Selco: It CAN Happen to You and You CAN Survive It

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

It is good to research how other people went through hard times in order to be ready more for SHTF. And today, I have a reality check for you.

The two biggest misconception or mistakes that can happen there are fact that you may easily conclude something like “oh, this can not happen to me here (because we are better, smarter, richer, more human or whatever)” and second one might be fact that you cannot “bond” with situation that happened to someone else somewhere far from you because situation was so hard and those people who survived and went through that look way tougher than you.

With these mindsets, you cannot understand and draw the most important lessons from the reality of their survival experiences.

In essence, we are talking about two opposite “spectrums” here, one that says “it will never happen here” and a second that says “if that ever happens I would not survive”

“If that ever happens, I will not survive.”

Many people read about a situation and think, I cannot survive that situation, I cannot be prepared for that.

A long time ago, when I started to construct physical survival courses, one of my first ideas was to create a course called “A Week in Hell”.

The course was imagined to look like this: life in an apartment or house for one week without electricity, running water, or any other service, and only a very small amount of food.

Other problems would be thrown at the students during that week: the psychological pressure of the unknown (a threat, dangerous people, engaging in trade) fixing broken stuff in the home (broken windows, roof) solving problems (heating, a medical issue), etc.

The point of the course was to condense all the reality and problems of SHTF in a short amount of time in realistic settings.

And this is exactly the reason why I did not make that particular course – you can not condense all problems in such a short time, especially not if you add the psychological pressure that I think needs to be added in any survival course.

It is a process that needs time to feel and be prepared, and for the point of this article, you need to understand that your life can prepare you a lot for SHTF.

Any real-life problems you are going through, you need to understand is one step more in the direction of being prepared for SHTF. No, you do not have to go through civil war or a complete economic collapse to have the mental and physical abilities to survive any future SHTF event.

Just use any real-life hard situation that is hard for YOU in order to be more prepared.

A bad personal economic situation (it is bad more or less worldwide) can teach you a lot about valuing your money, buying at the sales, making your own food, or even thinking about your own garden.

Following the bad economic situation worldwide, you probably noticed how your neighborhood has become a less secure place so you may think about how to be more ready there, by making your home a more safe and secure place, or simply by having and knowing how to use a gun.

You are already implementing OPSEC probably, maybe without realizing it.

You research options for your medical problems when you or your family member is sick, either because your medical insurance is bad (or non-existing) or simply because you want to check other options or medicines, herbal for example…

My point here is that you are probably more prepared in some fields then you realize, and your everyday life is (or should be) part of preparing.

(Get more info on the four levels of disaster by reading our free QUICKSTART Guide.)

“It can not happen here.”

I have written more than one article about proving that it can happen everywhere, and it was happening everywhere, or it will eventually.

But it usually ends each time with comments like, “Oh it cannot happen here” and as the main reason people usually repeat this: “It cannot happen here because we are different, and society here is different, laws, rights, rules…”

I can’t repeat all that I have repeated many times before why it can happen everywhere, but again I will point out the main thing.

You might seem different because the society (system) around you makes you look different with implementing laws, rights, freedoms, etc.

Once when that layer of society is gone because of whatever reason, what you get is human nature, which can be very bad and it usually sticks with most primitive instincts and needs.

It may not seem like it to you, but when things get really, really hard, when everything gets stripped down to very basic survival and to acquiring resources, most of the people are the same anywhere in the world.

Even if they are conditioned not to be the same, after some time of being immersed into the reality of SHTF, most people get to the point I have described.

You are preparing for that.

What I do all the time when I try to learn from someone else experience is just that – learning from his experience. In other words, I do not care in what society he lives, is he a Democrat, a communist, a Republican, or from Klingon.

I might hate him, his political views, or being religious (or not religious), I might find him primitive, annoying or whatever. I might even doubt very much that his situation could happen to me, but point is this: I still would love to know how he managed to overcome difficulties, how he found food or shelter, how he avoided being shot, how he coped with depression, anxiety, and anger if he lost someone dear to him.

I still want to know that because food is food, fire is fire, trade is trade, and survival skill is survival skill no matter where these things are experienced.

Remember that a big part of surviving is learning from different experiences and situations and adapting that reality to your own situation.

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Basics are basics, no matter where you are.

