dollars on getting everything done all at once when what you could be doing is just spending an extra 10 or 20 bucks every time you go to the store to get some canned food items or non-perishable items. Maybe you or your spouse is interested in getting into preserving. My wife is a “certified master canner”. So she has this certificate and the training that she’s gone through with it from a community course that she went through over the course of, I believe it was two months to learn how to do all this stuff.
So making sure that you have food storage, making sure that it’s a year’s worth setting aside for a rainy day or a loss of a job or a natural disaster, or are you being boxed in, critical. It’s a very, very important piece of the preparedness puzzle.
2. Grow Your Own Food
If you don’t have a garden, I would say that you might have a gap in your planning. Now, this helps when prices are high or you can’t make it to the store. But man, there’s something valuable in being able to dig in the dirt and tend your own field and watch that crop go from seed to sustainable food that you can then utilize, and enjoy, and sit down, and share with your family. I think it’s critical. So we don’t have our garden built yet. We had a very, very nice, I say we, I should say my wife because she handles this side of things, but had a very, very beautiful garden with all kinds of things from lettuce to corn to peas to spinach. I mean she had it all carrots, potatoes, onions. It was amazing.
As we moved here, of course we don’t have our garden going yet and we’re getting into winter so we won’t. But that’s one of the things that she wants right as soon as it starts to fall as she wants me to build her some grow boxes so she can begin to garden and grow. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to be able to sit around the table and have a salad and enjoy food that you grew with your own hands and you tended and you toiled and you poured your energy into that thing. There’s something very rewarding and fulfilling about that. And then, of course, it helps you with your preparations. So I would say that’s number two, gardening and learning to grow your own food.
3. Learn To Hunt
Now I know there’s going to be a lot of mixed feelings. Most of the men listening to this podcast are not going to be mixed about the ethnicity, I guess, if you will, of hunting. I think most people understand that it can be done ethically and morally and correct. But I would say if you’re not involved in hunting, that you actually go out and you join a hunting party. You don’t have to hunt maybe necessarily right away, but that you go out with some guys who are hunters, who have some experience, who have done some things in the past and you learn about the process.
You learn about what it takes to go hike around and harvest your food and all the planning that goes into it, and what it’s like to utilize a firearm or a bow or some weapon where you are killing an animal so that you can take that animal, dress it, clean it, butcher it, break it down, cook it, and then ultimately consume it.
And I know that the way that I’m saying that people are going to hear this and think, “How barbaric?” Well, maybe, but I don’t think so. We as human beings have been consuming animal products for tens if not hundreds of thousands of years, and it isn’t until relatively recently that people have even questioned this. And look if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, all the power to you. I have no problem with that, but I’m just saying that if you decide that you want to consume meat, that you learn the process of where it comes from. I think it’s disingenuous and I think it’s a little, I guess you’re just taking it for granted when you run to the store and you pick up a package of steaks or you eat a big greasy burger at Burger King on your lunch break and you don’t really realize how that was actually secured.
It’s really funny when I … because I hunt and I hear people who will say things like, “I can’t believe you kill animals.” And some of these people, they’ll say it while they’re choking back on a T-bone steak. There’s just this huge, huge disconnect between people’s consumption of meat and where it actually comes from. And you can have a whole lot more appreciation for an animal and you probably going to eat it more sparingly when you have to be the one providing it for yourself. In addition to that, if you can’t make it to the grocery store or everything goes south or we’re in the zombie apocalypse, maybe I shouldn’t say that because if I say that, then people are going to say, “Well, see you don’t need to be prepared because that’s not going to happen.” You guys get the point.
If you’re in a situation where you have to have food, being able to go out into the field and shoot a turkey or harvest and animal is just going to be a valuable skill to have. And I’m not telling you that you should break the law or break your wildlife codes. It’s not what I’m suggesting. I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying do it within the boundaries that we have set up as conservationists and being able to sustain these wildlife resources. But man, if something goes south, it’d be a good skill to have.
4. Firearm Training
Now we can come at this from a couple of different angles. So if I’m talking about firearms training in the context of hunting, well, you may want to learn how to use a rifle so that you can shoot an animal from two, three, 400, 500, 1000 yards away. You need to be able to make that shot. Maybe 1000 is a little long for most of us, but you need to be able to make that shot. So understanding the different types of rifles, understanding projectiles and how they work, getting yourself behind a firearm itself and pulling the trigger and feeling the kick and the weight of the gun and the impact, you need to know how to use that rifle.
