Survival Mindset: Know That YOU Are Worth Defending

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I have been kind of struggling in what to name this new series of articles, trying to find the right tone across. This does fall under the USE&E (Urban Survival, Escape & Evasion) title quite a lot of my material falls under. But it is more broad-based, and can contribute to more areas of life than just SHTF types of situations.

RELATED: USE&E – The Most Important Skills and Gear Might Not Be What You’d Expect

So, why nomad? I have been a lot of things in my life, but one thing has been consistent, traveling, both geographically and between social groups. So, I will be writing about the skills that helped me navigate my way through those worlds. It also helps to know, simply by changing intent and mindset, these skills also work for SHTF and self-defense scenarios, as well.

Mindset always comes first.

In the tactical training world, there is something called the Tactical Pyramid (with credit to Dennis Martin & Lee Morrison for the terms). This pyramid encapsulates the foundations needed to successfully overcome in a tactical or self-defense engagement.

The pyramid starts at the bottom with mindset. The next layer is skills, and finally kit, or gear.

As I said, a self-defense mindset always comes first, for a reason. Without it, no amount of training, or especially gear, will work. You have to have your mind tuned properly. You need to be able to prioritize what needs to be done when, how to do it, and be able to perform the actions needed to get the job done.

But, how do we achieve this glorious state?

Without going through extreme training and selection, or live fire experiences that bring it out, you may doubt yourself. There is no need to. We have plenty of examples of people doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. All that you need to do is keep your mind and thoughts under control.

A way to do this sounds very esoteric, but in reality, it’s not. I picked this up from one of my martial arts teachers. “What self are you trying to defend?” As I said, sounds esoteric. But in reality, it is asking the questions you need to ask yourself.

First; am I fighting for my ego? Is my ego the one driving this bus, is the monkey in charge? If you can keep this in mind, you learn to avoid needless entanglements and arguments. If you avoid those, you can proceed, knowing that you are fighting to defend your real self.

Another way to make sure you are getting your mindset correct is by realizing that you are worth defending, you are worth surviving these situations, you are worth prepping. Why are you worth it? Simple, you are alive, and you think. Knowing your worth is key to adapting a survival or nomad mindset.

Another way of knowing your worth is the company you keep, the things that you provide your group, the skills you bring to the table. Knowing what you are able to do brings you more self-worth. Notice I said self-worth, not self-esteem. The worth comes from being or doing something beneficial, not by simply breathing. Self-worth provides a much stronger foundation for your mindset of making sure you get through whatever situation you find yourself in.

RELATED: Meet Urban Survival, Escape, & Evasion Instructor Terry Trahan

Sometimes you just have to take out the trash.

The last point that helps establish the proper mindset is something I wrote about earlier, simply treating the job at hand as a job.

Fighting, survival, ghosting across social boundaries, all are just jobs that need to be done. If you keep your cool, simply look at the input coming in, keep your emotions to a minimum and use them for what they are there for, and do the job you need to do. Hard work builds a great mindset, quicker than almost anything.

RELATED: Selco – The 4 Types of REAL Survivalists

For outside references to developing the proper mindset, I recommend reading stories of people that survived horrible things, Selco definitely comes to mind. But there are a lot of classic writings available. Look up the Stoics, read Meditations by Marcus Aurealis, read the histories of soldiers and civilians getting through wars.

Develop your mindset.

Make sure you are prioritizing software over hardware.

Don’t build things up as bigger or more dangerous than they are.

Simply do the job at hand.

In the following articles in this series, I will be touching on things mentioned above, like hardware over software, as well as building on the Tactical Pyramid. But start working on that mindset now, as it is what you need to make it work. We will also come back and touch on mindset, using the new thoughts and skills brought forward to make a stronger foundation.

I look forward to sharing more Nomad Strategies, and stories to make these ideas more real.

Thank you for reading.

