Preppers Should Look At The Bigger Picture


Have you ever tried to encourage someone you know to prepare, only to have them look at you like you have three heads? Or have you started your preparedness journey and only found a sense of guilt about not moving as quickly as you’d like? Or my personal favorite: Do you have family members who joke about not needing to prepare because they have got you to lean on?

All of these scenarios are simply a result of one of the eight major mindsets regarding how one should address the need for preparation. If you can properly identify your own mindset and the mindsets of those around you, you can then make a concerted effort toward improving your mindset and strategizing around the personalities and approaches of those in your sphere of influence. While none of this information is rocket science or special insight, it is helpful to take a look at the bigger picture of the community you are preparing in so that you can accurately make your plans.

Here are the eight mindsets I’m talking about and what you can do about them.

Ignore It

Everyone knows someone with this mindset. You try to talk to your friends and family, and they don’t want to hear it. They seemingly recognize the signs of the times, but for whatever reason they have decided to stick their heads in the sand and ignore it. For these people there doesn’t seem to be any immediate solution to “wake them up” beyond time and circumstances. As disasters continue to unfold in the world around them, they may eventually hit that same “ah-ha moment” that you did at one point. Outside of the hope that time may change things, the best thing you can do for them is continue to draw their attention to what’s coming without pushing a preparedness agenda. As the saying goes, “You catch more flies with honey.”

Deny It

This type of individual is getting harder and harder to find, yet there are people out there who don’t see any storm brewing. If you have been trying to convince someone like this that he needs to prepare, we would encourage you to simply move on with your personal preparedness while keeping in mind that these same people will look to you for help when an emergency strikes. This is one of the major reasons for the necessity of community and the existence of organizations like Category Five and Personal Liberty. There will be many ill-equipped families in your life that could use your leadership someday, and perhaps what you learn here will be the very thing that ends up saving their lives.

Moochers And Thieves

While the intent of these types of individuals may be different, their motivation is the same. These are those you meet who laugh it off and then joke about “just coming to your house” or “just gotta be the first one to the grocery store” if something goes wrong. Unfortunately, this is a large segment of the world’s population today as we have a society conditioned to live on handouts and entitlements. It seems that every time a disaster strikes somewhere, a large number of people begin looting, stealing and rioting. Preparing for this type of scenario is an entirely separate subject; but for now just recognize that this dangerous mindset is out there, especially in urban locations. If you have people in your life who fit this mindset, stop telling them about your preparedness and prepare for the fact that they will show up at your door when the time comes.

Bottle Rockets

These are those you know who were convinced in one short conversation that the world is ending and immediately went out and bought gold, bullets and a case of bottled water. However, after the first 12 hours of “freaking out,” they then moved on to the next exciting thing; they never bought a gun for their bullets, much less prepared for a long-lasting crisis. If you know this type of person, you can help him by equipping him with quality preparedness guidance (i.e., the Category Five Preparedness Guide) as well as using this as a prime opportunity for you to begin leading others as you prepare yourself. These tend to be sanguine (bubbly) individuals; so, from a personality standpoint, you will want to keep things upbeat and exciting. If you can learn how to have fun in your preparedness, others will be more apt to listen.


Slow and steady wins the race. This may actually be you; if it is, congratulations for beginning your preparedness journey. Nonetheless, while this mindset is viable, it is not the best approach to preparedness as a whole as it can lead to being only half prepared when a crisis hits since you spent time and money elsewhere. Additionally, you may be only half prepared because much of your food has expired by the time you rotate it. Whatever the result, if the “slow and steady wins the race” approach is taken, just make sure it’s not too slow or too steady.


Without mentioning names, there are organizations out there right now using fear and panic to sell their goods; and in doing so, they are encouraging people to hoard as much as they can before it’s too late. While stockpiling is part of the preparedness lifestyle, it cannot be the primary solution. For one, the primary difference between hoarding and preparing is when you are doing your stockpiling. In my opinion, if you are building your storage ahead of a crisis, then you are not “hoarding.” Hoarding is applicable only to those who stockpile in the midst of a crisis. This is a significant difference in the motivation and operation of stockpiling.

Addressing the healthy side of stockpiling, the limitations of this mindset really come down to the length of time that you find yourself in “crisis mode.” Unless you have extensive financial and storage capabilities, stockpiling can provide only enough food and water for a few months at best. For this reason, it is necessary to start considering long-term solutions for your preparedness plan while stocking up on particular items that provide a foundational basis from which to work from.

Lone Wolves

In many ways, another name for this mindset is the “survivalist” mindset. Lone wolves are those who enjoy the wilderness and survival lifestyle and have convinced themselves that they can make it on their own if necessary. While this mindset is great for those who live in (or bug out to) extremely remote areas or those who might go down in a plane crash in Siberia, this mindset ultimately falls short of accounting for the reality that other people will be present. Whether better security is needed because of others or because friends and family will need help, the lone wolf mindset is a good place to start, but is not the type of mindset that is practical in 99 percent of real-life emergencies.


This mindset may not be suited for everyone, but I believe this is the ultimate goal of anyone who truly wants to be prepared for an inevitable crisis. This mindset goes beyond buying a bunch of stuff and learning how to grow a garden. Granted, in order to become a prepper, both of these are necessary. But changes in your lifestyle will need to be made in order to bring preparedness to the forefront of your decision-making paradigm. Rotating food, storing gray water and building emergency kits are just a few of the changes that make this mindset necessary to live the preparedness lifestyle. Not just getting prepared for “someday,” but preparing on a continual basis. Once you have this mindset, you will find yourself free from the fear of disaster. More importantly, you will be able to lead others in their time of need.

Understanding the different preparedness mindsets will help you to focus your efforts on the type of preparedness plan that is right for you, given that possible disasters and crisis situations range anywhere from residential power outages to hurricanes to disease epidemics to a global economic meltdown and even another world war. Those who primarily consider the potential for a regional crisis (i.e., Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, the Japan earthquake, forest fires) are more likely to have a bottle rocket, turtle or stockpile mindset. On the other hand, those who see the possibility of a long-lasting global crisis (i.e., the Great Depression, world wars, an epidemic) are more apt to have a lone wolf or prepper mindset.

Regardless of your mindset or your opinion as to what might actually happen in the future, I have always found it helpful to understand the bigger picture as other people see it. Once I have an idea as to where they stand, I can make my plans accordingly (not to mention having a better idea about where I myself stand). Now, the only thing left to do is educate yourself about the hundreds of other things you need to do that match your plans.

–Austin Fletcher

Personal Liberty

Austin Fletcher

is the Executive Director of Category Five, a Preparedness Education Network, and is a prepper at heart. After graduating from Arizona State University with a degree in Global Business Management, Austin spent seven years in pastoral ministry while building ministry and business relationships around the globe. During that time he became keenly aware of the coming financial storm that is upon us today, and has been prepping ever since. For this reason, in early 2009, Austin and his team at Category Five began to change the original purpose of the organization to become what it is today. Prepping is not about being an expert in survival or having experience as a former Special Forces soldier; prepping is about building on the strengths of those you prepare with and educating yourself about things you can control. This is the idea behind the Category Five, and the necessity of a Preparedness Education Network.

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