We Prepare For Survival But Is It The Main Thing?

by Gaye Levy, The Sleuth Journal

In the past, I have written about the never ending list of things to do, the frantic pace of organizing preps, and the never ending quest to learn just one more sustainable skill.  Couple all of that with the burden of truth and knowledge that keeps you awake at night, and you have a recipe for frustration, exhaustion, and burn out.

There goes those words again.  Prepper burn out.

The truth is we all have a need for quiet, reflective, time whether we know it or not.  It is during that reflective time that we can think, really think, and focus on what is really important.  Is learning ten different ways to start a fire so important when all you really need is three?  And who do you believe?  Is there any one expert?  Or is everyone a beginner of sorts?

We prepare for survival but is it main thing?  In this article I present the latest think piece from contributing author Richard Broome.  Sit back with a cup of coffee and read about “the main thing”.  This is important.

The Main Thing

The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.Stephen Covey

It is a rainy day this early Sunday morning in Montana. The sun is slowly rising over the Bridger Mountains. I enjoy sitting quietly in the peaceful, dark pre-dawn of Montana, watching the sun come up over those magnificent mountains. In my home office where I do my writing, I look at them all day.

I can see fresh snow on them this morning. However, I don’t think the snow will reach us in the valley. No. I think just cold rain. This is a good day for a fire and another cup of coffee.

But today is not so peaceful. I am overcome with a sense of apprehension.

“Is the world literally getting ready to explode all around me?

This morning I turned on one of the Sunday news programs and listened to the discussion on how ISIS is claiming they now have sufficient money to buy a nuclear weapon. Both the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of the FBI have recently discussed the possibility of ISIS already operating within the borders of this country. This is chilling. There is no doubt in my mind that if ISIS ever gets control of a nuclear weapon they would use it. On us.

During this past year dedicated visitors to Backdoor Survival will know my previous “think pieces” have addressed several ideas: the coming cyber war that I see building day-by-day, the need I see to build a culture of preparedness in our country with the same societal intensity as we now do to foster our heath and fitness, the widening gap that I think exists between the increasing multi-level complexity and dangers of the global threat against all of us, that is in juxtaposition with our lesser level of national preparedness, and so on.

Sitting here and reflecting on world events this rainy Montana morning, I have come to the very unsettling conclusion that nothing is getting any better, but rather, steadily becoming much worse. I feel like I am watching two trains about to collide head on.

One train seems to be accelerating and going faster and faster. The engineer has his head out the side yelling for more steam. The other train’s engineer also has his head out the side and is looking at the danger ahead. He seems to be rubbing his chin and thinking, ”It is really another train? Maybe it will slow down? I think I had a clear track signal a few miles back?”

All while the trains keep on coming at each other, faster and faster.

Do you really have confidence that our national leadership is seeing the train wreck coming and will act before it happens? Or, do you feel as I do that the overriding philosophy seems to be: “Move cautiously. Let’s study the problem. Certainly someone else will see this and solve it. Why stick my neck out? To me this attitude is what drives the decision process for far too many right now.

You want a glimpse of this kind of mindset and leadership? Read my first novel, Leaving The Trees. Read the first part of the book and the scenes in Washington, DC. It is very accurate. Believe me. I have been in the room at very high levels and watched these kinds of deliberations. When writing this part of the novel I was trying to convey to readers that things could all come unraveled from the selfish decisions of a powerful few.

But, this is not the main thing. I believe, in a time of increasing threat and looming crisis to this country, that there is also another and even more compelling and critically important factor to consider, which could make all the difference.


And will you, as an individual, come to the internal conviction that for you, “The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.”

To the point, are you able to answer the fundamental questions we must all honestly ask ourselves, “Am I prepared?”but more important, “How well am I prepared?”

Because I do believe most of you sense the train wreck is coming too, but it is a nagging, silent worry as you cope with all of the other demands in your life. You are probably like the frog in the pot of boiling water. The temperature seems to be rising. You can feel it. But certainly, “Someone will do something before you become boiled?”

I am not so sure. Personally, I think you need to hop out of the pot right now. When you do, get refocused on the main thing, which is the survival of you and your loved ones.

