by Todd Walker
Change is inevitable. Survival is optional.
One of the most liberating days in your life is when you come to realize you are responsible for your own success. No more excuses. No more blame game. You’ve entered the no-victim zone.
The concept of survival distills down to pain management and increasing pleasure. Bingo! You start planning. You spent long hours studying, reading, buying, and mining data to build the perfect system. You attend preparedness expos, interact on discussion forums, devour books, and maybe even start a blog.
Congrats! Your hard work has finally paid off.
Just as you finalize your sacred plan, even before the laminating film cools, some world event or local elected thug makes it a non-perfect plan. An unexpected health issue, job loss, or simply ignoring that nagging gut feeling about your family’s future can blow your plan to nothingness.
The beauty of pressure and time is its ability expose weaknesses. Ignoring science and history, you find yourself driving down the road to your fatal dead-mans curve clinging to your laminated preparedness plan.
I apologize up front to anyone reading this who happens to be “set in their ways” or downright rigid. You’re not going to enjoy what follows.
Adaptability and agility are two key elements you must develop to increase your chance of staying alive. Unplug your laminating machine, grab a pencil, paper, and several erasers because creating a living Individual Preparedness Plan gets messy.
First, let’s go back to your middle school (junior high in my case) science class for a refresher course on the 7 Characteristics of Living Things. And please, no spit-wads hurled at the teacher.
Learning Goal: The student (you) will identify and apply the characteristics of living things to your Individual Preparedness Plan for survival and resilient living.
1. Living things are highly organized, from the smallest part to the largest.
- Cells are organized into tissue (muscle)
- Tissue into organs (liver)
- Organs come together to form organ systems (nervous system)
- Organ systems work together to form an individual living thing
- More than one living thing makes a population of these particular things (the population of wild turkeys on your back 40)
- The population becomes part of a community composed of different kinds of living things (species). It’s were living things live, work, play, etc.
- An ecosystem is then formed when all the living things, non-living things, environment, and energy come together in their happy place
2. Living things have the ability to get and use energy.
- Without a constant supply of energy (food) living things die and become food (energy) for much smaller living things
- For humans, we use energy (food and fuel) to maintain the our core body temperature around 98.6 degrees F – our happy place
3. Living things have the ability to respond (movement) to their environment.
- Sensitive to changes and responds (movement) to the stimuli in the environment
- For example, the ability to move your hand off a hot stove (pain), or marry a hot wife (pleasure)
4. Living things have the ability to remove waste
- Living things use different methods to excrete waste
- For humans, the simple act of breathing removes waste
- If a living thing is unable to excrete waste, it quickly becomes an organism formerly known as a living thing
5. Living things grow
- Living cells grow to a certain size and then divide
- A living thing turns stuff unlike itself into more stuff like itself – eat kale (plant) and it chemically turns into more of the eater (human)
6. Living things have the ability to reproduce and pass on genetic information to baby living things
- Reproduction is essential for the survival of the species
- All living things reproduce by either asexual or sexual reproduction
7. All living things have the ability to adapt to their environment
- Adaptation is a trait that helps living things survive in its environment
- Living things that are better at adaptation increase their survival and reproduction rates, thus strengthening their species
- Important note: only individual living things have the ability to adapt – species do not adapt, they evolve
- Variations of individual living things makes the species stronger (individualism)
Now, let’s discuss the application of this mini-lesson to your Individual Preparedness Plan.
When evaluating your IPP to determine if it is living or non-living, all 7 of these characteristics must be present.
If your plan follows just a few on the list, it’s a non-living IPP. To stay in the living category, your plan must show all 7 characteristics. Granted, we are all individuals at different stages of development. Our progress in certain areas may be strong while other areas need immediate attention. A humble analysis will be required, as will ongoing monitoring to ensure you and your IPP maintain living thing status.
1.a. Applying “Living things are highly organized” requires, um, organization. Lists are popular with most preppers. Simply having a list of lists doesn’t mean your organized. Lists will get you pointed in the right direction, but energy and focus are required to fill the list. SurvivalBlog offers the best lists I’ve seen to help organize, acquire skills, and stay on the living things list. You can find the “List of Lists” link on the left side bar near the top of his blog.
Organization applies to more than just stuff. Your living IPP should include finding other prepper populations and building community. Lone-wolf living organisms rarely survive.
Now, if I could only remember where I put my list?
2.a. What’s your plan for “Living things have the ability to get and use energy”? To avoid becoming room-temperature, pay close attention to these basics: food and water. Plan now to secure the knowledge and skills for sustainable food and water – to be converted into energy for your body. We all need energy to push, pull, and move.
Also, since we don’t hibernate, alternative, sustainable methods of energy production keeps us in our happy place, warm and dry. Consider passive solar, geothermal, hydroelectricity, and wood heating. There’s more. Any suggestions?
3.a. Think movement when applying “Living things have the ability to respond to their environment.” Your IPP should include a plan for Getting Out Of Dodge if you sense or see that your present environment will soon be hosting a bunch of non-living things. Keeping a 72-hour emergency kit ready is for smart living things. Or, if you know your environment will be full of non-livers, avoid the rush, make the necessary sacrifices, and move already.
Physical movement takes energy (see 2.a.). Natural selection favors those living things that are able to move efficiently. Stop neglecting your fitness. Nuff said.
4.a. “Living things have the ability to remove waste” must be applied if you plan on being a living thing. Applied to your physical body, elimination is essential. For the purpose of your IPP, the same holds true. Apply the Sherpa Simple philosophy to your stuff. Cleaning out that colon you call a storage closet brightens your day and makes room for useful stuff. Today’s society of consumers collect shiny stuff that, unless eliminated, turns toxic. Eliminate and flush.
5.a. Applying “Living things grow” to your plan. Your paradigm of preparedness should grow exponentially. Your IPP should include specific skills that need to be developed for you to be a well-rounded living thing. This is not meant to be applied to your waist line. What you thought you knew was the best today, changes tomorrow. Stay informed on practical ways to grow physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Remember, to grow, we need energy.
6.a. Applying “Living things have the ability to reproduce and pass on genetic information to baby living things” to your IPP. Is your plan reproducible? Could your neighbor, neighborhood, or community reproduce what you, the individual living thing, are doing? The genetic information of preparedness and building resilience needs to spread to audiences outside the present prepper population. When each newbie living thing begins taking personal responsibility, the community and entire “ecosystem” becomes stronger.
7.a. How you apply “Living things adapt to their environment” is the cornerstone to all living Individual Preparedness Plans. When living things are involved, expect monkey wrenching. Mother Nature keeps a tool box full of monkeys and wrenches. Bouncing back is easier if you have flexibility and redundancy built into your systems. A rigid tree won’t last long in the coming storms.
The problem with life is it changes. Well, it’s not a problem, it’s just reality. As a matter of fact, change is what keeps us out of that state of atrophy. Avoid pain and increase pleasure by applying these middle school science lessons to your Individualized Preparedness Plan.
Change is inevitable. Survival is optional.
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