Whenever you have doubts about something and someone (or hate it, dislike it), when it comes to the survival experiences of other people, try to reset yourself from judging. Try to reset yourself to the point where you can use his experiences.

If that is too hard for you, just go to the basic survival skills (how that person solve those problems) and try to use it.

Basics are always gonna be basics, everywhere.

What about you?

Have you begun to feel like things are too hard lately? Are you struggling? Let’s discuss it in the comments. We’re a community and we are here to help each other.

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.

Picture of 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 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.

Leave a Reply

    • Hi, Slavko. I’m terribly sorry if there was an issue with the email sign up. If I understand you correctly, you signed up to get the prepper’s emergency preparedness binder and didn’t receive it? It certainly wasn’t intentional. I’ve emailed you the download link.

      Best wishes,

      • Regarding slavko’s comments, I probably should have let you know that, several times in the past, I have tried to buy books and/or elicit “free downloads” you offered and was unable. Is it because I am on a Mac? Is it perhaps my browser? I use Firefox. It would be good to know. Thanks, Alice

      • He should have been courteous and considerate and just ask you nicely what happened to it but he got all perturbed and went into a rave and name calling. What on earth? Now he’s fortunate that you did it for him at all…

  • I REALLY liked this article. I’ve been through a lot in my life and lived long enough to realize those experiences make you stronger, actually honing you for what is to come.

  • The people who attended the Sarajevo Winter Olympics had no idea they were a few years from Mad Max being a documentary.

  • Thanks for pointing out that we really need to be students of human failures so we may have the opportunity to adapt and survive. We can make different decisions, if we do our homework.

    99.9% of us will ignore the failures, subscribing to idolizing fake sports and political heroes who allegedly Win at any cost through any means and are designated Winners.

    Although the mainstream US media has downplayed the US pre-election civil unrest, it really happened in NYC, Chicago, and Minneapolis. It’s not Fake News! It continues today in Portland, Washington, USA.

    It did happen and it’s still affecting citizens in those and nearby communities. It can come to your neighborhood, sooner than you expect.

  • These are low bars to achieve. Even though the US is all you said and more, significant parts of it aref alot less and sometimes, those plummers happen or have happened already. I grew up in a papermill town in the rustbelt as it was sliding into that, from prosperity. Not fun. Not nice. Lots of plummeting lifestyles and hard times. People like me will survive. We always do. We have that mindset already.

  • I grew up hearing stories from my parents about how they survived the Great Depression; my father’s family had a bad patch in the 1920s when farming turned bad. One of the ways they survived was leaving the places they were from to travel a long ways to where the jobs were, and both of them had to keep traveling because of circumstances. My father went from Oklahoma to Detroit to Chicago to Los Angeles. My mother from Kentucky to Arkansas to Texas to Los Angeles. They married when living in California and then moved back to Oklahoma. Both of them experienced external tragedies related to weather ( my mother’s home was under water for 10 days when the river flooded, ruining everything they had)) death of parents during the hardships, injuries on the job and failed first marriages as well as the economic catastrophes.

    My parents were put-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other people, very practical, adjusting and doing what had to be done and not complainers.

  • My Greatest fear is all of us in my family being so far apart. How would we know if the others are ok? Will I ever get to see them again? My husband and I will get along fine, but our children? Our Grandchildren? Our aging Parents?

  • Never had the “I will not survive,” mentality. There is always a way, sometimes it is going to be hard. I try to do things the hard way first, as I know I can always do it the easy way.

    “It can not happen here.”
    Will it be identical to, say, the Nazi occupation of France or Poland?
    There will be similarities and there will be differences.
    What would it look like? No one can say for sure. We can take lessons from history, both distant and recent.
    Having X amount of supplies on hand is always good. But at some point in time the TP, toothpaste, MREs etc. will run out.
    By then will Wally-World be back up and running, accepting debit/CC cards again?
    Magic 8-Ball says, “Future uncertain.”
    In the meantime, prep on!

  • Hard times coming? They are always coming. They are always just around the corner. Unfortunately we live in a time of artificially created largesse. We haven’t had real hard times for a few generations now, and people don’t know what they are, or what to expect. We have become a society of entitled Starbucks’ soy latte drinkers, blissfully meandering through life thinking that “it can’t happen here,” and “the government needs to fix this.” Most people are a lot tougher and more resilient that they think, they have just never been tested.

