by Todd Walker
Dizzy by data. Information overload sucks! Your brain is transformed into a pond of stagnant scum. Information flows in but just sits inactive with no circulation creating a breeding ground for pesky parasites in your cerebral cesspool.
When I first heard of the prepping movement about five years ago, I began investigating. Even though my parents had raised me to be prepared, my search in the online world of preparedness made my brain cells explode. The amount of information available was overwhelming. This past April, I decided to start this blog and add a few words to this avalanche of data asphyxiation. There in lies the problem. How can we apply of all this information and turn it into practical preparations?
Here are three simple, non-rocket-science steps that might help.
Knowledge is the first step in acquiring a new skill. The problem in our age of information is T.M.I. – Too Much Information. Most information we get from virtual friends on social media sites, news outlets, the bottomless email bucket, our bosses, the government, our spouses [just kidding Honey ;)], our pastors, and especially our school teachers… is totally useless. We’re bombarded with thousands of messages daily. It’s hard to focus. To paraphrase the Bible, “Without a vision, the people would perish in a bog of data.” Not productive. Close the other tab and quit looking at cats doing stupid stuff on YouTube and let’s get started.
Smart phones and new technology are wonderful tools. We’ve got to learn to govern our intake. When I decide on a new skill to add to my tool box, I get all the knowledge I can from as many proven sources as possible. You’ll find many “expert preppers” online and in print. I don’t put much stock in a lot of gurus unless they are doing the stuff. There’s nothing new under the sun. So find out who is doing the stuff and follow them, Grasshopper. It’s just like eating. If you eat junk, you’ll feel like crap when your body is called on to perform. Feast on good, credible info.
I know I’m at my saturation point when my spongy gray matter yells, “Enough already! I can’t take anymore!” Time to unplug and assimilate.
The dictionary defines assimilation this way: The process of receiving new facts or of responding to new situations in conformity with what is already available to consciousness. In other words…
Time to dig out of the avalanche. Do you have a clear grasp on the knowledge? Can I wrap my mind around the concept now? To get there, I like to break the data down into manageable chunks. Understanding comes when I’m able to clearly see the complete idea behind the knowledge I’ve gained. This is where the “ah ha” moments pop up.
For instance. Last week marked my first day with students this school year. After boring them with all the rules and procedures, I held up a #2 pencil. “How many people does it take to make this pencil from scratch?” One or two, up to 14 was their response. I told them that to make one pencil, it would take millions of people. This started a great discussion on all the equipment, technology, raw material, transportation, equipment, and man hours involved in pencil production. Light bulbs began lighting up. We took a concept and broke it down into its raw, organic chunks. That’s understanding. By the way, if you’d like a simple lesson in free market economics, search “I, Pencil”. You can download it free in some places.
You’re not done yet. To make the knowledge and understanding useful, it’s time for the hardest part…
This is where the majority of people experience an epic fail. They simply don’t start. Articles, videos, and books are not enough. My goal here is to motivate you to start doing. Every prepper must confront his/her resistance to doing. It could be laziness. This doesn’t apply to most preparedness minded folks I know.
Maybe money is the excuse. You don’t need the shiniest bells and whistles to be prepared. If the S hit the fan today, I have a feeling that a lot of preppers would have no clue as to how to make use of the stuff they’ve stockpiled. Like the bug out bag kit they bought that they never got around to testing. I’m not hating on these folks, I’m just saying get busy doing the stuff with your stuff. Know how it works intimately. How many uses can one item have? I pack all my kits from things I’ve made or put to use regularly. The other stuff is just shiny eye candy and heavy.
Due to Dirt Road Girl’s cancer, she won’t be returning to teach this year. We certainly feel the vise squeezing our family wallet. At the same time, we accepted the challenge of prepping with one less paycheck. How hard can it be, right? We’ve been there – done that before. Frugality and the right attitude is essential. Whatever the objection, you are the only person alive able to confront the issue of not doing the stuff.
Plan your work – work your plan. Make doing the stuff a lifestyle. In the past, I would never budget time to “prepping”. It was a hit and miss shotgun blast. Now I devote 30 minutes each day to pure preparedness. That doesn’t sound like much but it adds up. 30 minutes/day x 365 days = 10,950 minutes/year or 5,475 hours of doing the stuff. This allows me to work my plan every day. Momentum is a preppers best friend!
If your cerebral cranium is stagnating, dynamite the dam by doing. A lot of preppers are riding the wave of knowledge hoping they’ll be able to do the stuff WTSHTF. Granted, reading about it is better than total ignorance. But can you do it when it counts? Do the stuff now while resources are available. It would benefit all of us to turn off our computers and smartphones and get busy doing… Only after you’ve finished this article of course.
K.U.D. helps me live a simple, self-reliant, back-to-basics life… and avoid information overload.
Follow me on Twitter for the latest on our journey to self-reliance, preparedness, and resilient living: @SurvivalSherpa