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Take Control Speedometer Think Big Want ChangeThis article isn’t for everyone. Hopefully, it’s not for you. It’s about being proactive rather than reactive. It’s about not accepting life as it is, but about having a vision for a better life and doing what it takes to make it happen. I’ve titled it “Take Control of Your Life.” Sandy thinks I should have titled it “Enjoy Your Life.” She might be right. Because that’s ultimately what it’s about.

My inspiration for this post has came from different sources over a number of years. It’s like I’ve been hearing variations on the same message for a long time, and they’re just now really coming together and forming a more complete picture.

Inspiration #1 — Several years ago, I had the opportunity to see sales trainer and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar. If you’re not familiar with this great man and his teaching, I think you could benefit from his wisdom. Zig started his talk by asking if you could think of five things that you could start doing right now that would improve your life. No problem! I can come up with a list that’s as long as my arm — eat better, exercise regularly, learn new skills, save for retirement, spend more quality time with my wife, develop meaningful relationships with the people God puts in my path, etc., etc., etc. Each and every one of those things is well within my ability to do right now.

So why am I not doing them? In some cases I’ve taken the path of least resistance. I’ve chosen to do what’s easy rather than what’s right. In other instances I’ve just fallen into a rut and mindlessly put my life on auto-pilot. Work, eat, TV, bed, repeat. Too often I operate by being reactive instead of being proactive. I don’t take the time and effort to consider if there might be a better approach that I should be taking.

I’m certain that there are a huge number of other factors at work that hold me back and prevent me from taking control of my life and making it the kind of life that I really want it to be. I need to become actively aware of these things and fight against them at every turn. I need to bust out of these ruts of inactivity and take control of my life.

Inspiration #2 — When Sandy and I were first married, we lived in an apartment that had a large rectangular space that served as the living room and dining room. The side wall was something like 27 feet long and was all white. The TV was against that wall in the living room area. We sat and stared at our little 19-inch TV for a couple of years before either of us noticed that the TV and the stand it sat on were the only things we had on that long expanse of white wall. It was like that on the day that we moved in and we had done nothing to change it or to make it our own.

Last summer I found Sandy doing some work out in the yard. She was changing something that had been just as it was since we moved to this house nine years ago. I said to her, “What are you doing??!!” She looked up at me and said, “I decided that this is our house and our yard and I can make it be whatever I want it to be.”

She was absolutely correct, of course, but this was just so unlike either of us. Our tendency, although never consciously thought out or expressed in any way, was that we just accept things the way they are and work around them. We play the hand that we were dealt. Sometimes there can be virtue in that approach, but in this case it was shackling us to the way things are and keeping us from enjoying the liberty of how things could be.

Inspiration #3 — We got a lot of comments on our last blog, including a couple from a reader who goes by the handle of “Snake Plisken.” My new buddy Snake made a point that resonated deeply with me. He said:

Getting back to your original topic, prepping makes me feel secure. I can feed myself, warm my house, provide clean drinking water, and defend myself for many months, if required.

For instance, I resigned from a job last week that I’ve had for 7 years and am in the job hunt process outside of the industry I’ve been in for 24 years. I would never have done that drastic move if I didn’t have months of savings and plenty of supplies on hand. I’ve got that cushion to rely on and am now aggressively pursuing new and interesting opportunities. I could have never done this had I been unprepared. Luck favors the prepared mind and yeah, I’m a bit scared and anxious, but prepping has given me the opportunity to pursue what I want to do.

Dang, Snake! I want to be like you when I grow up. Snake nailed it when he talked about the freedom that prepping brings us. Because he has a storehouse of goodies, not only is he able to provide for his family if a disaster strikes, he also has the security to voluntarily leave a job that he really didn’t want anymore in order to pursue something that’s more to his liking. Is it risky? Could he burn through all his preps and be no better off at the end? It’s possible, but at his age and with his skill set it’s a manageable risk with the potential of a great return. The important thing is that he isn’t just sucking it up and sticking with something that doesn’t make him happy and riding it out until retirement. He’s leaving the old behind and making a change that will make his life be what he wants it to be.

As a result of reading this article, I would like each of you to try something that you have an interest in that you’ve never done before. I want you to answer the question that Zig Ziglar asked and begin just one thing right now that will improve your life. When the poo hits the fan, most of us won’t be in a position where we can take risks. Our preps will help us through, but but we’ll be cautious about using them. Right now is the best opportunity to do it. I don’t think the world is getting any better or more secure. The time to take control of your life is now.

