Author of The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival and the online course SHTF Survival Boot Camp
Out of the all experiences that I had relating to survival, when it comes to mindset, the most valuable one is what I call circles. Survival circles or your small and big circle of survival.
Very simplified, it can be put in one sentence, and it is, “Nothing is important except you and the people around you.”
But that is truly oversimplified, because for example when the SHTF (or before it) if you pay attention only to you and the people in your immediate surroundings, you will fail to notice something important that is happening let’s say in another part of your country which might influence you and your survival.
You may have noticed that the accent is on the words important and influence.
Another term to memorize is word shrinking, and you’ll get more and more of an idea of what that is about, as time go on.
Important things have influence on our survival circle.
We are constantly, well most of us, immersed in a whole bunch of absolutely irrelevant information.
Even worse, we want to know more and more, and in a faster way this irrelevant information. Everything from who show her or his butt in what reality show, to the trivia like who signed up what contract for a sport sclub or movie or whatever.
I know, it is in human nature, and it is fun, and it is just that – trivia. There’s nothing wrong with it.
But with that constant run for information, we kinda fail to distinguish which information is actually important, and which information might have an influence on us, personally, maybe in 10 days, or a month, or a year so we can simply act on time.
I am not against trivial fun stuff. I am against equalizing it with important things.
For example, if you one day read that a strange new virus showed up in a country far away from you, and it is spreading very fast, changing the way how that country runs, changing completely the way of the normal functioning of the system there. Do you take that information in the same way like you took info about some spicy sex scandal?
Well, at that moment those two news items were on the same page probably put there maybe as news of equal importance.
It is up to you to choose what is more important, and act maybe.
Maybe if you are a survivalist or prepper you would conclude that this virus will spread everywhere. Maybe you would conclude that you need to stock up on items like antibiotics, masks, gloves, and whatnot. Maybe even you might think from the point of “I’ll stock up on some things before they become scarce here, so I can sell them and earn money.” Maybe you will simply tell yourself “OK, this info requires more attention. I need to follow this, so I can take proper actions before EVERYBODY else figures out the same thing and takes the same action.
Maybe you did all that, or maybe you did not. It is not so important now for this article. What is important is to understand, yes, among a whole bunch of information there is information that is important to you even if the events are happening far away because eventually, some of them are gonna have influence on you personally.
As a prepper, you need to be constantly a few steps ahead of other people. (Remember the importance of timing.) It is not about being big tough guy, it is about figuring things before others.
Now, how does that relate to survival circles?
Well, when the situation deteriorates more and more, you will have to learn (learn it actually before deteriorate) to take care only about your own survival circle, which might be your family, for example, or some other survival group. You will notice that as the situation deteriorates everything other than that immediate survival circle is irrelevant to you.
For example, if the SHTF in your region, it is not really important to you how many people died in a war in Africa, however bad that sounds.
Or to bring it more close to home, imagine if you lost your job, there are horrible racial tensions, riots are happening in your city, and hospital staff cannot take good care of your sick kid because they are overwhelmed with other stuff. Do you think it is more important to spend 8 hrs arguing about what political option should rule or it is time to take care only of your own survival circle and fix the things that are fixable so you can be prepared for worse things that might be coming?
Simplified again, there are big circles and small circles in our lives.
As things deteriorate, and they do deteriorate everywhere, you need to “pick” less and less things from the big circle to concern yourself with, and to choose only those important things or information that might have an influence on you. When things are getting bad, you must direct your attention completely on your own survival circle, because again, when the S. hits the fan for real, it will be all that is left. The big picture, politics, and things happening outside of your circle will matter very little if at all.
Pay attention when things are shrinking.
Connected to all of the above, there is something like “shrinking” or at least I call it that. I have experienced it, and you are probably experiencing some signs of it.
When a situation goes bad, really bad, there is shrinking, or actually more precise it gets fragmented.
Whatever the reason is (and reasons are always big in terms of polarizing people) societies go into fragmentation.
For example in a bad political situation, a city makes the decision to oppose the central government and to make its own decisions. Or a region does not want to implement a state law because of whatever reason. It does not have to be a political reason. It can be a health reason, for example, a city forbids outsiders to travel in – opposing central government law or decisions.
