As preppers, we tend to focus primarily on gear and storage. While there’s nothing wrong with either of those, and both are absolutely necessary, the third vital leg of the “Prepper Three Legged Stool” is skills. What you have stored internally in your mind & muscle memory, or at least available on quick recall, is equally as important as the first two legs. We’re going to go beyond just acquiring skills though – this post is going to urge actually taking some formal training, not just teaching yourself or learning through watching YouTube plus trial & error.
If you’ve never gardened before, you can have buckets of heirloom seedbanks
and gardening tools that will make you highly productive, but without the knowledge of how to use those tools, how to garden, when to plant, where to plant, how & when to harvest, and how to preserve your bounty, you are going to be woefully unprepared to actually produce and maximize the yield of your own food.
Similar arguments can of course be made for other gear and activities. Effectively using HAM radio requires knowledge. So does the ability to preserve food; use firearms; recognize and treat medical conditions; preserve operational security when using the internet. The list is long where having gear and storage isn’t going to be enough to truly see us through a long term SHTF scenario.
Why You Tube/Podcast + Trial & Error Isn’t Optimal
Nothing really beats getting your hands dirty under the observation of a real teacher. It’s an immense way to speed up learning by getting immediate feedback & correction advice on what you’re doing in real time from an expert. Think back to high school (or college) science – this is exactly why there were lab periods separate from the lecture, where you performed actual experiments. All the theory & diagrams in the world don’t substitute for actual experience when it comes to learning.
In the online day & age, we have seen the evolution of a sliding scale. On the one end is your standard book or article or podcast. On the other is a live immersive training with a teacher. In between there are courses where while the teacher isn’t physically present, you do work through a curriculum and do have the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers in relative real time.
Despite the opportunities opened with the online training sliding scale, not all disciplines are equally amenable to online training. Some things like firearms training just are really not that useful without the instructor present. Yes, you can learn things online about this activities, but usually only if you’re already fairly advanced. There is just no substitute to a live flesh & blood instructor for a newbie firearm owner.
Training: It’s Worth It
The one thing we all have too little of is time. There is no way you are going to truly become a master practitioner of the many aspects of preparedness if you are going to teach yourself everything from scratch using only non-responsive materials like books, YouTube videos, and podcasts. To do so would simply require too much time for experimentation, discovery, and trial & error – even if one were independently wealthy and had “all the time in the world”. Of course, if you’re independently wealthy, taking actual training classes to speed your learning is completely reasonable because your budget is relatively large…
Training is an investment in preparedness, just as much as gear and storage. Remember to
think of preparedness as a three legged stool, and without skills & knowledge, the stool cannot stand.
Many training classes these days are extremely affordable or even free, aside from paying your own transportation & housing. Sometimes you can find Groupons for training classes, especially firearms training, or discounts for women or seniors or kids.
A few great examples of training are shown here, with varying cost:
- Trading Post in the Woods: A Time with Experts. Cost: FREE
- Geoff Lawton: Online Permaculture Design Course. Cost: High
- Concealed Carry Training: Groupon. Cost: Low
- Farming Training: WWOOF. Cost: Low
So in 2017, resolve to take some honest to goodness training classes. Even if they are online, you will get feedback and be able to ask questions that will be priceless in the ability to speed up your learning curve to acquire more skills & knowledge. Remember also to start small – the goal isn’t to be an expert in everything preparedness by the end of the year, but pick a topic or two to get in depth instructional training. You will be glad you did.
Additionally, never stop learning by the other methods: reading, YouTube videos, and podcasts. Build a strong 3rd leg for that preparedness stool.
Know of some other good preparedness related training opportunities? Let us know in the comments.
Very good article. I have to admit I struggle with allocating time and money for formal training. I need to do a better job of scheduling time to practice skills as well. This year I did set more finite/measurable goals when it comes to these needs. That’s a good start.