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The Survivalist Mindset: Do You Have It?

Survival isn’t always about the gear you carry…

Hello everyone, this is Rob Raskin of Las Vegas, and this week I’d like to talk to you about what it takes to be mentally prepared to survive a disaster. We’ve all heard stories of people who went into the wild with a lot of planning and equipment and then perished. We’ve also heard unbelievable stories about people who found themselves in life-threatening circumstances with no preparation and made it out alive. What’s the difference between those who make it and those who do not?

Your most powerful and reliable survival tool isn’t something you can buy: It’s your mind. Even when you have no gear, no supplies, and it seems like you have no chance, as long as you are mentally tough you have what it takes to get through it. Often, to get others through it with you as well. Conversely, even with the most high-tech, sophisticated gear and weapons, if you’re mentally weak and you can’t handle pressure, you may very well be doomed.


Traits a True Survivalist Must Have

Here at CATS2010, I have shared an ongoing series of riveting survival stories that have captivated my attention. Despite harrowing odds, these individuals survived because they shared the following traits.


  • The ability to embrace learning – A true survivalist reads, researches, practices, seeks out mentors, and looks for new ways to do everything. If you’re never satisfied the first time because you know you can do it better, this describes you.


  • A positive mental attitude – A true survivalist knows a defeatist attitude is the first step in…well, defeat. You are going to make it because your mind is sharp and you know how to stay focused, without letting ego, fear, stress, and emotions get in the way.


  • A commitment to self-care – How are you going to survive if you aren’t strong enough to endure? The simple answer is, you aren’t. A true survivalist stays in shape by running, lifting, hiking, climbing, swimming, and doing whatever they can to keep strong and active.


  • A community they are a part of – Your chances of survival are greatly increased if you don’t go it alone. When the SHTF, you’ll want a trained team behind you, each of whom brings a skill to the table. A true survivalist knows how to build, nurture, and maintain these alliances.


  • The motivation to push through the worst of it – A true survivalist will persevere after others have thrown in the towel. Your mental toughness and refusal to give up will not only keep you alive—it will help the people around you to survive.


  • Natural leadership ability – A born survivalist is a born leader. You know how to cut through the BS and get straight to the heart of the matter so you can do what needs to be done. People look to you for guidance because they know you can be counted on.


  • The ability to be adaptable – Throughout the history of the planet, organisms that could not adapt and evolve have died out. This will include you if you can’t identify what is worth keeping and what you need to let go of if you want to stay alive.


If you see these traits in yourself, you’re off to a great start and likely to survive the worst. If not, it’s not too late to develop these traits now, but someday soon it may be. Time to get started!


How to Develop the Survival Mindset

One of the best ways to develop the strong, positive survival mindset you’ll need is to practice endurance techniques. Push your body and your mind beyond anything you’ve previously expected of yourself. Workout harder. Run farther. See how long you can tolerate immersion in cold water. Use visualization and meditation to focus and picture yourself overcoming obstacles. Step outside of your comfort zone and do something you always said you would not.

One exercise you may find helpful is to picture various disaster scenarios and imagine how you would react. What would you do if there was a terrorist attack wherever you are right now, using whatever is at your immediate disposal? Would you be able to defend yourself? Would you be able to help others? Do you know where the escape routes are? Do you know which rooms can be locked? Once you consider the possibilities, it becomes obvious there is a lot to mentally prepare for.

On top of the possibility of terror attacks, Americans today face social unrest, EMP strikes, natural disasters like flash floods, earthquakes, and tornadoes, and more. Once you have trained your mind to think and react like a survivor, you will have a significant advantage over those who weren’t prepared.



The late Colonel Jeff Cooper discusses mental conditioning for combat.



You can cultivate a survival mindset.



Should You Buy Gold to Avoid the Banks?

An article in the Atlantic made the claim, “. . . when an economy goes full-on Mad Max and we’re all reduced to bartering, the survivors are going to be more interested in useful goods than in a soft metal useful mostly for ornamental purposes,” but how can we know this will be true? Along with food, water, shelter, and ammunition, precious metals like gold and silver should be a part of your survival kit. No one has any idea what the world would look like in the event that disaster were to strike, but if there are opportunities to buy valuable supplies in the event that you needed them, wouldn’t you be glad that you had gold to barter with?


An International Currency

One thing every social collapse in history has had in common is the use of gold as a commodity. One argument for investing in gold is it can be traded across international borders. While it is true that the borders as we know them now may change or cease to exist entirely if there were a major upheaval, new borders will inevitably be created. It makes sense that you’d want some form of currency that you could use anywhere, and in any situation, regardless of who you happen to end up bartering with. There is also always the possibility that you will be able to trade your gold for another nation’s currency if need be.


Will it Lose Value?

Because no one can say what would happen to world economies or gold values or whether there would be total financial collapse, your gold would still be as valuable as anyone else’s. If your gold is worth considerably less somewhere down the line, everyone else’s will be as well, and you will still have something that is of worth even if that worth has changed. If it ended up without any trade value at all, then that may be something you’ll need to decide if you are willing to risk, but if you are in a financial position to invest something into gold just in case, isn’t it better to be safe than sorry?


Gold or Silver: Which is Best?

Silver or gold? That is a question you’ll need to carefully weigh before you make any big investments. While there are advantages and disadvantages to both, silver has a better chance of being included in trade, and it can be easier to deal with because it can be used in smaller increments that can be traded for smaller items of value that you may not want to part with an entire gold ingot over. A well-rounded survival plan will include both, just to make sure you are covered in any situation, and following the market will give you an idea of when the best time to buy is so you can maximize your investment.


What the Experts Say

Experts recommend not investing more than 3% of your portfolio in precious metals, and for most investors that is a fair trade to make for a little peace of mind. There are some who claim that voluntary trade will be just as valuable as gold in a post-apocalyptic society. If you aren’t in a position to invest in gold and silver, it should not be a major concern as you can focus on other areas of preparation such as your stockpile of canned goods, water, first aid supplies, and weapons, which may very well end up being of far more use to you in the long run.