Just to be clear, I am talking about examples from here, but maybe some of this sounds familiar, yes?
So, as the situation gets worse, things are shrinking. Circles are changing, in terms that maybe that you woke up one morning and there is no central government, just your city rule.
Now if things really go to hell, eventually it shrinks to street level, or to the level of your home. I mean this in terms that you are only sure what is happening inside your home, and your rule there. Outside of it everything is unknown.
It is a drastic example, yes, but it happened here.
What to do when there is nothing you can do
You may be watching events in your country and the world and feel overwhelmed. What can you do? I wrote about this before.
You are a prepper
Yes, you are. Otherwise, you probably would not read this article. So by definition, you should be better prepared than most other folks.
Again, go back to basics and stop panicking about this (if you are).
Instead of running in place, do something useful in the basics department. For example, check what kind of medicines your family members regularly take for chronic conditions and research how you could obtain a stash of it for a few months or at least some natural substitutes. Check how many rainy days your area has just in case you have to collect your water from the roof for a few months. Or simply sit down and think about what essentials you need for a one-month period of not leaving your home.
Go back to the basics of survival. That should be your focus. (source)
To learn more about the basics and things you can actually do to help your small circle, check out the textbook from my course, now available in a paperback format. (You can get a free 75-minute recorded course bonus if you purchase the book by Dec. 1, 2020. Here’s how.)
Focus on what will affect you.
Now, the point of all this relating to your own survival circle is to understand how these things might work, and in what direction before of majority of other folks, so you can prepare better.
It is not about Selco saying, “Sit at home in a dark room with a rifle because hell is coming.” Nope. It is about me saying, “Sure have fun, but know what is important and what is not, and be ready to close your own survival circle very fast if needed.
What do YOU think?
What are your thoughts on this? What are some small circle things you could focus on that would help your family far more than round-the-clock coverage of what’s happening in Eastern Europe? Let’s discuss it in the comments.
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.
- Read more of Selco’s articles here.
- Buy his PDF books here.
- Buy his best-selling paperbacks, SHTF Survival Bootcamp, SHTF Survival Stories, and The Dark Secrets of Survival here.
- Take advantage of a deep and profound insight into his knowledge by signing up for his online courses SHTF Survival Boot Camp and learn the inside story of what it was really like when the SHTF with his online course One Year in Hell.
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Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard, and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.
Regarding Selco’s latest book — in Kindle ebook format. (I’ve literally run out of shelf and storage space for more print editions.)
For many years I’ve used the freebie downloadable “Kindle for PC” software to read, to take screenshots, and sometimes print out those screenshots (selectively) — something I don’t think can be done with the physical handheld Kindle reader device. Then sometime recently an Amazon software update on my Kindle for PC software broke it completely in a forced download. Ouch!
Then Amazon’s chat support system advised me to download the latest version. I did that, and it still kept my Kindle for PC software utterly broken. Then their chat support admitted to me that their Kindle for PC software had been “problematic” for some time, and that I should wait until they could provide me with a bug-fixed version — but with no known delivery date they could estimate.
In the meantime, they advised me that I could take my browser to
which then pulls up a log-in page where I could enter my known-to-amazon email address and password. That would give me access to any or all of my extensive collection of Kindle ebooks online — including Selco’s latest book in ebook format which I purchased last night.
I can only say that my experience has been as a Windows 7 home edition user. Whether other versions of Windows or anything else has this Kindle for PC software disaster I can’t know.
But at least — regardless of whatever operating system you might be using to access Kindle ebooks — the read.amazon.com Plan B system can give you access to such ebooks, regardless of whatever troubles Amazon’s software programmers may have for whatever unknown length of time.
Right you are about how we (speaking generally about Americans) tend to get wrapped around the axle about things we have absolutely no control, influence or real knowledge about.
Our circles, namely the ones closer to us, are the only ones we really have any kind of real world connection to. That is the one we need to be concerned with the most.