    Even those among us who regularly visit this and other sites often have blinders on, or fail to see the big picture. In all other situations in recent history disasters have been local, or at worst regional in scope. Much like Selco’s experience’s, there has always been an area outside the affected area where life is “normal” and products are being produced, and money has a value. An area that can help supply the necessities of life through international aid societies or government agencies. Unfortunately, with the potential situation that we are looking at these may not be realistic or available.

    But even those who make their living predicting disasters can have complete blind spots. Have too narrow of focus. Or fail to see the “big” picture. I read an article on the weekend that Lloyd’s of London (the insurance underwriters) had done a study dealing with the increased sun spot activity, and the possible outcome of a Carrington level CME event. They predicted that if this were to happen that we could lose power for weeks or even months……that was it! End of report! Like they expected that after months without power the grid would magically be fixed and life would continue as per normal. They never looked further into the fact that if we lost power for weeks, let alone months, that they wouldn’t have to worry about paying out claims and protecting their stockholders from a major hit. They would be gone! Kaput! Society as we know it would cease to function.

    But, maybe that’s the only way we, as a society, can continue to go on with everyday life. A percentage of “chicken little’s” living on fear porn, and a much larger percentage going forward with their heads in the sand, refusing to see, or prepare for the obvious storm clouds on the horizon. And that leaves us! To try and walk the middle ground.

  • There are actually Two types of Survivors. Those who say “I can survive anything” and those who just push forward while not really caring if they live or die. Yet not allowing depression or defeatism to cause them to be inactive or inattentive. They just soldiered on.
    The latter group seemed to arise as survivors, out of the Vietnam conflict.
    They suggested that those who most wanted to live and make it back home usually died and rather quickly upon entering the combat zone. Their view was that these guys became overly cautious, even timid (possibly thinking themselves “safe” by their actions) and in doing so blindly walked into danger and got themselves killed. Many of the other type were to aggressive,(The super hero type complex), took to many risks and perished also.

    This could be a wake up call for Preppers: Don’t get over confident in your preps. Do not get to feeling so safe, that you fail to continue being vigilant.
    Don’t drop your guard, just because you think you have the perfect BOL, prepped enough stuff, Trained enough or Learned enough.

    On the other extreme do not allow your self to be overly Depressed either.
    Both views can be killers. Somewhere in between seems to be the Sweet spot as far as Survival is concerned, when you world goes SHTF.

  • SHTF takes many forms. I was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkins Lymphoma 3 years ago. I was the primary caregiver for my disabled mother who lived with us, employed full-time as the Controller of a food production plant generating over $200M annual sales and my husband and I have a small hobby farm with goats, chickens and honey bees. We also provide a great deal of help to my father-in-law who was 90 at the time. My husband was the sole employee of his business. To suddenly lose 50% of our “work force” (me), was devastating. My husband had a hard time coping and he was not a grocery shopper, cook or bill payer. I was in complete denial. To this day it still feels to me like it all happened to someone else. We did it, we pulled through and we’re closer because of it. We learned a few big lessons: 1) sometimes you just can’t do everything yourself- you need outside help and 2) you can’t always count on the people you are relying upon. 1) we had a good friend who prepared meals and brought them over for us. There are many days we would have severely struggled without her kindness. 2) my siblings refused to help take care of our mom. She had been living with me and my husband for 8 years and was our sole responsibility through sickness, holidays, vacation- all of it. They were all local and none of them visited, offered to take mom for a few days or even called to see how we were doing. Thankfully we live near a Mennonite community and a family stepped in to help care for my mom, help with our farm animals and even cut our grass. We would not have made it through without them.

    So, when we are talking national or global SHTF, the only hope many people will have is to rely on the kindness of strangers. No one is going to escape this. Some might be better off than others due to their preparations, but everyone is going to need help of some kind. Thinking you can just hole up with your 5 gallon containers of oatmeal and powdered peanut butter waiting for the crisis to pass is not a realistic plan. But trusting the wrong people can be just as devastating. None of us really know how we will react in a crisis. Or how someone else will. It’s easy to plan for the most probable disaster, it’s the improbable that can cause catastrophe. That’s what scares me the most, betrayal. The threat from a trusted friend with ulterior motives.

  • You Need More Than Food to Survive

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