SELCO: Adapt Early to the “New Rules” If You Want to Survive

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Author of The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival and the online course SHTF Survival Boot Camp

Survival is constant learning, for me and for you, for everybody, no matter how “tough” you think you are, or resilient or smart. As soon as you start to think you are a master of survival or some kind of expert, you are doing something wrong in your philosophy.

The whole series of events that have been happening around us everywhere lately we can be used for learning and understanding. It can help us to be better prepared.

We are living with a new set of rules – and not the ones from the government. When everything changes, the rules of society change too. If you want to survive, you must adapt to them early.

“Boiling of the frog”

We all know the story about two frogs. It goes in a way that if a frog is thrown in boiling water it will jump immediately out because otherwise, it will end up dead. The other frog that is in a pot of cold water will sit calmly in it while water is slowly getting warmed to the point of boiling, and that frog will end up dead because the change from cold to boiled water happened gradually, and the frog did not recognize the danger.

We are mostly frogs sitting in warm water, not yet boiling but we might be close to that point.

Let’s recognize the danger.

Adaptation can be good or bad.

Humans have a magnificent ability of adapting to the circumstances and events around them. Well, most of us do.

My personal experiences there are very rich, and while it is something that goes very deep into human psychology I will mention the practical side of it.

On a personal and short term level, one example is firing and shelling. During the first days of war folks would jump at each shell or bullet fired wherever, until the point in time where folks realized not every bullet or shell would kill them, and even more, to the point when folks said “f..k it, I cannot jump into a hole and hide every 30 seconds.”

We called it numbness.

Another example would be living in harsh conditions. For example, one day you stop taking a shower every day, and start to take shower once in 15 days or once in a month. Or maybe on some personal level, you accept that people getting killed around you without logic and reason, kids, civilians…”It is the new reality.”

Now, as I said, it is a magnificent ability, otherwise, I would simply have hung myself in that time.

But, there are also dangers to that. In my SHTF time, “numbness” may get you into dangerous situations where you almost would think you are somehow invincible (I am not joking), and you simply stop to care about the basic things, like safety and security, and you end up dead.

If we want to transfer the above philosophy to the recent situations around us, I would say that we all need to stop, and think about whether it is good to become “numb” to those events around us?

If adapting and being “numb” means we are keeping a cool head, with clear plans and goals (while the water slowly getting to the point of boiling) then it is good to be numb.

But, if adapting and being numb means we are accepting the new reality around us with spikes of unemployment, violent protests, and the general feeling of rage among common folks, or despair, pandemics, strong polarization, and what not and we keep saying, “Nah, it is nothing, the world will just keep turning,” then we are in trouble because we are not noticing the water is going to boil and kill us.

Do not be that kind of frog. No, it is not normal, and yes, these situations could very easily erupt or come to a boil, so prepare for that.

Remember, survival is being ahead of others. Survival is jumping out of the pot of water before it boils. Jumping out of the water might be simply realizing that this situation can not go for too long without boiling.

Adapt early to the new rules

One thing that is very connected with people being in that pot of water that is gradually heating up is the fact that if people do not understand that the water is getting hotter and hotter, is that they will probably fail to implement the “new rules” too. I talk a lot about understanding the new rules in both of my books, The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival and SHTF Survival Stories. You have to realize that society is now playing by a different set of rules. It’s essential to understand what’s going on and to adapt to the new rules early.

I am talking about something that might be explained like implementing your personal scale of “awareness” or you could call it your own DEFCON level.

So, if you are paying close attention to how the situation around you is heating up, you should then be aware that based on that you are changing your DEFCON level, or survival mode if you like.

In reality again, no, this is not normal. You should be constantly aware of how the situation is developing around you. Based on that, you change your behavior or your response to the situation.

A very basic and rudimentary example is that when you live for years in a safe, secure community and you may be used to not locking your doors. Perhaps it is time to start to lock them.

Or if we want to go into more complicated things maybe it is time to think about what kind of information you are giving up about yourself based on what you wear in a certain part of the city. Maybe a cap with a message on it will make you a target now, or similar things.

Making these changes is not easy.

The situation around us changes, and we need to change too based on that.

Very often that personal change is kind of painful, because we are used on certain liberties and rights, and we are not willing to lose them, even if that means we are putting ourselves in danger.

It is hard to change if that means something is taken from us (liberties, rights, comfort, luxuries, etc) but again, remember that by holding onto it stubbornly, you are actually being that frog sitting in water that is going to boil, and you are failing to recognize that it is heating up.

Nobody said survival is going to be easy. By fooling yourself into false feelings of safety or liberty, you are not doing a favor to yourself.

About Selco:

Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution. 

In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today. He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless of what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations as Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months.

Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.



Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution. In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today. He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations as Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months. Read more of Selco's articles here. Buy his PDF books here. Take advantage of a deep and profound insight into his knowledge by signing up for his unrivaled online course. Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.

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  • Hope or denial is not a plan. I suggest thinking about hard situations and your responses to them today. The 5 “P”‘s apply here. Prior planning prevents piss poor performance.

