SKILLS: Are You An Ace in the Hole When the SHTF?


  • By: Adrienne
  • Posted on: March 14, 2014

Companies have certainly caught on to the fact that the prepper market is expanding on full throttle. During times such as these, it’s easy to get confused about exactly how to prep. Between the ads, the concerned neighbor down the street and our own preconceptions, it can seem like we’re always making a mad dash to the store for a seemingly essential item.

However, we soon find out that the fancy knife, filtration system and year-supply of dehydrated food was either overpriced, low quality, unnecessary or simply doesn’t work the way we imagined. It isn’t long before we’re asking ourselves questions like, “Should I take it back?” or “I’m stuck with this… but, when am I ever going to use it?”

Know Leverage

It may seem like there’s no way out of such predicaments for the novice prepper. But fear not; there is one simple tool we can use that will make prepping far less expensive and purchasing much more effective. It can actually reduce the amount of gear and supplies we require. The kicker is, this tool weighs nothing, and will only cost time, energy and (sometimes) money to acquire: knowledge.

Thousands of dollars’ worth of preps, food, storage, weapons, power sources, etc… are useless without the knowledge concerning these preps. But, if we have extensive survival knowledge, a well-conceived plan, knowledge of our gear and supplies, and a rational view of our potential scenarios, we are now able to leverage our time, energy and money.

This is why I believe that knowledge is our #1 asset, whereas the acquisition of gear and supplies come in at a distant #2.

Be Your Own Ace in the Deck

Many preppers are familiar with the term “ace in the deck.” Basically, this means that an individual in your group or team has a certain set of skills or knowledge that is unique and highly valuable. Essentially, this person can not only provide and protect him or herself, but others will fight to protect the individual as well. Being an ace is an asset to both you, and every friendly you meet in a doomsday scenario.

For many of us who haven’t dedicated ourselves to a specific skill that will become valuable when the SHTF, becoming an ace can seem like a daunting task. However, I must argue that it is essential if you ever want to become truly ready, understand your own preps and survive when many have not.

#1: Determine Your Strategy, Own It and Learn It Well.

This is absolutely essential, even before you decide to go out and drop a grand on your preps. All too often, we see new preppers spend their life-savings on gear and supplies that they themselves do not understand.

For instance, when the prepping lifestyle really began to increase in popularity, many new preppers began purchasing firearms and ammunition. I’ve seen people go out and unload big bucks on a Springfield M1A and five thousand rounds of .308 ammunition, only to have no clue how to use it, what that baby can really do and, most importantly: how to operate the weapon safely. Not to mention they purchased a combat weapon without being trained in combat tactics, strategy and proper safety protocol in the field. At their skill level, these novice preppers could have bought a much cheaper weapon and experienced the exact same results.

The best way a prepper can move forward is to craft a prudent strategy and own it. The reason why there is no single dominant book on prepping technique is because everyone’s situation is different. You might live in a high-rise apartment building in the city, a trailer in the desert or a lovely two-story house in suburbia. You have your own medical needs, your own objectives and your own preference of hunkering down or heading for the hills.

But the one aspect that links all of these situations together is that you should strategize and plan first, know the ins and outs of the gear and supplies you plan to acquire second and make your purchases within your own budget last.

#2: Become Highly Skilled in at Least One Major Aspect Of Prepping.

In a doomsday scenario, being a jack-of-all-trades is a good thing… but your only advantage is that you’ll have a head start when bad things begin to happen. The essence of prepping is that you are simply learning and preparing to live in a dark future, and you are getting ready for it ahead of time.

However, the natural survival instinct engrained in all of us will cause society to shift towards living the lifestyle you’re already preparing for. This means that the jack-of-all-trades will eventually become commonplace and less valuable. But the master of a skill will never lose value.

It is for this reason that a good prepper should become a master of at least one thing. Receive tactical training, study medicine, become a grease monkey, learn to hunt and trap… or whatever you believe would make you indispensable. Also, pick something you’re interested in and genuinely enjoy learning about.

In addition, you can even learn about a field that will advance you in these pre-SHTF days. For example, if you can invest in your mastery and also receive credit from taking online college courses, then you’ve just leveraged your time, energy and money in an even bigger way.

#3: Get Out There, and Get in Your Dirt Time.

‘Dirt time’ is basically the practice of implementing your preps in a dry-run during this pre-doomsday era. This means that you actually go hunting, fix a car or build your own windmill. You simply cannot learn everything from books and Google; you need to know that you can successfully live with the preps you’ve made.

Dirt Time will provide two essential advantages:

  • First, you will learn to pick up those subtle nuances you can’t learn from a book. Things like the heart-pounding rush of ‘buck fever’ while pulling the trigger on a whitetail, the salty taste of dehydrated food at camp, and the claustrophobia of a fully stocked basement. Either way, it’s important to understand how to deal with these nuances so they don’t catch you off guard.
  • Second, once you’ve already had ‘para-real-life’ experience with your preps and your own mastery, your confidence level will rise…

…and confidence is the reward of good preparation, a sound mind and the knowledge that you truly are a jack-of-all-trades and an ace in the deck.

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Updated: March 16, 2014 — 6:57 pm

The Author

Rich Fleetwood

Rich is the founder of SurvivalRing, now in it's 20th year, author of multimedia CDs and DVDs, loves the outdoors, his family, his geeky skill-set, and lives in rural Missouri, just a few miles from the Big Muddy. Always ready to help others, he shares what he learns on multiple blogs, social sites, and more. With a background in preparedness and survival skills, training with county, state, and national organizations, and skills in all areas of media and on air experience in live radio and television, Rich is always thinking about the "big picture", when it comes to helping individuals and families prepare for life's little surprises.

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