AMERICA IS ABOUT TO BE FACED WITH DANGER BEYOND THEIR IMAGINATION…THE GOVERNMENT AND POLICE GANGS AND MILITARY…TRYING TO FORCE EVERYONE TO TAKE DONALD TRUMPS “SNAKE VENOM VACCINE”..you’ll lose your SOUL from the DNA CHANGES,but then theres the PARASITES IN IT,they eat you from the inside out,as it progesses SORES APPEAR ON YOUR SKIN,your actually ROTTING FROM THE INSIDE,the sores start bleeding puss,and now its easy to see, DEATH WILL FIND YOU SOON,all because NO ONE COULD TELL YOU ANYTHING,what will you do when they come DOOR TO DOOR…to FORCE YOU TO TAKE IT,AND THEY WILL BE COMING…THE LORD called the MEN to stand up,sadly in america there aren’t no men…ONLY pussies and cowards..you’ll be on your own shortly…
There are alot of men left in the USA. If Donald Trump is not inaugurated on the 20th of January 2021 they will become visible.
I bet to differ Arizona. Plenty of fight left out here, about 5 million strong and of those, probably 1.5M locked and loaded and looking for a fight. Went 50 minutes with no heart beat, broke 5 ribs, severed vocal cords, cracked sternum, 2 liters of blood drained from me. Tough enough for you? I Will not be vaccinated and will bow only to the Lord.
“Went 50 minutes with no heart beat”
what, you drowned in cold water?
Surrounded by great docs and nurses that made sure I had oxygen. Heart attack. Coded 50 mins. Medically induced coma for 7 days. No damage to heart or brain. June 8th 2019. Back at work full time 1 Oct 2019. I’m a miracle man.
They actually called it 50 mins of Pulseless Electrical Activity.
AMEN, thanks for your service, and God bless!
Whoa–what are YOU doing, since you’re clearly not a “..pussy or coward…”. Give us your real name, so we can watch your inspiring escapades in our local newspapers…
I don’t agree with “buy up supplies to resell”. That is wrong, buy what you need, leave enough for others.
“leave enough for others”
most won’t try to “buy up” anything until it’s impossible to find – then they’ll have no choice but to take what you have. things might go easier if you can trade with them rather than just say “no”.
When you have a society that has a entitlement mentality, or they have right to use force to take what you have then sometimes no is not an option.
Buy what you need, then buy a little more! That’s called Prepping.
I’ve been fortunate in that our family solved the food, water, shelter and power challenges a few years ago. As I looked at our situation and tried to assess needs that are unmet I realized that there was a glaring hole in our security needs.
Much like Selco, I use the circle of influence strategy when choosing my ballistic solutions. I have 50 yard, 400 yard, 700 yard and 1000+ yard solutions to protect us and our property. I’ve resisted filling the need for personal protection equipment (PPE) because I felt, under the current situation at the time, that it didn’t merit the expense.
Current events have changed that assessment and I now believe there is a statistically significant probability (less than 20% but still not a risk I’m willing to take) that we may enter an armed civil conflict and that it brings the possibility of close personal contact with folks that have less than honorable intentions.
With much hesitation I’ve acquired PPE to protect the body and head against pests of the Pb variety. Finding that the back order que is two months long I realize I’m not the only one reaching this conclusion. Regrettably, I suggest that, if the budget allows, each of you consider this as well. After all, you only truly own that which you can defend.
“you only truly own that which you can defend”
can you defend it alone?
Based off Fifth_Disciple’s previous postings, I think he has a family/friends/neighbors/team for the defense.
Thanks 1stMarine. i have 5 brothers and sisters two of whom are ex-marines. My youngest brother was a lifer who’s done 3+ tours in the sandbox. We’ve all been around guns our whole life. To add insult to injury we’re all Texans. I’m not worried about protecting mine. I have enough to arm a fire team in the safe. I just wanted to put a “bug in the ear” of folks that haven’t considered PPE. If you have arms and are forced to use them then it only makes sense that the guy on the other end is going to throw something back at you. PPE is one of those “force multipliers”. If you really want to be prepared you should also prepare to “own the night”.
Based off comments, sometimes get a feel for a person.
You have always struck me as that kinda guy.
Good on ya!