    I suggest you start building a Chaos Kit if you do not have one right now. How do you do that? An example here. Think about a breaking window at 0 dark 30. Is it a tree branch or a thug? Do you have slip on shoes and clothing next to the bed so you don’t fumble about dressing and NOT get a chunk of broken glass in your feet? Do you have a loaded “tool” to deal with a Thug? Do you have a strong flashlight WITH good batteries to make sure it’s a Thug or Tree Branch OR maybe your kid clumsily sneaking in after curfew? Do you have a headlight (to free up your hands), plastic sheeting, tools and such to secure your broken window quickly in that nasty storm?

    WHY a Kit as I HAVE all that stuff? So in the dark Under Stress you don’t have to waste time looking for where ever your kid left that flashlight…..

  • It is the flexibility of the mind of most (but not all) Americans to adapt to “going without,” that will present a greater challenge for most.
    Americans are so accustomed to being able to go to the grocery store any time they want and the shelves were always full.
    COVID19 came along and suddenly the paper isle was empty. Bread flour, yeast. Then, suddenly the selection of meat became a lot thinner and limits on numbers purchased.

    Selco mentions bathing. We are so accustomed to taking a daily shower/bath the idea of going 2 or more days is completely alien to many.

    Some people nearly have a fit if they leave their phones at home, or cannot get a signal.

    There maybe a lot of emotional distress in a hard SHTF situation.

    • 21 days is the longest I went without a true bath.
      I already eat more for fuel than taste, texture or desire. I catch a lot of flak for it at work. Power went out one day so I got my food from the fridge sat down and started eating. You’d thought I had 3 heads they way they looked at me eating gasp “a cold leftover”. Lol and all I could think was “civilians”. I’m ecstatic cause it ain’t got sand in it and I know where it came from.

      • In Afghanistan we had a drought (like deep wells going dry), and sponge baths were the order of the day.
        Two 1.5L of bottled water (flown in via C-17), camp soap, camp towel and a water bowel.
        I cannot actually recall how long it was in between a real shower. Two weeks maybe?
        The upside, you dried off just walking back to the hooch.

        Yeah, eat enough MREs, while hot might be better, getting food into the body was more pressing.
        Funny how food and sleep improves morale when you are out in the field.

        • 1stMar…
          I think it was close to 30 days between showers for us at one time (02-03), had to get the Engineers to get the water flowing and of course, the villagers came first… so yes, two bottles of UAE water was it, luckily, shaving wasn’t required.

          And after living on MRE’s for weeks on end, I understand your mix-up between ‘Bowel and Bowl’…lol (just a simple Freudian slip, I’m sure…still lol.)

  • LMAO first shelling 40 miles away I’m in the bunker in a helmet and armor with loose boots and shorts. 6 months later bullet zips by and ya shoot the finger and walk off cause “observe and report”. Numb is a good word.

    We’ve always had it good. The emotional stress is already taking a toll on society. Look at all the mental illness at wearing a mask or not wearing a mask. Neither is a reason to lose your mind.

  • I’m 72 and my parents always locked the doors. Only a fool would not. Guns and ammo have gone off the charts. People who were anti gun are suddenly big supporters of the 2nd. They need to get trained. An untrained person with a firearm is like a teenager in a Ferrari 488. The military stress a concept of “situational awareness” … applies equally to us civies. Looks like the county is on a fast track to the 2nd Civil War. People who have never experienced war will be greatly surprised by it’s violence, brutality, and carnage. I’m glad that I am old, but I might not be old enough to avoid it.

    • TruthB Told, over 6 million guns purchased in the last 90 days alone.


  • There’s definitely a psychological war going on to agitate folks into fighting. There’s some mighty goading coming from those who consider burning, looting and vandalism to be their right of free speech. Then add to that the belief that the very fact we Americans exist and love our freedom is a threat to the happiness of others who would make us share everything we’ve earned or just freely give it to those who want it. That’s just plain galling. I think it’s mean to be and those who do it do it without any compunction. We’re dealing with psycho&socio-paths. This is the place to numb the soul against the personal barbs. They are personal in their attacks. The new Mason-Dixon Line is all over the psychological landscape.

    When we are lulled into thinking we can’t do anything about anything and if we did try we might lose everything or even die, then that is a state of being demoralized — a few degrees shy of the boiling point — which is still too hot to make a move. Because we’ve seen movements fizzle before and come to nothing doesn’t mean they haven’t regrouped and figured out how to take us down.

    So … what I hear Selco saying is, Prepare for Ugly.

    Dang. I really like my nice life. But strong is not known until it is tested. That’s what’s coming. A test.

    • Good points Debbers, 42 Secret Service Agents were hurt when one thug in Minnesota was murdered by the Police, what will happen when/if Trump wins again? Yes-PREPARE FOR UGLY!!!!!!!!!

    • *sigh* I will wait until it’s in my town. No choice. Gettysburg is only a three day walk but…little too far for me.

  • Took _ten_ minutes to get past solicitations and splash ads to finish reading article and be able to see comments.

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