About Terry

Terry Trahan has been a long term martial artist and teacher of personal protection, as well as an author for numerous publications. His experiences from being a gang member, enforcer, protection specialist, and bouncer have given his teachings a strong bent towards the practical. Fighting his way out of extreme poverty and some unsavory environs also gives him insight into survival and everyday life not often commented on. He can be contacted at terry.trahan at

Picture of Terry Trahan

Terry Trahan

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  • I’m of the belief that what I’m fighting for is worth it. The decision is one that must be made by the individual. For those who are strictly nomadic then your place is not with me. I make stands and/or tactical retreats to later regain. Is either one right or wrong? Depends on what your goal is I reckon. One is strictly survival the other is establishment.
    Whatever you chose he is correct in that mindset is the start followed by OODA and tools. There are definitely thinkers here as I read commentary on posts. Even with opposing opinions there is still meaning and value.
    Lots of decisions and actions will be made in the next 5-6 months here and I hope your tools are ready for whatever choice you’ve made.

    • I liked this article in regard to reminding of the mindset. For sure it is very important. We too are a family of stand and defend until the end and then maybe bug out unless something like the town is destroyed with a bomb or something or they bring in the fema camp buses ie ‘hitlery fun camps’
      But really in reality we live in an apartment in a small country town small complex and we plan to stand and defend our town we do not have a bug out location only a plan of where’s to go if situation warranted. But practicing the mind set is good for survival and important to practice as with all survival tactics and be doing it on a moment to moment basis! As you said Matt in Oklahoma the next 2 months… is anybodies guess to what will probably happen. My spidey senses are on high alert ????

      • Yeah I’m definitely not saying I ain’t gonna leave and Remember The Alamo and all that. I ain’t trying to be a martyr.
        I’m also not trying to be a hobo mooch.
        I’m looking for balance, purpose and value.
        Y’all stay safe

    • to Matt in Oklahaoma:

      I like your style – you have wisdom, common sense and probably good values as well.

      I appreciate your prudent and persuasive words. Added to current events in the cesspools run by demonrats, they are prodding me to accelerate my plans to get away from Chicago/Illinois (already technically bankrupt) to a state that’s mostly Republican/conservative, where my daughters and I can have liberty from the tyrannical centralized state being pursued rabidly by the dumborats, or at least make a good last stand with decent and honorable folks of like mind.

      If we’re gonna die, it ain’t gonna be for lack of shootin’ back.

      Stay strong, safe and well, brother.

      • Well I appreciate the compliments. I should introduce you to my wife cause she’s pretty sure I’m an idiot lol.

  • I was curious to see what a web search might turn up about Terry Trahan’s previous work. One website popped up, called — which turned out to be non-working. So I ran a search on to see if they had snapshotted any of that material, and these pages had been recorded back in 2016. Someone named Rory Miller had made a record of Terry’s 3 rules of weasel craft, as I’ve linked below:

    [Non-working master link]

    Terry Trahan’s 3 rules of weasel craft [towards the bottom of each webpage, saved by]




    My initial impressions were that this writing was all about how those in strong young adult physical condition, well-equipped, and possibly with current training as first responders, firemen, police, and perhaps recent ex-military. That profile is probably some unknowably small fraction of our (TOP) audience. Judging by many comments over recent years, I’d say that many of our audience have limitations related to age, medical conditions, family obligations, or severe budget constraints, eg., that rule out the kind of physical confrontations that seem to be addressed.

    Some my questions for author Terry Trahan are:

    1. Is that discussion of weasel craft representative of discussions to come that we should expect?

    2. If so, is there anything that our TOP audience with any or multiples of those non-Rambo limitations I described above will be able to use from the author’s future writings?



  • The right mindset is the basis of all things.
    Visualization of events using the proper mindset can also help you out.
    I especially appreciate the comment about ego.
    Ego tends to cause a lot of issues when in the big scheme of things they really weren’t worth it.
    Looking at everything like its a particular task and how you will surmount it tends to make one a holistic thinker because it starts to get you doing outside the box thinking when necessary.
    A mindset which is adaptable and can complete tasks will always be a valuable tool.

  • I’m definitely into avoidance at all costs, you won’t see me making a stand. In fact, you won’t see me at all. I often refer to myself as a cockroach in relation to my job when people start getting fired, it’s never me and I take that style into my whole life. I’ve never been I lived in a place for a long time where pick pocketing was the rule of the street. I had to keep myself safe but also couldn’t get involved with police so it was all a matter of not being a victim in the first place. I always strive for that! It’s also about choosing your battles wisely.

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