Talking about preparedness is often a double-edged sword. On one hand, the last thing we want to do is run around like a bunch of Chicken Little’s screaming “the sky is falling.”
On the other hand, pretending that evil, natural disasters, pandemics, social unrest and a wide range of threats don’t exist is not only dangerous, it’s also a bit delusional.
Is a Hurricane Alert fear mongering?
When people say that Preppers are just giving into fear, or accuse survivalists of being a bunch of fear mongers, I usually ask them something like, “Is a Hurricane alert fear mongering?”
The fact is bad things happen, evil exists, and disasters are part of life; ignoring the realities of the world that we live in is not living a life free of fear, it’s living a life unprepared to face those fears. In fact, I would argue that the people who ignore the very real dangers present in today’s society are the ones that have the most to fear from fear.
“The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”
What a powerful quote, and how true it is. In my opinion, people who are preparedness minded – call them preppers, survivalists, or any other term you want to give them – are the ones who are going to be immune to the adverse influences of fear. They’re the people who aren’t going to have to worry how they’re going to feed their families in the aftermath of a disaster, because they stocked up when everyone else told them they were crazy.
During a catastrophe, it’s those who prepared that are going to have the least amount to worry about. They are ready because they used fear as a motivating force. Those who mocked them are the ones that are in for a world of hurt; they are the people who are going to have to deal with the negative consequences of fear when they can least afford to do so.
Remember, there is a big difference between being prepared and giving into media fear mongering!
Even during the current COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak it’s good to keep things into perspective, and not live your life in fear. Officially, we have around 680,000 worldwide deaths. While those numbers might seem scary, let’s put them into persepctive for a moment:
- We live on a planet with almost 8 billion people.
- We also live in a world where we have 650,000-700,000 worldwide flu deaths every year. Did you stop your life last flu season?
- We live in a world where 1.5 million die every year from Tuberculosis, yet we don’t shut down the world or demand people wear masks for that deadly disease — and that kills three times the number of people every year than this so-called pandemic! When is that last time you strapped on a mask in fear of TB?
- If you are under 18, you have virtually zero chance of dying from COVID-19. On the flip side, Diarrheal diseases account for 1 in 9 child deaths worldwide – when is the last time you worried about your child dying from a Diarrheal disease?
Currently, the real danger is in how people are reacting to the crisis — that’s not to say the virus couldn’t become a largescale threat at some point, but it’s important to keep in mind what the facts actually are and then make your preparations according to the best possible data.
In my opinion, currently the major threat seems to be supply chain shortages, people’s reaction to the crisis, and the unknown information that is causing everyone to panic and shut everything down. Remember, sometimes it’s the panic and fear that are the biggest threat!
Is Fear Really a bad thing to begin with?
When I first started this website one of my biggest concerns was trying to help people better prepare themselves to face threats and disasters, but I wanted to do that without having to frighten them, or add a bunch of unnecessary stress into their lives. I absolutely despise companies who turn every tragedy into an opportunity to make money; during every crisis there are always dirtbags attempting to exploit the crisis.
Unfortunately, we live in a country where 99 out of 100 people refuse to do anything to prepare themselves for the very real threats that are out there. The only time they do seem to take action is when a crisis hits too close to home, and they are scared into acting – Once the crisis passes they slip back into their normal lives until the next panic strikes.
Apparently, some people need a little bit of fear to act, but that might not necessarily be a bad thing. In fact, fear can be a great motivator, and in certain situations can help us take the actions we need to take to keep ourselves and our loved ones out of harm’s way.
Fear can be a powerful ally.
Fear is a primal instinct that was given to us for a reason, and if we use that fear as a motivating factor – instead of a weight that drags us down – then we take something that’s usually thought of as a negative influence and turn it into a powerful ally. The problem with fear is most people simply don’t know how to react to it; they’ve become desensitized by a culture that uses fear as a way to control and tear down, instead of as a motivating factor to do something to help our situation.
The key to turning fear into an ally is examining where our fear comes from and then using that information to take action. It’s the action, and rising above our fear that puts us ahead of the unprepared masses who will succumb to its devastating effects.
- Fear can bring clarity and help us realize what threats we need to prepare for.
- Fear, if used as a motivating force, can help us gather data, plan & prepare for future problems.
- Fear should be channeled into something positive; the action that helps alleviate those fears.
Removing the effects of Fear from disasters and crisis situations:
While aspects of fear can be helpful under certain circumstances, if you don’t learn how to how to properly control it, it can be a debilitating killer. In a survival situation, the last thing you want to experience is a significant amount of fear during what is an already a stressful situation. Preparedness is the antidote to that fear.
In his book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, author Dale Carnegie gave some of the best advice ever written on worry. One quote from the book that I think is particularly helpful in regards to preparedness is,
If you have a worry problem, do
these three things:
1. Ask yourself: “What is the worst that can possibly happen?”
2. Prepare to accept it if you have to.
3. Then calmly proceed to improve on the worst.
I think that advice is exactly what preparedness minded people do by preparing for disasters, and it’s exactly what’s going to give them the advantage when things go bad. By mentally preparing for the worse, excepting it (if it’s likely to happen), and then figuring out ways to not only survive but thrive during the crisis, you can defeat the negative effects of fear.
Like Carnegie says in his infamous book on worry, “Get the facts. Let’s not even attempt to solve our problems without first collecting all the facts in an impartial manner.” Preparedness is about knowledge, and knowledge is power. It’s also the key to survival.
Resources for Overcoming Fear
- The bible has a lot to say about both Fear and Preparedness: Check out our article on 5 Things the Bible Can Teach Us about Preparedness
- Disaster Related PTSD: How to Recover from Disasters and Traumatic Events: This article gives you resources for dealing with anxiety and disaster related stress.
- Physical Fitness: One of your Top Preparedness Considerations: One of the best ways to protect the mind is to start with the body!
- Mindful Preparation: Surviving Traumatic Events starts with Developing the Right Mindset
Books we highly recommend for dealing with fear and anxiety:
- How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
- Self Help For Your Nerves a.k.a. Hope and Help for Your Nerves