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Team vs lone wolf

April 29, 2017

The past several weeks here at RM Ranch have been spent in meditation and quiet introspection re-assessing what we want to achieve, do and experience. A big part of that has involved evaluating our approach to preparedness. We’ve come away from that with what I hope is a clearer vision of what we want and a better approach for achieving it. A big part of that has been the realization that we were approaching preparedness in a way that would have, probably, not given us the advantage we want if things were to go well and truly south. We’ve had to change our approach.

We’re inclined to favor bugging in over bugging out. There are some reasons for this, some of which I’ve mentioned before. While it might be necessary at some point to bug out, to grab a bag and flee (ideally to a predetermined location), I think most circumstances will support just staying put. Our approach is to have a bug out plan, but to anticipate staying put as the most likely course of action. None of this is really a change for us.

The change has been the realization it’s arguably one thing to build and maintain an urban homestead when circumstances are relatively stable. We can do that with just our family. It’s another thing altogether if things fall apart. Under those circumstances we need more people. We need a team*.

A team has advantages over an individual (or even a couple or small family) when it comes to survival in truly hard times. There’s the obvious fact that regardless of how capable you are, no one can remain awake and alert 24/7. A team allows people to sleep, even if only in shifts. Having to be “on” in survival mode all the time and for an extended period is exhausting, mentally, physically and spiritually.

Beyond that, teams with the proper skill sets and resources, can produce far more than any individual. Security, food and other goods, in excess of the bare minimal requirements for survival, are the product of teams rather than individuals.

As noted above, skills are an issue. More than that, they are a necessity. As much as I might like to believe otherwise, I simply cannot do everything. Nor, out of the list of things I can do, can I do all of them equally well. A team, especially one that is formed carefully, provides not only a broader selection of skills, it also provides skills in-depth. This is very important, and something we here at RM Ranch were overlooking. What happens, for instance, if the only person who knows how to garden breaks his/her leg? The answer, of course, is “nothing good.”

Anyway, we’ve started building a team. We’re proceeding slowly because we’re trying to get people who meet at least three criteria.

First, they need to have an interest in preparedness. There’s nothing to be gained by talking someone who doesn’t view preparedness as a legitimate (indeed, essential) concern into joining your team. They aren’t likely to be focused on what needs to be done or willing to dedicate to preparedness resources they might otherwise put toward something else.

Second, they need to have skill sets that contribute to the team. This means they need not only some skills the rest of us don’t have (this is the “broader selection” mentioned above), they also need to have some skills that already exist in the team (“skills in-depth”).

Third, they need to be a good fit for the team. If a group of people actually wind up having to live in close proximity to each other during a time of stress and possible danger, the ability to get along with the other team members is vital.

Each one of these things has come with its own challenges. One of the most notable has been a situation in which we’ve approached a couple, only to learn that while one of the two meets all three criteria, the other half of the couple does not. Sometimes, the other half simply doesn’t see preparedness as a worthwhile pursuit or doesn’t see it as a legitimate part of a lifestyle. Other times, this person has no skills that the team really needs (or of which it needs no more). And, of course, sometimes the other person just isn’t a good fit. In these cases, the team has a choice to make. Do we approach the first person anyway, knowing that he/she will be bringing the “other half of the equation” with them, should the SHTF? How badly do we need the skills of the person we approached? How badly do we need another set of eyes/ears? I don’t think there is a single answer to these questions. They’re questions each team will need to answer for itself and in regards to each potential new member.

As time goes on I’ll share here our experiences with the team building part of preparedness. Hopefully, any mistakes we make will be mistakes you’re able to avoid.

*It’s important to realize you need a team whether you bug in or bug out. In fact, I think that as important as a good team is when bugging in, it is even more important if you have to bug out. With the possible exception of some very rare people and circumstances, the lone wolf (or “lone couple”) approach to survival in truly hard times is a good way of ensuring you (and the other half of your couple) die alone.

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