By encouraging you to step out, take a risk, and do something new that could improve your life, I’m not issuing you a License to Be Stupid. Talk to your spouse and talk to God. Pray, listen earnestly, and if God doesn’t tell you not to, give it a shot.

Snake Plisken is leveraging his preps to improve his future, not just hoarding them to subsist when the approaching day hits. He is “rearranging the furniture” of his life instead of just doing what he’s always done before. He never would have taken the plunge if he didn’t have his preps to live on while he’s pursuing his dream. Because it helps you take control of your life, prepping is a very, very good thing.


What We’re Reading

I got this for Christmas from my mother-in-law. Almost 800 pages of self-reliant goodness, this fat book is a compilation of articles on topics by multiple authors, ranging from solar power to gardening to hunting to foraging to you name it. It’s all written at a very approachable level, making it perfect for prepping newbies. If you want to pursue homesteading on any level, whether on a patch of untamed wilderness or at your home in the city or suburbs, this book is a great reference that will help you on your journey to becoming more self-reliant.

4 Responses to Take Control of Your Life

  • Snake Plisken says:

    Hello Phil, I went to a company sponsored Zig Ziglar seminar conducted many years back and you’re right, the guy is an inspiration. i hope that his message will inspire you and your spouse.

    Here’s a quick update on my job search. I interviewed today with a company that sells metal roofing to residential and commercial buildings. This dovetails nicely with my construction and sales background and the territory is a 70 mile radius from my home and they are based 3 miles from where I reside. They are growing rapidly and I like assisting companies grow through my efforts. They are under serious consideration.

    Lowes wants me to work in their hardware section and that is of real interest to me as well. If it’s just a seasonal hire then perhaps I can work the schedule around to work for the roofing company and Lowes. the possibilities are right there in front of me.

    There is another component to my job search that I’d like to share with you. I’ve always been a fairly religious Christian and when I embarked on this new path i asked G-d open my heart and my eyes to new opportunities and I would take advantage of whatever doors became open. By having a plan and being prepped as well as being a believer I have been truly blessed and am grateful.

    One funny thing though. I stopped by a Menard’s store and filled out an application. Some of the questions made me laugh out loud.

    1) What dollar amount have you stolen from your previous employers? a) 500 dollars b) 250 dollars c) 100 dollars d) 25 dollars.

    2) Please tell us how much illegal drugs you do. a) much more than my friends. b) the same amount as my friends c)less than my friends d) much less than my friends.

    When I was finished I started to walk out of the store with the app and the clerk ran after me yelling ” Sir! Sir! Stop! You cannot take that application out of the store!!! ” Really? I asked. I just wanted to show my friends because they need a good laugh too.” He grabbed for the app and crumpled it in my hands and tossed it to him and then went about my busy day with a big smile on my face.

    Just had to share my friend.

    You mentioned in your post that Zig had challenged all of us to find ways to improve our lives and to list the ways to do that. Could i give just a little advice or make a suggestion? Start small with whatever challenge you want to take on. If you devote just a half hour a day to something that interests you, you will be amazed at how a new skill or interest will magnify itself.

    I apologize in advance for the long reply but I really enjoy reading you blog.

    Blessings to all!

    Snake Plisken

    • Snake — Sounds like you’re in a good place right now. Maybe you can start a bidding war for your services. It was nice to hear of your options. Keep looking up. And thanks for the inspiration for this blog posting.

  • Jay says:

    A very good article, as per the norm here. The reference you made to Snake’s decision brings something similiar to mind that I would like to mention. Snake’s prepping and the security gave him the opportunity to step out and reach for a chance to better his life. Our preps and reserves can give us security for situations other than local or large scale disasters; they can also make a huge difference in personal SHTF situations; job loss, catastrophic medical bills, etc. I was slammed with some heavy medical bills several years ago and being able to fall back on preps for a while made a huge difference in living expenses.

    To take it a step further, it can also allow us to more comfortably reach out and help others in need due to a personal crisis they might be going through. I won’t go so far as to call this charity, but helping out friends and neighbors in small, discreet ways when they need it can make a world of difference if and when Mr Murphy sets us in his sights. I am not saying bankrupt yourself or your preps for others but stepping up and simply offering a few days’ or a week’s worth of canned goods to a deserving friend or neighbor in need, to me, is simply the right thing to do.

    • Jay — Excellent comment, and perfectly in line with our perspective that we’re not just looking out for Number 1, but also for others. Sorry for the long time lag in responding to you. Things get crazy sometimes.

We welcome your comments.

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