“Doing the Stuff” vs Pretending

by Todd Walker

Are you ‘Doing the Stuff?’


How well do you know your stuff?

To answer, you need to know what ‘Doing the Stuff’ involves. And how it applies to your individual life, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

In a nutshell…

Doing the stuff of self-reliance and preparedness takes action. Non-living things, like a rock or water, do not take action to exist. The matter they are made of will always exist and can’t be destroyed. Living things, on the other hand, have to take self-directed actions to sustain life and survive.

These life-sustaining actions (Doing the Stuff) take practice.

No amount of social media notoriety can replace Doing the Stuff.

The low profile preppers with 17 followers on Twitter may be the SmartestPreppers on the planet. They’re innovative, hard-working, and focused.

Here’s what I mean…

As my online presence grew, I began to be more concerned with twiends, likes, and shoutouts than actually doing the stuff of preparedness. Ego bait is very alluring.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m very thankful, humbled actually, to have friends and followers in cyberspace! But in the end, when it really counts, cyber friends can’t physically be here to help me and my family. That’s on me. As it should be.

Four categories of Doing the Stuff are listed below:

  • Physical Stuff
  • Mental Stuff
  • Emotional Stuff
  • Spiritual Stuff

First, let’s cover physical preparedness. Not because it’s the most important. It happens to land first on my list.

The physical stuff of prepping seems to garner the most attention in the preparedness community. Shelter, gear, gadgets, guns, gold, tools, first aid, food, and various shiny objects are all part of being prepared. But make no mistake, all four areas are intertwined on our journey to preparedness.

Doing the Stuff with Your Stuff (gear/tools/equipment)

Get intimate with your physical stuff. This is the part where you have to actually use your stuff. Whether it’s a gun or pressure canner, spending quality time with equipment builds confidence in you and those depending on your ability.

Hanging a hammock seems like a simple task. Connect the ends to two trees. That’s if you have enough strap or rope in your pack. Until you practice with your equipment, it’s not idiot-proof.

Doing The Stuff vs Pretending

Testing DRG’s new hammock and straps in the safety of our backyard.

I bought DRG commercial straps for her hammock instead of my DiY rope system. The straps come with loops along its length which makes it easier for her to connect the hammock carabiners.

Use the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Sherpa) method every chance you get. I like using climbing rope to hang my sleep system. The rope adds another layer of redundancy to my kit. But more importantly, this is the method I practice. My tarp and hammock can be hung in under 5 minutes.

Testing in different conditions brings new challenges. Try these exercises:

  • Wear a pair of winter gloves when testing equipment to simulate cold weather survival. Can you tie a simple truckers knot or figure 8 knot with gloves on?
  • Practice with your off-hand to simulate an injury to your strong hand.
  • Visual aides (glasses) won’t always be available. Practice without your readers on. But keep extras in your kits😉
  • Doing the stuff in the dark. Yeah, we’re human. We know how to do that in the dark! That’s not what I’m referring to. If having the lights on ever becomes a security risk, being intimately familiar with your gear would be a huge advantage.

I hope I never need to employ our stuff to survive a life or death situation. We practice anyway.

Doing the Stuff in Life or Death Scenarios

The effects of stress in survival situations can turn your practiced skills into mush. Under the stress of life or death threats, our sympathetic nervous system (SNS) takes over as a survival mechanism. We know it as the ‘fight or flight’ response.

The SNS takes over and dumps stress hormones which affects our vision (tunnel vision), thought process (brain shuts down), fine motor skill (loss of dexterity), and sends massive amounts of blood to our large muscle groups (to fight or flight).

You get the picture. Fine motor skills are diminished and the gross motor skills are enhanced. Making your plans as simple as possible, and applying the K.I.S.S. method to your gear, allows you to take advantage of this shift if you’re ever faced with life threatening survival.

Doing the Stuff for Your Body

Doing the stuff involves more than just testing and tweaking equipment. Physical conditioning will play an important role in our survival, both now and after a reset.

The most important place to start doing the stuff for functional fitness is in your kitchen.