On the other side, I would say that firearms training for tactical situations and home defense situations is very, very important. If an intruder breaks into your home, it’s very easy to say, “Well, I’ve got a gun and I’ll be able to take care of myself.” But I mean, you don’t know if it’s two or 3:00 AM and you wake up and an intruder’s in your home and you’re caught off guard and caught by surprise and you don’t know how to use a firearm, you’ve never been through any training in the past. You just have it because you think that’s what you’re supposed to do and you’re still sleepy and a little delusional about where things are. You’re going to find yourself in a world of hurt. So you better understand everything, all the nuances, and intricacies about the firearm, the tool that you have to be able to dispense of the enemy. To be able to neutralize the threat. So yes, learn how to shoot a firearm.
Go to your local firearms course, go to a range, get some instruction. If you go down to a range, there’s going to be flyers and things like that for people who teach tactical firearms training and self-defense training. Those are all valuable, valuable skills to have and look if you don’t want to own a gun because I think that’s becoming increasingly common, especially in the wake of these active shooter situations and pressure on corporations like in fact, I think the latest one is Walmart and Kroger foods have been pressured and are continued to be pressured to ask their patrons not to carry open firearms. And look, that’s a whole other conversation. I wouldn’t say it’s in your best interest to open carry. I choose to concealed carry for a lot of different reasons and we’re going to have some people on to talk about that in a future podcast. That’s not a rabbit hole I want to address right now, but man, learn your way around a firearm. Teach your children that a way around a firearm.
Some of you may know this when I was little, I must’ve been, gosh, I don’t know, eight, nine, 10 years old. I went out and played with one of my friends. In fact, I remember his name. His name was Pete. We’re outside. We’re playing in the yard and in the street, we saw this gun. So I ran over and I picked it up and I remember very distinctly that it was heavy and I thought it was a cap gun because if you’re my age, you know what a cap gun is, where it has those little red rolls where you can either put them in a cap gun or you can take rocks and scrape them across. And they had those little mini explosions if you will. Those are good days by the way, that brings me back to good times.
Anyways, I thought that this was a cap gun. And so I grabbed it and I brought it inside and I remember saying, “Mom, mom, look what I found.” And she said, “Let me see that.” And she grabbed that gun from me and she said, “This is a real gun.” And we had found a … it was a small revolver and we had found that in the middle of the road, just chilling there in our neighborhood where kids play.
The likelihood that your children are going to come into contact with a firearm it’s likely, I think it’s high. And if you don’t teach your child, whether that’s at school or a neighbor’s house or somewhere, if you don’t teach your kids their way around a firearm, then you run into that idea that curiosity kills the cat. And if your kids don’t respect firearms, not because they haven’t handled them, but because they have handled them, then you’re doing them a huge disservice, and you’re potentially setting them up for not only failure but something catastrophic. I mean, how many times have we heard about a child who killed their school friend while they’re playing with dad’s gun or shot themselves or shot a member of the family, not out of some sort of a desire to do harm, but because they didn’t know their way around the firearm, they didn’t understand the four firearm safety rules and what this was all about. And they got curious and ended up killing somebody or wounding somebody.
So get familiar with firearms guys, teach your children about firearms, let them use those things. My two oldest boys and my daughter now two, from the time they were three, four, five years old, had been exposed to firearms. Now I’m not saying I’m going to put my three-year-old behind an AR15 necessarily, although I’m sure three-year-olds could handle one, in contrary to popular belief, you know, maybe a little Red Ryder BB gun and then we moved up to a pellet gun and then we moved to a Single Shot 22 and then we moved up to a 410 Shotgun, and then we moved up to the rifle series. So like, you can do this wisely. I’m not going to throw my kid behind a 50 Cal machine gun, but we can do this wisely. So do it wisely.
So that’s number four. Number five, and I’ve got these in all kinds of different orders and I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to talk with you about these today because they’re not in any order in particular. And also I would encourage guys to go back. If you’re running right now or you’re mowing the lawn or you’re doing something else where you can’t document this stuff, just go back and listen to the episode itself and then you can write these things down.
Again, these are the 10 areas that I would suggest, not an exhaustive list, but the 10 areas that I would suggest that you consider learning, developing, growing, and becoming more proficient in.
5. Martial Arts
If you’re not doing some sort of martial arts, then you’re selling yourself short. There are all kinds of opportunities that you can learn to turn the body that you have into a weapon. And I hope you never run across that situation. The likelihood of you coming into some sort of physical altercation with another human being is very, very low. But it’s present. It’s there and it exists.
We don’t prepare for these things because the likelihood is high, we prepare for them because we might, we might encounter these things. And what’s interesting about all of the areas I’m talking with you today and specifically this point with martial arts, is that even if you never use your developed skillset when it comes to martial arts in a physical confrontation with another human being, it is not wasted. There are so many other valuable strategies and skills and mindsets and mentality regarding you being able to handle yourself physically.
