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I’m always fascinated to hear the many reasons why people don’t prep. In our neighborhood, my wife learned from a friend that a mutual acquaintance was planning on coming over to our house in the case of a dire emergency. My wife has met this woman exactly once. So why doesn’t she prep herself? Apparently, she’s just too busy.
Too busy to look out for her own family but not too busy to make the calculated decision that she, her strong, young husband, and their 3 kids will drive a few blocks to our house and, basically, steal from us.
So what other reasons do people have for not prepping? Well, in no particular order, here’s what I came up with:
Yep. In a world filled with vapid video games, celebrity worship, and a shallow understanding of how anything works, anything at all, there are people who have simply never considered doing something today to prepare for tomorrow. They’re the same ones who couldn’t handle a $500 emergency and have to run to the store hours before a hurricane hits to buy milk, bread, and eggs. We know them as “French toast people.”
Their IQs are probably adequate for getting through the mild ups and downs at life, but when thrown a curve ball of any magnitude, their choice is to sit back and wait to be taken care of.
“It can’t happen to me.” “It’s never happened here.” We’ve all heard these sad refrains and can only pity the people who believe them. If all emergencies came with a 1-month warning, they wouldn’t be emergencies, would they? No matter your income, education, status, or title, sooner or later bad things will happen to you, but, for now, it’s easier to remain in denail than actually think about those scary scenarios and prepare for them.
We know from basic human psychology that when the human brain is confronted with something terrifying, it sends 1 of 3 signals to the body: freeze, flee, or fight. For Americans who have never had to deal with much out of the ordinary, thinking about a nuclear war, an economic collapse, or a geography-changing earthquake causes them to often freeze. Acknowledging potential and possible scenarios like these is too difficult and they remain frozen in their inaction.
People in this category would do well to read Gavin De Becker’s best-seller, The Gift of Fear, and understand that very often, fear makes us do some pretty smart things, and that includes prepping.
Now here’s a weird one but I’ve seen it in my wife’s family. Back in the days of Doomsday Preppers, I heard some of them make fun of the preppers depicted in the show and then laugh at a couple of relatives who had thought of prepping themselves. Those folks backed down, as in, “Well, I guess it is kind of silly, huh?” when facing ridicule. Hard to imagine that mature adults, with kids, mortgages, jobs, and other responsibilities would back down, but they did.
I’ve heard it said that TEOTWAWKI has a date. You just don’t know what it is, yet. That dire medical diagnosis, news of a loved ones death, the loss of a job, a Category 5 hurricane, “the storm of the century”, they will all happen at some point. We just don’t have the ability to peer into the future to know exactly what will happen and when. So, most people procrastinate. They’re busy, money is short, the spouse isn’t on board, or maybe they just aren’t all that worried, but for whatever reason, they don’t prep because they’re rather put it off for another month, anothery year.
Normalcy bias differs a bit from denial because denial is a conscious choice. Normalcy bias is a little trick our brains play on us. It’s a survival mechanism that causes us to believe that everything will be okay. The Survival Mom writes about witnessing a tragic traffic accident and, to her eyes, seeing a scarecrow fly through the air. In fact, that scarecrow was a human being who had been jettisoned from the car’s window, but her brain insisted, “It’s a scarecrow. Humans don’t fly, silly!”
Our brains for survival and normalcy bias is one way it prepares us for the most traumatic life events. So, for those who insist that really, really bad things will never happen may just be suffering from normalcy bias.
Sense of superiority
If your above average intelligence, wealth, and overall superiority naturally places you in a lofty position, high above the riff-raff, then you probably also scoff at the idea of stocking up on cans of beans. After all, you know best and those dummkopfs on Doomsday Preppers are just a bunch of redneck hillbillies. What could they possibly know that you don’t? Right?
I know people with this attitude, and maybe you do, too. It seems to be a combination of arrogance and denial, a dangerous blending of 2 potentially lethal beliefs. You quickly learn to not even try to reason with these people. After all, if you had their bank balance and degree from a fancy university, you, too, would realize your own invincibility. You poor sap.
Life’s overwhelming burdens
I don’t have much patience with people in the previous categories, but this one, well, I’ve been there — burdened down with a stressful job, behind in paying taxes, rowdy and loud kids, a wife always behind in household chores while trying to keep a smile on her face.
Sometimes life just seems to keep you under its heavy boot and the last thing you need to hear is, “Hey, you’d better start prepping for the end of the world, man.”
Where will the money come from? Where will I get the time when I’m already working 50 hours a week, plus some weekends? On top of everything else, the last thing I need is to start worrying about an economic collapse, a civil war, nuclear bombs going off — I just want to take a nap and maybe escape for a while in front of the TV.I understand and sympathize. I really do.
In the past 9 years, my wife and I have gone through some of these mindsets, or excuses, depending on your point of view. A lot of preppers do but since we understand the need to be ready for when the S really does hit the fan, we eventually get back on our prepper feet and keep going, a little at a time.
With others, though, I don’t nag or even talk anymore about prepping. I don’t want my friends to start avoiding me and in the case of co-workers and family members, I need to maintain a positive relationship with them. They know where to find me if/when they change their mindset about being prepared.
Have I covered all the reasons people avoid prepping or have I missed one?
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