“PPE is one of those ‘force multipliers’”
I think you’re overestimating ppe effectiveness. the primary reason our military uses chest and side plates is because our medical system can save troops hit anywhere else – ppe plates intercept only those .1 or so of all hits which are those that cannot be addressed by the medical system. such ppe during grid down and no medical services will have little positive effect.
And somehow no PPE is an improvement? I’m a realist about the shortcomings of armor. A helmet is NIJ Level lIIA rated which means it’s tested to stop up to a 44 magnum at 1400+ fps. It is not effective against rifle fire. You’re overlooking any psychological effect armor may have on a shooter armed with a handgun who is less likely to attack than if you’re in street clothing. I don’t think any action on American soil will be like Afghanistan. IED’s are unlikely as is sniping from mountain hideouts both of which account for most causalities in the sandbox . The risk here is more likely to include handguns. In fact they account for over 80% of all firearms. Those more likely to own long guns are also more likely to adopt a defensive posture and less likely to be aggressive. My daughter is pre-med so I’m less concerned about medical services. At the end of the day all we can do is our best. To cower in the face of the enemy because there are gaps in our preparation is to guarantee defeat and death.
“I’m a realist about the shortcomings of armor”
I think you overlooked the real shortcoming – plates cover only .1 of all hit locations.
“And somehow no PPE is an improvement?”
didn’t say none was an improvement. but now that you mention it, being 15lbs lighter and thus better able to run, get down, take cover, and get back up, might be a significant improvement, yes.
“You’re overlooking any psychological effect armor may have on a shooter armed with a handgun”
you’re right, I did overlook that. but if it comes to the point that armed people are shooting at other armed people I think simple desperation will override any psychological intimidation from ppe. and given that most action (combat and criminal) takes place at night it’s likely that ppe won’t even be noticed by the shooter.
“IED’s are unlikely as is sniping”
“My daughter is pre-med so I’m less concerned about medical services”
outside a hospital setting a doctor’s effectiveness isn’t much above that of an ambulance attendant.
“I think you overlooked the real shortcoming – plates cover only .1 of all hit locations.”
The average 6′ tall man has about 576 sq. in. of frontal area. My 11″ X14″ plates and cover 154 sq. in. or 27% of my frontal area also, 71.7% of shots fired by trained police officers miss their target. I don’t expect rioters to outperform that.
“didn’t say none was an improvement. but now that you mention it, being 15lbs lighter and thus better able to run, get down, take cover, and get back up, might be a significant improvement, yes.”
Fire Team tactics include at least one member laying down fire suppression while other team members move.
“you’re right, I did overlook that. but if it comes to the point that armed people are shooting at other armed people I think simple desperation will override any psychological intimidation from ppe. and given that most action (combat and criminal) takes place at night it’s likely that ppe won’t even be noticed by the shooter.”
Hence my comment about “owning the night”. I have NV equipment.
An effective sniper has a 1700 yard range of influence. The average street criminal is carrying a .380 ACP pocket pistol. The next most popular is a 9mm. The average firearm sale during the pandemic has been a 9mm. As I said before, 80% of firearms are handguns and the average long gun owner is more likely to adopt a defensive posture rather than an offensive posture. IED’s require large amounts of explosive and I doubt the typical nutjob will be able to acquire them or be adept at handling them.
“outside a hospital setting a doctor’s effectiveness isn’t much above that of an ambulance attendant.”
True but a full grid down isn’t likely in a civil conflict. If an EMP or CME does knock out the grid the unprepared will thin their own ranks quickly. After all, the system typically has enough food in the pipeline for 1-2 weeks. Trained medics can handle just about anything short of an arterial perforation. Not everyone will survive but a strong strategy and good tactics will improve the odds. However, Doctors won’t cease to exist and will probably be interested in protection. The key is to know a couple and enlist their services.
But then maybe I’m over analyzing it all. What do you think?
societies enhance survival. societies are built by expanding circles of concern.
Communities enhance survival rates.
if by “communities” you mean small circles of concern exclusive of outsiders, it must be pointed out that larger communities defeat smaller communities.
Thanks for sharing Selco’s article, Daisy.
I do pay attention to what is happening around us in the world but it’s more important to be balanced and spend time planning and preparing for the times we live in and times to come.
