by Todd Walker
Are bad habits pulling you to the bottom of the prepping abyss?
Can you beat them?
The experts want you to ‘believe’ you can. You want to believe. The whole self-help universe wants you to believe. But you know yourself better than anyone. You know your bad habits, intimately.
Break them or you’re doomed. You’ll never survive anything doing those things!
Okay, that’s a little much.
But here’s my spin on ‘bad’ habits.
What if you could be an epic prepper, not in spite of bad habits, but because of them?
Many books tell you how to be a highly successful prepper. You gotta get your beans, bullets, and band aids in order, buy productive farm land, live of grid, fill up your basement with gold and silver and food, and build a tribe of like-minded people to help with all the unknowns ~ not to mention guard duty.
To achieve the apex of self-sufficiency, all your bad habits have to go. You must stay focused, set goals, stay physically fit, and learn everything – even the stuff that’s not important and you’ll never use.
If you’re a huge Steven Covey fan, you’ll want to stop reading here. Go ahead. Click away.
Still with me? Okay, you’ve been warned!
(this clever flowchart was copied from joeydevilla.com)
If you notice any of these 4 ‘bad’ habits in your journey to preparedness and self-reliance, stop beating yourself up over them. Learn to embrace them and let them do their job.
I have seen highly productive people benefit from these no-no’s in the business world and the preparedness community.
#1 – Shiny Object Syndrome (Distractibility)
You may have been diagnosed with ADHD in school. Bogus! I’ve never bought into this made up, money making psychological disorder.
First off, there’s no way to prove anyone has ADHD or any other psychological ailment. Psychologists suggest possible problems in your head, you stew on it a few days, weeks, years, and all of a sudden – WHAM! You’ve got ADHD.
Celebrate your faux ailment. Here are a few famous people who were diagnosed with ADHD (or displayed many of the alleged symptoms) that found a way to tap into their natural creativity, imagination, and sense of adventure to make history.
- Richard Branson
- Albert Einstein
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Thomas Edison
- Suzanne Somers
- Agatha Christie
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
Good company indeed! You can be productive even with all the shiny objects vexing you!
Those 27 open tabs on your browser are actually a badge of honor! Don’t let non-Shiny Object Syndrome suffers tell you otherwise.
#2 – Too Giving and Sensitive
The image of sensitivity is not what comes to mind when we think of a rugged survivalist/prepper. We tend to get stereotyped as thick-skinned, uncaring, hoarders, and sometimes, down right nasty individuals.
Do some of us fit that description? Absolutely.
Non-prepper types may be tempted to lump you into that one-size-fits-all fringe. If you’re sensitive and not so thick-skinned, you may bristle and want to buck up to show your tougher side – online or in person. Resist the urge.
James Rawles (SurvivalBlog) does a great job of promoting charity and how to build giving, especially in tough times, into your preparedness plans. According to him, it’s not optional if you’re a Christian prepper.
And it’s not a sign that your weak because you’re sensitive and giving to the needs of others. Quite the opposite. Your ‘weakness’ becomes your strength.
#3 – Productive Procrastination
Here’s your morning prayer: “Please, Lord, make me more productive ~ just not today!”
I admire procrastinators. You know the ones I’m talking about. They’re constantly not doing the things that they ‘should’ be doing.
There is an element of putting off that works to your benefit – even in the preparedness community. Procrastination implies negative action (what you did not do). It’s the stuff we did not do that we’re suppose to feel shameful about. Even when we are working on something, we aren’t working on other stuff – projects or skills or duties or relationships. Most of us can only do one thing at a time.
We are all procrastinators. Even the most productive and efficient preppers put things off. It’s part of our nature. Our instinct. There’s no cure. It’s been argued that procrastination is a survival mechanism inherent in all of us.
Procrastination benefits us only when our life if not in danger. You don’t hesitate when your toddler is scampering toward a busy street. But not reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – NOW – won’t destroy your life.
Studies say that nearly 1 out of 5 adults practice chronic procrastination. For me, I use procrastination as a tool for doing the stuff. Here’s what I’ve learned from Procrasti-Nation:
- New perspective, solutions and more efficient ways of doing the stuff.
- Prioritized lists – the must do’s go in the small notebook – all others go in the larger notebook of projects.
- Playing with the Shiny Objects in #1 frees my mind to create new ideas.
- Balance procrastination with my obligations.
- No shame in putting off.
- Goals and objectives are moving targets. I don’t hit them all, and I don’t beat myself for missing.
The issue is not to figure out how to stop procrastinating, but to learn how to do it well. Sitting in a coffee shop ‘wasting time’ has led me to many great ideas and people. Being a slacker from time to time ain’t all bad.
The last sentence is not meant to give you license to put off the important stuff on your preparedness plan. Heed this warning: if procrastination halts progress completely on your plan, you know it’s in the unhealthy zone.
The real trick for me is knowing when Dirt Road Girl has had enough.
#4 – Doubting Yourself
You’ve got questions. So do I. We get into trouble when our pride eclipses our self-doubt.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – an old philosopher
How could Socrates make such a bold, unequivocal, no holds barred, no wiggle room statement?
Questioning conventional wisdom, or the program that runs your life, causes you to grow personally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
While believing in yourself and your ability creates productive prepping, questioning yourself and plans is critical. A healthy (not fatal) dose of doubt slows you down and provides time to reflect (see #3).
Self-doubt is not navel gazing and pity parties. Questioning your plan of action, even in the middle of it, no, through the whole process, will help you hit those moving targets.
Having complete blind faith in myself is one trait that has left me in a crumpled, crying heap many times. If only I had honestly questioned my motives, tactics, and direction.
Do you fall into any of these categories? All of them? What ‘bad’ habit(s) would you add to the list that helps you prepare?
Keep doing the stuff,
I’m expecting some updates from our Doing the Stuff Challenge last week. Of course, after this post, I’ll understand if you’re dragging your feet.
- Are You a Prisoner to Your SHTF Plan? (survivalsherpa.wordpress.com)
- 10 Secret Steps to Overcoming Paralyzing Prepper’s Block (survivalsherpa.wordpress.com)
- How Horrific Will It Be For The Non-Prepper?, by Be Informed (survivalblog.com)