Personally, I like Ju-Jitsu. Is it the end-all, save all? No. Wrestling, Ju-Jitsu, karate, boxing, all of these have their Muay Thai, Krav Maga. All of these have their place in your ability to train your body into the weapon that it can become and the weapon that it might be called upon becoming. So get yourself enrolled, take some martial arts classes. Most studios or gyms or dojos whatever you want to call them, are going to be able to offer potential new students a class for free or a discounted rate to go try out or do a week free. Go do that. Go see what you think. Go enjoy it. Go learn a few things and build some foundational knowledge for making yourself the weapon that you’re capable of becoming.
6. Emergency Planning
What I want you to do is I want you to think about as unpleasant as this might be is to think about, “What scenarios might I run into? What situations may I encounter? And if I encounter these situations, how am I going to get myself out of these situations? Do I have evacuation routes at home if there’s a fire? Do I have checkpoints in public spaces when I’m out with my wife and my family?” These are all scenarios that you ought to play out in your mind so that you can be prepared in these situations and when and if you encounter these situations, it isn’t the very first time you thought about it.
That’s what’s important. Because if you’ve never thought about this stuff until you get yourself in the situation, your reaction and response time is significantly slowed and that slow down in the response time might spell the difference between you being alive and you being dead. So sit down with your family, sit down with your co-workers. I mean, when’s the last time you sat down in a meeting or management sat down with you and said, “Hey, in an active shooter situation, here’s how we’re going to handle ourselves. Here’s how we’re going to go on lockdown. Here’s how we’re going to evacuate, here’s our procedures and protocols.” If you guys don’t have that, what a shame? What a shame? How many deaths could have been avoided had you had some sort of plan or these people had some sort of plan in place to keep them safe in violence and horror and this atrocity that we continue to see?
Now again, we’ll talk about how to address that stuff later, but I’m just telling you, if you find yourself in that situation, you don’t want it to be the very first time you thought about it. So you probably ought to have some sort of emergency evacuation and emergency response planning and processes in place. And make these things written. We’ve sat down in the past with our kids and my wife and we’ve done this on a Monday night, it’s just kind of a family planning meeting where we’ve sat down and we’ve said, okay, if there’s a fire, what are we going to do? Here are the exits. Use this exit first, use this next. If we run outside, then everybody goes to the flagpole. If we don’t see you at the flagpole, we’re going to assume you’re still inside and then dad’s going to have to go in there and save you.
So this is all very clear like there’s no guesswork here. And granted when and if, again, we find ourselves in this situation, there’s going to be variables that we maybe didn’t account for, but my goal is to limit those variables so that I give myself and my family in this context the best rate or chance of survival. So emergency evacuation and response planning.
7. Survival Strategies
If you’re out into the wilderness if you’re away from your home if you’re on vacation and you find yourself without the provisions that you need to have to sustain yours or somebody else’s life, what’s your survival strategies like? How can you build a shelter? Can you fish? Can you hunt? We talked a little bit about that. Can you start a fire? What’s in your bag, your bug out bag or bolt bag if you will, that will help you survive in these situations?
Do you have a knife on hand so you can cut things to make a shelter or cut rope or do whatever it is you need to do? Like, if you don’t have these things in place, man, you’re really, really going to struggle. And there are all kinds of survival sites and podcasts. One book that I actually like, especially if you have kids, is Hatchet. Now I know that’s not an in-depth look at survival strategies, but at least it gets you thinking and it gets your kids thinking about what they might do had they found themselves in the situation that the heated in Hatchet. So there are things that you can do to not only keep yourself engaged in these processes but also involve your kids in a way that isn’t mundane and monotonous and boring but actually exciting and they want to learn about it.
Like have you ever sat down with your boys and had them try to start a fire in multiple different ways using matches, using a lighter, using even like battery and steel wall, all kinds of different scenarios and different ways to light a fire, a bow drill, like all that, all these things pretty, pretty fun, and I think the kids liked it as well. So what are your survival strategies? So I think we’re on, it’s seven, I want to say.
8. Emergency Provisions
I talked a little bit about provisions and I talked about food, but it’s not just food. It’s your bug out bag, it’s lighting systems, it’s solar power, should you need that and have access to that. It’s keeping yourself warm. It’s having water filtration and purification methods.
It’s having a lighter on hand and having your firearms, and if you have to leave in a hurry, where are you going to go? If you’re stuck in a snowstorm in your car, are you going to die and freeze to death or do you have the provisions that you need? So what I’d like to do in this scenario is I’d like to think about all the places I spend the most time.
So for me, it’s at home, specifically in my office, it’s in my car. For you, it might be at an office outside of the home. Maybe you go on vacation somewhere a lot, or you have a second home. But wherever you’re spending the most amount of time, you ought to think about what provisions you need in that place so that you can move and get from point A to point B or you can hunker down if that’s what the situation calls for and you would survive by hunkering down or leaving or whatever it is you’re going to be doing. What provisions do you need? So I would quite literally create a list of items that you need and start working through those line by line.