  • 90% of the cause of chronic health conditions can be found on America’s dinner plate.
  • Be your own health vigilante. Take your health into your own hands. This past year taught us that modern medicine is run by pharmaceutical companies. There’s a chemical soup in pill form for everything – with horrible side effects.
  • Explore holistic health practices based on plant medicine.
  • Eat nutrient dense foods. Avoid processed junk foods.
  • Get regular exercise without being married to the gym. Develop a mindset of functional fitness. Lift heavy things, move slowly every day, and sprint (max capacity) once every 7 to 10 days.

This barely scratches the surface on doing the physical stuff of preparedness. Hopefully it helps you answer my opening question, “Are you Doing the Stuff?” If not, why not?

Preppers are motivated by the thought of losing or not having things (liberty, food, water, shelter, and all those cool shiny objects) that sustain life – even if they’re not scarce now. We stock up. To add even more value to your stuff, start practicing with it.

Keep Doing the Stuff,


Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network on PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

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Categories: Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival | Tags: , , | 26 Comments

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26 thoughts on ““Doing the Stuff” vs Pretending

  1. Excellent post… I’m going to add some of these to our school ‘skill set’ list. I also love how you inadvertently tie it to the ‘love’ verses (Mark 12:30 and Luke 2:52). Mind-Soul-Heart-Strength.


  2. Great post! Reading Doing the stuff in Life or Death Scenarios made me think of the time I got a call that my husband had been taken to the emergency room by ambulance. Suddenly, I couldn’t focus very well and I even had a hard time driving a car! That SNS is tough to deal with. Imagine if I had only driven a car a few times in my life? Practice, practice, practice or as you like to say “Keep doing the stuff”.🙂


    • In my coaching days I always told my players that we do what we practice. If we were sloppy about fundamentals, no amount of adrenaline rush during the game would compensate for poor technique.

      Thanks a ton for stopping by Julie!😀


  3. Thanks for the reminder! Spending more time on the computer than actually doing the stuff can be addicting😉


  4. I thought about this same thing today. The whole reason I started blogging about preparedness is so I could learn more about it and share it with anyone who was willing to listen. I have had days where I felt like I needed to get a post done, even if it meant I didn’t share the best information, rather than take the time to really learn and practice before I shared it. I try to take a look at my very first post and remind myself why I started the blog and I try harder to stick to it. Anybody can do a google search, it’s personal experience that really helps us learn better.


  5. Great post Todd and something I agree that people forget to focus on (even me sometimes). Murphy has a hand in a lot of things at all of the wrong times. Practicing makes you better able to deal with his mess when it really counts.


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  7. This really spoke to me. I’m on hiatus from blogging right now because I am too busy doing and learning (not to mention being mom, wife, homesteader, homeschool teacher, etc.). Just got Tim Larkin’s self defense (or rather surviving asocial violence) program and one of the most profound things that he says is that slow motion practice is effective practice for the moves that one must take in order to survive a violent attack. Anyway, the point is that we need to practice physically — and I believe in practicing mentally too! Going over the steps in your mind has some merit but cannot completely replace the hands-on practice. Muscle memory!🙂


    • Hey Crunchy Mama, I’d say Doing the Stuff takes first place over blogging everyday! Sure do miss you, though🙂

      I discovered Tim’s method a few years ago. Great stuff! I think he has a real-world view of violence and teaches effective ways to deal with it.

      Keep doing the stuff!


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  9. Todd,

    Good and timely reminder.

    Online networks of like minded individuals are great, but aren’t a replacement for a local network. Doing the stuff includes building the local network you’ll need for tough times!

    Keep doing the stuff…and sharing it with your readers!


    • Good to hear from you, Andrew!

      Your are right on the money. That’s exactly what I’ve written about in the past but have not been vigilant in doing. I’ve got some tribe built, but need to expand. Neighboring matters. Thanks for the kick in the pants🙂

      Hope all is well with you and yours. Thanks for stopping by and adding to the discussion.


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  12. brfs2013

    Hey Todd,
    Great article, I agree completely with the idea of learning, practising & using your survival skills with your grab and go gear in advance. I’m a rookie in the “web” community but I’ll be sharing these thoughts with others where ever I can.


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