I find it hard to believe that the actor Will Smith was the first person to say this, but I do think it holds a lot of truth in a small sentence. This is going to be a wide-ranging blog, so buckle up!
Please keep in mind that all of this is my opinion, not a blueprint for your own life. I am not a lawyer, a Doctor, someone with military experience, or whatever other disclaimer I need to add. But I do think that there is no downside to the things I am about to share. Having spent just over 50 years on the planet, I have seen examples of all of the following situations in the course of my life, so I am speaking from direct experience.
Let’s start with personal preparedness at the most basic level: Self Defense. It is one thing to live your life day by day and hope to never have to physically defend yourself, it is another to be prepared to do so in one form or another. Some carry a gun, ALL of whom should take a CCW class so you understand how and when to use your weapon. Just owning it is not enough. Others study a martial art or take boxing classes. Hopefully you are given the option to talk your way out of the situation or possibly run away. As long as you escape the threat, consider it a win. There are plenty of times that you should hand over your car keys to someone who is pointing a gun or knife at you. It is a physical possession that can be replaced, you have insurance for it, and it is not worth dying over. Give them your wallet if it keeps you alive. Everything in it is replaceable, you are not.
If you are given absolutely no choice, you have exhausted all options such as handing over your possessions, running away, etc. and you have to fight someone, you’d better do more than just watch the UFC and think you can replicate some of those moves. You need to train your body as well as your mind for a situation like that.
As the saying goes:
“Better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.”
You need to train and prepare for a hyper-adrenaline moment like this, and be able to properly defend yourself and/or neutralize the situation. You also have to understand the consequences of this course of action, as you could get gravely injured, you could do the same to someone else, you could get jumped by several others if you are “winning”. There is only one good outcome of a fight, and that is to avoid it altogether. But again, sometimes you are not given that option. Too late to get ready. And think of the peripheral benefits of this lifestyle: better health, a different mentality than most, peace of mind. These are things what most people want but are not willing to work towards.
Along this same line of thinking but in a different vein, let me touch on the need for preparedness at home. Hurricane Ida just ripped through Louisiana and then wreaked havoc on the East Coast a few days later. If you haven’t seen the pictures of Philadelphia flooded to the point of being within feet of bridge above, this is one of the things I am talking about. A historically unusual cold snap froze Texas out last winter, and people were stuck for days without being able to leave their home. You need to get prepared for ANY type of disaster, and to be self-sufficient for 30 days if needed. COVID-19 was another warning shot of why you need to be ready for whatever may come your way. Have extra food and water on hand, have a stockpile of toilet paper and all the other household items you need. Shop at the Discount Store if needed, I do. You never know what the world is going to throw at you, so you better be prepared. Don’t be one of those people who is fighting the masses to get to the grocery store to buy what you need twenty-four hours before a hurricane hits, or the government shuts down your city for public safety reasons. Be prepared and you never have to get ready…
Right on the heels of the preparedness at home is the need for financial preparedness as well. It took me a while to learn this one, as I wracked up a lot of debt playing on the Pro Racquetball Tour and a bad mindset about money. I was DEEP in debt not that long ago, but I made it out, mainly due to the help of my wife. She has been good with money for a long time and she taught me how to do better. Together we got out of debt and now are debt free except for our mortgage. We have money in the bank to the tune of a year’s salary, giving us plenty of breathing room if one of us loses our job. You will never have a better night’s sleep than when you KNOW that if everything fell apart tomorrow you have time to solve those issues without moving in with your parents.
Too many people are far too concerned about how many followers they have, what car they drive and what zip code they live in. At some point (hopefully) we all learn this lesson; for many, it is far later in life than optimal. We all go through that phase during life, it’s called High School. But some carry that mindset all their lives, and that is a sad way to live. Get yourself into a position of comfort not flash. Everyone’s definition of comfort is different; my is a second home on the mountains, frequent fly fishing trips and nice dinners with my wife. I’ll keep driving my 2009 Highlander, thank you. I don’t need a cool car or a jacked up Jeep. I like those things, but I don’t need those things. If I spent $800 a month on a car payment, not to mention insurance and the other expenses that go along with it, this is money out the door and not furthering my plan. I don’t care to impress people, especially people I don’t know. I don’t have a single friend that cares what car I roll up in. In my opinion, neither should you.
And yes, you need a plan. A written out plan on what you want to accomplish AND the plan on how to get there. I didn’t dig out of a $70,000 debt hole overnight or without a plan. My wife and I followed the Dave Ramsey Debt Snowball Plan and got out from under that crushing weight. Now we are looking for that 2nd home in the mountains…
There are plenty of reasons to do the things I have said above. If you have kids or plan to, you are setting the stage for them to understand how things can be. Buying your kid a new Jeep on their 16th birthday is not helping them understand how life works. As the old saying goes:
Tough times make hard men.
Hard men make easy times.
Easy times make soft men.
Soft men make hard times…
This cycle has been true throughout time, and guess where we are right now? You got it…the Soft Men times. Life has been relatively easy for quite a while now, two generations at least. Spoiled kids are a sad reminder that their life was too easy. They never developed the character to do all the things I wrote about above. There are times when you have to get sh*t done, and no one but you can do that. This is a life lesson that each of us need to learn on our own. We cannot change someone, we can only lead by example show how things COULD be if they lived differently.
Stop chasing the material things in life and start planning the life that you are going to enjoy living. Get yourself ready for this journey called life, it is a bumpy ride no matter how well prepared you are. But if you are prepared, things are much less difficult. Think of it this way: “The goal is you have enough money to go to a restaurant and not worry about the prices on the menu. Everything else is just gravy” Joe Rogan said that on one of his podcasts that I heard, and I thought that pretty much summed it up.
Motivation gets you started, habits keep you going. Work on building a life of good solid habits that facilitate getting you where you want to go. In some ways it is that simple. Try, fail, learn and try again.
Figure things out and keep walking the path forward. Or suffer the consequences…its your choice. No one can do these things for you, you HAVE TO do them yourself. Be autonomous when necessary. Help yourself so if you desire you can then help others. Live the life that you planned out instead of drifting through hoping for the best.
Be prepared….it is way better than getting ready.
I wish you luck in your endeavors.