Overwhelmed? Four Tips for the Stressed-Out Novice

Prepping is a unique hobby, but it’s similar to most other interests in one respect: Once you start scratching below the surface, you quickly see how much there is for you to learn, do, and acquire if you are really serious about plunging in. For the beginner, the steps toward mastery can seem brutally overwhelming, and this path can seem especially forbidding for people who are accustomed to our society’s quick-fix lifestyle. If you’re reading articles and message boards and feeling discouraged, here are four tips to keep in mind before giving up.

Slow and Steady

Remember: All of those experts with their encyclopedic gun knowledge and their storehouses that look like Sam’s Club were just like you at one point. They acquired their knowledge and products over a period of years. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to be ready for doomsday tomorrow; even you did have to, you couldn’t. Keep your eye on the “next step.” Learn to crawl. Learn to walk. Leave the flying for later.

Take Predictions With a Grain of Salt

You know how you’ll buy a new car and then immediately start seeing that car everywhere? Human beings see what they’re focused on, so it’s no surprise that people heavily involved in the prepper community tend to see disaster around every bend. Whether it’s Y2K, Ebola, or Zika, there are always people screaming about the imminent end of the world. Keep an eye on developing stories, but don’t start panicking until there’s a reason.

Follow Your Natural Interests

Frequently, people arrive in the prepper community through some semi-related channel. For instance, many gun hobbyists find their way into prepping through that natural overlap between firearms and survival. Naturally, they’ll tend to emphasize that aspect as they begin getting deeper into prepping. If you came in through gardening and self-sustainable living, you’ll probably be inclined to concentrate on that part. Use your strengths, follow your interests, and gradually expand your horizons as time goes on.

Set Small Goals and Ignore Big Ones

One of the most destructive myths in Western culture is that there is an “end point” for most of our goals and dreams. This is the way a lot of people approach musical instruments, for instance. They envision a certain amount of practice over a certain number of years that will provide them with a certain amount of skill. At that point, they’ll “be a guitar player,” or whatever. Try not to take this approach with prepping. Focus on small goals and ignore big ones like, “When I have this-and-that, I will be done.” Otherwise, you’re just setting yourself up for frustration.