A lot of the times people won’t do anything because it’s so overwhelming when they see how deficient they are in these areas. They don’t even know where to start. Don’t let that be you, right? I’m sharing with you 10 places and there’s probably an infinite number of places that we can go with this. So that might feel and seem overwhelming. I get it. Maybe it is to a degree, but don’t let it overwhelm you to the point where you’re not doing anything. Just start with something and then move down that list again. You can come back and write this down and I’ll recap towards the end of the conversation. That way if you’re listening, you don’t have to listen to the entire thing again. You can go right to the end, so that was number eight was your provisions.
9. Situational Awareness
When I had Pat McNamara on the podcast a couple of weeks ago, he talked about this 45-degree culture, which I had never heard before. So I asked him to clarify what that meant and what he talked about was that most of us live on this 45 degrees plane specifically with our heads in that we keep our heads down, eyes locked and fixated on that little device, that little screen right in front of us and we have no idea of what’s going on around us.
That’s when you get caught by surprise. That’s when you deal with an intruder or somebody who wants to mug you or whatever. That’s when you deal with it when you are caught by surprise, so you need to learn to be situationally aware. I’m saying you, but we all me included, need to learn to be more situationally aware. Where are the exits and places? Are you putting yourself in the back of a room with your back to the wall so that you can observe and see everything that’s going on around you? Are you looking for a baseline of behavior with the way people are acting and then trying to observe those who don’t fall within that baseline? There’s a really, really great book on the subject called Left of Bang. If you haven’t read that book, I highly, highly suggest that you read, Left of Bang. I can’t remember the author right off hand. He was on the podcast years and years ago, but again it’s Left of Bang and I would definitely recommend that you read that book and implement some of its teachings including I believe it’s called Cooper’s Color Code.
Cooper’s Color Code into how you’re assessing threats and then how you’re responding to those things as well. So Cooper’s Color Code, which is in the book Left of Bang, among other places. But yeah, situational awareness, what’s going on around you? How are people behaving? How are people acting? What’s your escape route if you’re running through different scenarios? You can even make this a game with kids is that if X, Y, and Z were to happen, what would you do? And then you talk through that. If A, B, C were to happen, what would you do? And you work through that. And that way you keep your children again engaged, but you’re also giving them meaningful, practical information to be able to apply should they find themselves in this situation.
All right guys, the last one that I wanted to share with you, and again, this is something that I think a lot of people overlook, but it is to me something that you need to be prepared for and it is a tool in your tool belt, should you find yourself in a bad situation. And that is your ability to communicate. Your ability to communicate effectively. And I’m not just talking about your ability to communicate with the threat itself, although you may want to do that, but your ability to lead and to communicate in chaos and confusion, other people who you will need to A, enlist in helping you secure yourselves and other people and then also being able to lead those who would otherwise become victims of the situation they find themselves in.
So how do you communicate? Are you a communicator? Do people listen to you? Are you overly aggressive and so people shut down? Are you passive and weak and timid so they don’t listen? Or are you an assertive communicator where when you walk into the room, you command in a way that that level of respect and attention, and I’m telling you by interviewing, I don’t know, over 200 maybe 250 men, highly successful men now, I can tell you that a lot of these guys, the majority of these guys, if you knew nothing else about them, you would know there was something special. Just by the way they walk into the room. These are people who are secure, they’re confident, they’re doing what they need to be doing. They’re definitely proficient in the areas I’m sharing with you today and they know how to communicate effectively to generate a response from individuals. And that’s what you want.
You need to be able to generate the desired response from individuals, whether that’s responding in dialogue or whether that’s responding to your orders. You need to be able to do that. So there’s a great book called The Assertiveness Workbook that I would highly, highly suggest that you work through even if you are an assertive individual. This is going to teach you the communication styles and it’s going to help you to be somebody who is more assertive so that when you speak, people listen and you have the credibility and authority to cause people to act in a way that you would want them to act, especially in these situations.
So there’s your 10. I know it feels like maybe I rattled these all off and maybe I did. Again, it wasn’t meant to be an exhaustive list. It wasn’t meant to be an in-depth analysis into to every one of these scenarios, but it is something that’s essential and it’s something that it’s important and I realize that this podcast today might not be as exciting as some of the other podcasts that I’ve done. I get that, but you know what? It still needs to be had, this conversation. Still needs to be talked about, still needs to be addressed. Then sometimes we can have the motivational rah-rah in your face type conversations on this podcast where you get all hopped up and excited about what you’re doing or what you’re not doing, and sometimes we’re going to take a little more practical approach, a little bit more pragmatic into how you ought to approach your life and how you ought to step into the three pillars of masculinity.