Survival isn't something that just takes place in the wilderness or during an extreme emergency. Survival also takes place in everyday life, during good times as well as bad times. There are many, many specific kills that are useful for survival in particular circumstances, but there are seven core skills that any true survivalist needs to master.
1 - Health and fitness is a skill, because it is something that doesn't come naturally, especially in the modern world. Like any skill, it must be learned, and takes time and effort to develop. It can't be bought from Amazon and delivered to your front door the next day, like you could buy your food storage. Developing the skill of health and fitness requires work, sacrifice, and time. Perhaps that is why its still on many preppers' "to do" list, still waiting to be checked off when we finally get around to it. Well, its time to get around to developing this fundamental survival skill.
2 - Self-reliance is an attitude put into action, thereby becoming a skill. Like the skill of health and fitness, self-reliance doesn't come naturally for most people today (in fact, modern society is intentionally set up to discourage self-reliance, but that is a discussion for another article). Self-reliance must be learned, and takes time and effort to develop. I've previously identified these key components to self-reliance:
- Assume responsibility for your own life.
- Take the blame for your own life.
- Be informed.
- Know where your going.
- Make your own decisions.
- Know where your going.
- Learn skills.
- Gain experience.
3- Problem-solving is a series of closely related skills, and flows out of our self-reliance. This means if we don't develop our self-reliance, we'll never become a good problem-solver. Problem-solving means recognizing when a problem exists, taking on the responsibility to solve the problem yourself (not waiting for someone else to solve it), analyzing the problem to understand what is really wrong and what needs to be done to fix it, and then actually doing your part to fix it. Fixing the problem usually entails using previously developed skills and/or learning new skills.
4 - Situational Awareness is another skill that doesn't come naturally because modern civilization has made us used to being relatively safe as we go about our day-to-day lives. We depend on the government, laws, and societal norms to keep us safe. We expect the police and other "authorities" to be only moments away, waiting to rush to our rescue should we need them. But this is largely an illusion. The world is a dangerous place, and situational awareness will help us to safely navigate it.
Situational awareness is much more than just paying attention to what is going on around us, although that is an important starting point. It means paying attention, knowing what to look for, and knowing how to assess (make decisions about) your surroundings.
5 - Self-Defense, as well as the tools used for self-defense, is an unalienable right, a Biblical concept, and guaranteed by the US Constitution. We have the absolute right to defend ourselves and others from unprovoked violence and aggression. But, to do so successfully, we must learn how. Self-defense, both in both its lethal and non-lethal forms, is an important core skill we must learn and develop.
6 - Financial Management is a basic skill needed in our everyday lives, but it is one that is rarely taught and therefore is missing from most people's skill sets. A broad topic, financial management includes living within our means, controlling our impulses, being employable, goal setting, budgeting, avoiding and/or getting out of debt, developing an emergency fund, saving for retirement, saving for major expenses, and generally managing our money to best benefit us and our families. It doesn't just include dealing with money, but all forms of wealth, which could include our homes, land, businesses, food, and supplies.
7 - Soft Skills are often overlooked, but can be extremely important for survival. Soft skills are general skills that are often seen as part of our personality, and as such are typically self-learned without realizing it while we are growing up. Examples include communication skills, team work, creativity, and getting along with others, but there are many others. Although typically learned while growing up, they can be developed as adults.
Ad: Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook, by Peggy Layton, has detailed information and lists for everything from an emergency car kit, to a 72-hour emergency kit (aka "bug out" kit), to building stockpiles of food, water, medicine and other necessities. Included in the book is a section on ideas for apartment dwellers and others with little storage space. LEVEL: Beginner to Intermediate. I consider this a CORE BOOK for most preppers.
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