by Todd Walker
“Could I get some collard greens with that?”
“Automatic!” answers owner Dexter Weaver.
“Automatic for the people” means you get what you want at his diner.
The phrase became more than a slogan when R.E.M.’s “Automatic for the People” album was released in 1992. The band borrowed the line from Weaver’s hole-in-the-wall eatery and the rest is history. Rock-n-roll groupies from around the world journey here to eat home cooking and hear “Automatic!” from across the counter.
What if you could make prepping automatic?
Automatic for the Prepper
In the prepping habit loop, preparedness becomes habitual. Your preps go on autopilot. Things become automatic for you. Brushing your teeth is a habit. So is smoking. The mechanics of walking are too. Imagine what it’d be like to relearn how to walk after a stroke or injury.
Good or bad, habits are formed to free up our brains to handle more complicated issues. They help us conserve mental energy. You don’t have to stop and analyse the simple act of tying your boots. You probably have the same daily routine in the shower which frees your mind to create an invention to save the world while you butcher that song stuck in your head.
What I mean is…
- You don’t have to spend mental energy thinking about whether to carry your concealed sidearm and other everyday carry items. They automatically have a home on your body or purse. You feel naked without them.
- Kitchen scraps get tossed into the compost container on the counter without any real thought.
- Buying ‘extra’ food no longer seems odd or expensive.
- Taking the stairs to the third floor while your co-workers wait for the elevator is your new normal.
- Spotting what you once called a nuisance weed in your yard is now viewed as a source of healing and nutrition. And you see them everywhere now!
- You don’t even notice how functionally fit you’ve become from tending your garden.
- ‘Hoarding’ is no longer a nasty term. You call it redundancy.
- You hardly use your Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving anymore. You’ve canning is on autopilot.
- Prayer or meditation stops being a duty. It has become a normal part of your daily practice.
- You can make your morning pot of coffee with your eyes closed – which is usually the case anyhow.
Given enough time, habits become automatic for the prepper. Warning: They cut both ways though. They can lead to your survival or demise.
I’m not going into depth on the Habit Loop today. If you want to learn more about Habit Loops (cue – routine – reward), read my previous article here. For now, let’s look at 3 habits that should be automatic for every prepared person.
Automatic Habit #1 - Build Knowledge
As Crunchy Mama reminded us recently, “Knowledge weighs nothing.” Make a habit of studying preparedness, survival, and self-sufficiency information. In the spirit of “Automatic for the Prepper,” here’s some resources I’ve found helpful on my journey to preparedness and self-reliance.
- Survival News Online
- Survival Blog
- Prepper Website
- Lew Rockwell
- Mark’s Daily Apple
- The Organic Prepper
Since starting this blog over a year ago, I’ve learned a lot by researching articles, following rabbit holes on the net, and connecting with others with similar life themes. One source of exceptional knowledge I’ve discovered is from you, those that comment and offer advice in comments and emails. You may not run a high-profile blog or be a best-selling author but your insight and common sense transcends ‘experts’ more times than not. We are truly thankful your here!
With that being said, what websites, books, resources, or people have helped your climb?
Automatic Habit #2 - Build Skills
Now put that knowledge to work with some hands-on skills. Yes. You have to practice for these to become automatic.
- Making fire with many methods
- Purifying water
- Storing food properly
- Defense, protection, and situational awareness
- Building community – comes in handy when bartering and borrowing
- Growing your own food (plants and animals)
- Do it Yourself skills – how hard could it be attitude
- Hunting and gathering and eating without poisoning yourself
- Preserving the harvest
- Critical thinking – applying creative solutions – my daddy called it rigging stuff
- Producing stuff
Automatic Habit #3 – Question Everything
My experience in the prepper community has been very positive for the most part. Preparedness minded folk are willing to help no matter where you are on your journey.
Prepping has only recently come into vogue in our modern society. Sure, there has always been hardcore prepping going on. Not so long ago preserving food and growing chickens in the yard was not just a hobby, but the difference between feeding your family or going hungry. There weren’t any super-sized box stores you could jet over to and pick up tonight’s garlic roasted yard-bird in a box.
When I lived in Siberia just after the fall of communism, a good Russian friend there had just returned from visiting America. She asked me, “Why is everything super? The stores, the drinks, everything is so super.” I thought it was a strange question at first. She just saw the ‘greatest country on earth’ and her main take away was that things were labeled ‘super’ when they really weren’t super at all. Then I got it.
From her point of view, one that I have since adopted, super isn’t always super. In her culture, the word carried a real meaning. Super in Russia actually meant of high quality or extreme. It wasn’t tacked on a cup of soda unless it was a superior drink. The word still held its basic meaning.
Not so much here. We’ve overused and misused the meaning of ‘super’ to sell stuff. The preparedness community is not immune to Madison Avenue’s influence. Buyer’s remorse happens in our ranks too.
Remember hearing any of these as a kid or adult?
- Get good grades, go to college, build your credit, be loyal to your company, get a gold watch, and live happily ever after
- “Don’t rock the boat” – put on your happy face and go along to get along
- The ‘Civil War’ was fought to end slavery
- Relocating to remote wilderness is the only strategy to survive TEOTWAWKI
- Eating a low-fat diet is healthy
- We’re from the government and here to help
- The classic – “Be careful! You’ll put your eye out”
- Stay in school or you’ll be a ditch digger for life
- You can live off the land and be a lone wolf survivor
- Dial 911 and wait for the authorities
- Have gun – will survive
- Follow doctor’s orders
The problem with making #3 an automatic habit is that it is so much easier to just accept what others tell us is true. The challenging part comes when we wake up to the fact that these myths are myths and, if exposed, there’s a personal cost we must pay in pursuit of truth.
Seeing the truth is not enough. I call it The Window Shopping Syndrome. We walk past a beautiful dress in the window of our favorite store. We stop. We want it. We return the next day to look. It’s still there. Our desire begins to burn. We crave the dress. The color is perfect. We repeat the this pattern several days. It becomes a habit. We go out of our way to pass the window. We want it so badly. Our desire hasn’t changed. But…
We’re not willing to pay the price.
The price is too high. So we settle.
These are the 3 habits that should be automatic for every prepper. You got any suggestions? Let us know in the comment section if you like.