Ability Is A Poor Prepper’s Wealth

by Todd Walker

“To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” Lao Tzu


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I use to look at all the preparedness blogs and books and turn green drooling over all the cool stuff these folks say I needed to survive an emergency, SHTF situation, or TEOTWAWKI.

I’d wake up at crazy hours of the night wondering how I’d get my family to safety in an emergency. I still envy some of my self-reliant heroes and heroine. It’s addictive. But I’ve come to realize that only makes me more stupid.

I’m no expert on anything. I’m a self-professed serial multi-tasker. I consider myself the stupidest survivalist on the planet. I’ve added lots of preparedness knowledge to my brain, but I have to balance my knowledge with wisdom. Taking away things like prepper envy adds wisdom. It’s so unwise to envy what many in the prepper community have in terms of gadgets, supplies, skills, and tools.  But I catch myself still doing it. Then I remind myself to live Sherpa Simple.

Here are 7 ways to beat the envy trap.

Prepper Envy Cure #1:

Be honest. Seems simple. The most useful, yet most neglected, item in my preparedness toolbox is honesty. I wish I was more honest with myself. I said I’m the stupidest survivalist on the planet. I really feel this way. This isn’t false humility or self-depreciation babble. This falls into the more I know, the less I know category.

Arrogance humbles. Last year I decided I needed to start working out with my BOB (Bug Out Bag). I consider myself to be in above average shape for my age (50). So I sling my 40 pound pack on my back and start my daily 4 mile walk with my Dirt Road Girl. Into mile 2 I discovered I hadn’t been honest about two things: A) my fitness level; B) the amount of “needed” stuff in my BOB. Find out before showtime if you’re ready. Be honest and adjust your lifestyle.

Prepper Envy Cure #2:

Don’t worrying, be happy. Pollyanna notions about whirled peas is not what I’m talking about here. Worrying may be the biggest drain and waste of energy in the prepper community.

A friend gave me this advise in the early 90′s that has served me well since (when I do it): Be prayed-up and laid back. At some point, we all have to get over ourselves and depend on a higher power. Mine happens to be God. This is by no means a He’ll take care of everything excuse not to prepare for my future. Prepare. But stop worrying about things you can’t control. Do what you can do, do all you can do, and let go of the rest.

What’s your biggest fear?

Prepper Envy Cure #3:

Hone your abilities. Coach John Wooden once said, “Ability is a poor man’s wealth.” You don’t have to be wealthy to be prepared. Skills trump gadgets.

Ability comes from experience and practice. Doing the Stuff. Turn off the TV or computer (ONLY after you’ve finished my article) and get outside and practice woodcraft or camping skills. Take a kid fishing/hunting. Walk your lawn and identify common weeds that might be useful for meds or food. You do have weeds in your yard right? I know exactly were to find plantain in my yard for the occasional tick bite or skin irritation. It’s an amazing wild weed!

Quit wishing you had the latest shiny survival object some experts say you need. Time spent developing skills helps dissolve prepper envy.

Prepper Envy Cure #4:

Avoid stupid mistakes. Avoid getting a personal “Darwin Award”.

“That could have put your eye out,” Mama said.

Why? Because we were shooting our BB guns at each other and she found out. It was obvious with the welt over my brother’s eye. Two inches lower and she would have been right!

We all make stupid mistakes. Prepper envy doesn’t have to be one of them.


Fatwood shavings lit with a ferro rod

I’m a big proponent of backyard bushcraft. Your backyard is a great laboratory for testing gear and developing skills before you actually need them. As you get comfortable with a skill in a controlled setting, say fire craft, take the skill to the next level on a day hike or camping trip.

Prepper Envy Cure #5:

Exercise mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I know I should have only listed 4 cures. But I refuse to have “list envy” on top of prepper envy – (you’ve seen it, “The 39 Top Threats…”,  “7 Myths That Schools Teach as Real History”, “30 Canned Foods You Never Knew Existed“).

Functional Fitness: The Wild Woodsmans Workout

Squats on the rocks!

Check out these functional fitness ideas that will save you a gym membership and build your physical fitness.

Prepper Envy Cure #6:

Fail forward. No regrets. I regret way too much. Not what I don’t have so much, but what didn’t do.

When I was five, I wanted to grow up to be the guy that rode on the back of the trash truck. It looked fun at the time. I don’t regret following that childhood dream. I do regret wasting so much money, time, and energy on stuff that really doesn’t matter in the big scheme of life. I envy those with no regrets. See how it’s a vicious cycle.

Regrets waste energy and stop your momentum. Let the past go. In an earlier chapter of my life, I read a John Maxwell book or listened to one of his cassette tapes (that dates it, huh?). I remember hearing the phrase “fail forward.” That stuck with me. I don’t always follow this wisdom, but it’s still true.

Regrets kills future ideas! I’ve never read any science on this, but it’s been proven in my life. The more I wallow in regret, the less creative I am.

Prepper Envy Cure #7:

Perfection is overrated. If you have OCD (Obsessive Compulsion Disorder), I feel for you. My mother-in-law has it. I don’t know how I passed the vetting process to marry her daughter. Thankfully, she overlooked my many imperfections.

We’re bombarded with thousands of images daily promoting perfection – the perfect figure, job, car, drug, home, makeup, gun, knife, etc. Resist the urge to envy ‘perfect’ people/preppers. Their life may be photo shopped. Be yourself. That’s enough.

Be honest about your imperfections. This quality opens more doors and opportunities than the vinyl veneer of perfection.

See, I told you I’m the stupidest survivalist on the planet.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


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Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Bushcraft, Camping, Doing the Stuff, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival | Tags: , , , | 18 Comments

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18 thoughts on “Ability Is A Poor Prepper’s Wealth

  1. Good lessons for preparedness and life in general.


  2. JP

    Thank You!


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  4. I envy you that you could carry your bug out bag 2 miles, way to go!


    • I’ve whittled it down to about 30 pounds now. It’s a great workout, especially in the woods.

      So glad you stopped by and commented. BTW, great site you got!


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  10. susan

    TYTYTY I am DEFINITLY passing this on !


  11. Pingback: Ability Is A Poor Prepper’s Wealth | Survival Sherpa | From the Rat Race....

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