I get plenty of alternative news to keep me updated but don’t spend all day reading it. This is why I appreciate Organic Prepper when I can read.
Prepping is never a done deal but at some point we can have satisfaction for what we’ve accomplished so far.
I admire those who can spend all day sharing news and still have time and energy to garden, stock up or whatever needs done.
Starting my new site and getting back into writing and sharing again, I’m always mindful of the time I have at my disposal.
The day may come one can’t even get online or share anything so I’m thankful to read what is shared here and still stay focused and on course.
.I appreciated your post about aging and prepping. Very pertinent
Thank you, Carla. I appreciate you sharing too and replied back.
So thankful you stopped over and shared your thoughts!
4-26-2022 Advice from a retired Captian of the Vietnam war: “Become an Army of “One” first”. Advice from military wife moving from base to base: “They are all the enemy, until they “prove” they are a friend.” Advice from a Retired Senior Navy Chief…”It’s not Russia we need to fear…It’ CHINA”.
Interesting topic, but pragmatically, in reality, when it comes down and dirty to the ‘bad and Ugly’, there are no ‘circles’ of survival. It’s Solo Suzuki!
I’ve already done the research on this years ago. The group/team/family or whatever you choose to call your ‘circle’ simply can’t be trusted in the long run. That’s why most, if not all of those ‘cult’ groups, both religious or secular off grid retreatants’ who went to live remotely far away from society based on a self-sufficient self-reliant private paradigm never made it for very long, even without a catastrophic SHTF situation.
There’s a lot of psychological studies on it. The problem is a combination of counterintuitive perceptions of the situational reality of last ditch ‘surviving’ and the inevitable break down of everything else in your group dynamics along with the initial break down of the society you once were normally functioning in. Even well-disciplined and organized armies eventually break down and collapse if the disaster is too overwhelming, too long in resolving itself, or they run out of supplies and resources, The fittest of the group usually split up from the collective and go out on their own, only to eventually to perish or by chance finding a more hospitable situation.
Remember SHTF Survivial Prepping is NOT meant to be permanent by definition.
Even in Selco’s SHTF situation there was some trickles of black market resources from the outside world and eventually it was over for the most part in a few years.
But unfortunately, none of this can be predicted accurately enough for most people. And unless you are wealthy and can afford a ‘bullet proof’ indefinite survival alternative to an all-out blow out for years, then you have to consider the consequences of your little, or big, circle failing in the back of your brain.
So The point is that you should always prep for isolated individual survival for the longest possible terms. And any extra people coming into your ‘circle’ should NOT come in to ‘SHARE’. from your personal individual survival preparations.
Some persons of the mindset that more bodies are better for labor intensive surviving and don’t mind cutting into their personal supply, thinking that more can somehow get MORE survival necessities? But this might be true only if EVERYONE participates to the same level of effort and providing resource. Ironically that amounts to a form of communism, which is why the original religious organizations coming to America failed. Then they turned into dictatorships. Because modern humans are basically weak. Both physically and mentally, and survivalism needs strength. Throw ins some ‘stupid’ and laziness and your ‘circle’ starts to a jagged rectangle.
As far as not concerning yourself with the macro intelligence in the world, in favor of concentrating more on your personal preps, I would disagree. Unfortunate we are already in the forewarned Globalist World. Espcially with the economy and the resource essentials. What happens in Ukraine and China, and the Middle East and everywhere could and Will affect us immensely and catch you seriously off guard if you don’t Regularly (DAILY) give yourself and ‘circle’ News briefings on current events. Shit happens ice-slipping fast.
It’s still summer and warm by me but I’m stocking my emergency propane heater 20 pounders ahead of time because of what is very likely to happen with oil (super high costs and scarcity) and fuels this winter because of Putin, especially if he’s not succeeding as planned in his war tactics. I want to be able to last for two winters (I already have enough firewood) Which is the minimum time it would take to restore even a modicum of national power energy in a major National power catastrophe like sabotage or EMP attack.
When it comes to intelligence gathering for a prepper. It’s right up there with food and water. Make it a priority in your prepping. And not just local happenings.
Social gatherings with friends, relatives, and neighbors to bond and shoot the shit…
Just won’t be ‘the same anymore’.