I want you to know that I have, like many of you, dealt with a high-pressure job and multiple, pressing demands on me. I have had to cope with the very same lifestyle many of you have now. This late in the day, unexpected client meetings that kept me at work later than I had planned, a killer commute home that night in terrible traffic with a sudden, unexpected text message to do child pick ups to support my spouse (who had her own unexpected work demands to meet), the last minute pizza deliveries for a quick dinner (which was typically eaten standing up while orchestrating homework and baths), and so on.

How do we do it? Somehow. But…we all know it takes an enormous amount of energy and commitment. It also gets us distracted from many things we should spend more time on.

So as you all go about your very crowded, very busy lives, you must also still find a way to take a deep breath and try to get focused on the big picture. It is so clear in everything we read and listen to. The world we live in is facing significant threats. You simply must get yourself out of the pot of boiling water, because I do not think others will do it for you.

I was on the radio twice recently. Once on Preparedness Radio and again on Freedomizer Radio.

One of the things I talked about was my experience in the military with readiness. Clearly, one of our most central concerns was the readiness of our military units to achieve their assigned mission. Both individually as a soldier and working together with others as a military unit, we always had to be certain we were prepared to do our assigned military task. We examined our readiness posture on a monthly basis from the individual to the largest military organizations.

We had a set of metrics for this that measured many factors to establish what we called a readiness assessment. “Did we have all the people we needed? Did they have working equipment with all the essential supplies on hand? Were they properly trained to do their specific jobs within several possible threat scenarios?”

We would use this analysis to develop a readiness indicator for every unit within a military command. From this kind of honest self-examination we were able to diagnose our actual readiness posture and then work on any shortcomings we detected.

Similarly, as a prepper, you cannot know where you are going unless you know where you are. There are core survival principles for food supply, water supply, shelter, health, safety and individual preparedness, which many have written books and articles about. However, are we able to agree upon some metrics and standards for preparedness like the military does for readiness? I think this would be very important now as we strive to keep the main thing, the main thing.

I mean more than just checklists, but rather how to rate your preparedness on some scale like: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert or any other scale that works. How would we describe each of these levels?

There is more than a little complexity to this kind of an idea. You have to think about this within the context of where you live.

I live in Montana. We have our advantages such as lots of firewood, fresh water, fish, and game. We also have our disadvantages, very tough winters. If you live in Florida, you have a different set of factors to contend with. One solution will not fit all, but there should be a core set of standards that would allow us to self-assess and also do what our military does so well, continually identify and shore up weaknesses.

Beginner. Intermediate. Advanced. Expert. Or…something similar?

I would be interested in what others on Backdoor Survival think about this. It is important to offer our advice to each other about preparedness.

Isn’t that one of the main things too?

Richard Earl Broome – All Rights Reserved –May 24, 2015


Richard Earl Broome is a contributing author and friend to Backdoor Survival. He has lived an extraordinary life rising from an Army private to an Army colonel who served on the White House staff for two Presidents of the United States as a member of their National Security Council staff.

He is considered a national expert on the subjects of preparedness, disaster recovery and survival. He is a frequent contributor of articles about the many threats facing our society, appearing frequently on shows to discuss issues such as pandemics, ISIS, and the cyber threat and how we need to meet the new threat realities facing all of us.

Now living in a small community in Montana, he is a member of the faculty at Montana State University where he teaches leadership. For more about Richard, visit my  About Richard page.

Also, note that his two books, Leaving The Trees and Good Crazy (Leaving The Trees Journey) (Volume 2), can be found on Amazon.  His next novel, Final Reckoning Day, will be out in the fall of 2015.

The Final Word

Something sorely lacking is a methodology whereby we can assess our preparedness efforts against a set of core standards.  Do you know of any such standards that can be applied universally to civilians not under the direction and rule of the military, government, or big business?

As citizens who embrace self-sufficiency, perhaps the best standard is the standard we set ourselves, based upon our unique needs and skill sets.  Like Richard, I am interested in your thoughts.  Think of it this way.  If  friends, relatives or co-workers came up to you and said they wanted to begin to prepare, what would you tell them.  What “gold standard” would make them preppers?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


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