By Timothy Gamble
Are you concerned with your reputation and that of your family? Does integrity, honesty, and fairness mark your dealings with other people? Or do you smirk at such notions as being naive?
I suggest that, far from naive, your reputation will determine your future.
Within the prepping and survival communities, we talk a lot about the food, water and other stuff we need to survive. We talk about the knowledge and skills we need to survive. We even talk about the attitude we need to survive. All that is important. But there is one thing that is also important that I rarely, if ever, hear talked about: the importance of our reputation to our survival.
When I say "reputation," I don't don't mean what others think of us, but rather what they think about us. After all, we shouldn't care about what others think of us (except for God and maybe our spouse). But what others think about us, our reputation, does matter.
The difference is important.
What others think of us is based on their feelings, and those feelings may have nothing to do with us. If someone doesn't like me because I am a committed Christian, for example, their dislike of me is based in their feelings about Christianity, not me. I have no control over that, and therefore shouldn't worry if they like me or not.
On the other hand, our reputations are grounded in what we do and say, and we do have control over that. So, if someone doesn't like me because I once cheated them in a business deal, then their dislike for me is based on my actions, not their feelings. I have earned a bad reputation.
Our reputations are important before a disaster.
Our reputation, that we have earned through our words and actions, does have a lot to do with our success, or lack thereof, in life. It will affect our business dealings, our career, our personal relationships, and most other areas of our life. Ultimately, it will affect the opportunities we have, the money we make, and more importantly the kind of people we have in our lives.These things, in turn, can have a large impact in what preparations we can make for the future. Finally, our reputation will definitely impact our ability to form community.
Our reputations are important during a disaster.
Imagine a grid-down scenario - let's say after an EMP event. We will be trying to survive in a chaotic world filled with other people. Our reputation will affect the willingness of others to trust us, to help us, and to cooperate with us. Will our neighbors see us as good folk, trustworthy enough to barter with or even to cooperate with for mutual security and assistance? Or will they see us a untrustworthy, even dangerous, and to be avoided?
Our reputations are important after a disaster.
At some point the disaster will be over. Law and order will once again be established. A government or some sort of authority will form. And we will be held accountable for our actions during the disaster. Our reputations that we earned during the disaster will affect our place in the newly established society.
Am I being naive?
Some preppers and survivalists like to brag about the lengths they will go to survive. Some even claim to be willing to do terrible things such as shoot innocent people because they may potentially become a threat at some point, or even to just steal their stuff. They sneer at anyone objecting to their lack of morality, accusing us of being naive, and even weak.
I don't think so. In fact, I suggest that they are the ones being naive in thinking that their behavior during the crisis will not have consequences at some point as things begin to calm down. The fact is our actions – good, bad, or indifferent – do have consequences, both immediate and in the future.
What reputation do we want to have?
I'll answer that question for myself: I strive for a reputation of integrity, fidelity, competence, and strength.
Integrity. More than just honesty, although that is an important part of it, integrity is the unwavering adherence to a moral code. I want people to know that they can trust me to be honest, and that I will always to the right thing.
Fidelity. More than just loyalty, although that is an important part of it, fidelity is faithfulness - living up to your obligations and duties. I want people to know that I will keep my word, that I will always do what I say, and they I am dependable and reliable.
Competence. Competence is having the knowledge, skills, ability, judgment, and wisdom to be effective in all aspects of life. I want people to know that not only do I intend to live up to my word and obligations, but that I also have the ability to do so.
Strength. Physical strength, as well as arms and armament, can be a part of this, but by strength I am especially referring to strength of character, as well as to drive and determination. I want people to know not only do I intend to live up to my word and obligations, and have the ability to do so, but I also have the strength and determination to accomplish mu purposes.
From a survivalist point-of-view, having a reputation for the first three should make people want me on their side - promoting cooperation, community, assistance. A reputation for the last should make me a less interesting target for the bad guys, or others hoping to take advantage of me, my family, and my tribe.
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