Survival: The Ultimate Form of Resistance

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Being prepared for the unexpected is what my website is all about.  We’ve talked about what you should store and about  becoming more self-reliant.  We’ve discussed health and the evil agendas that appear to be afoot.  We’ve bemoaned the ridiculous laws and the encroaching police state.  We’ve made lists of what you should have, where you should live, and how you should fortify your home.

But what if you had to walk away from everything?  Your food, your tools, your home, your currency – everything that you have spent years accumulating to prepare you for the worst.  What if the worst is actually worse than you had imagined?

Real preparedness means that you could walk away with the clothes on your back and survive. It means that you could find a safe place to retreat to, you could put together a shelter, you could acquire food and water. It means that you possess both the skills and the mindset to keep your family as safe as possible.

I was recently on a forum where “bugging out” was being discussed.  One of the people commented that if he and his family had to leave their home, they were dead.  To me, that sounds defeatist, and I just can’t wrap my brain around it.

Think about this for a moment.

What if you had no option but to leave your home?

Things like chemical spills, nuclear meltdowns, confiscations, invasions, and natural disasters can occur, and if they do, your options may become: leave or die. Some folks say that they’ll die to defend their right to stay where they are, which is a valid choice. Personally, if it gets to that point, my children and I are leaving.

Bugging out is not giving up.  If you can survive and live free despite every effort to the contrary, your continued existence is the ultimate form of resistance.

Your survival, if you choose to leave, becomes about two things: what you have learned and your mindset.

Skills: The Lightest Thing You Can Carry with You

What can you bring with you, wherever you go, without having to worry about the space it takes up in your bug-out bag?  Without being concerned about the weight it adds as you hike ?

Your skills.

The things that you learn while becoming prepared are far more important than any amount of beans or band-aids that you can store. This is not to undermine the vital nature of essential supplies, however, with the right set of skills, you can still survive without them. It won’t be as easy, but it is possible.

To name a few:

  • Finding water
  • Treating water to make it safe to drink
  • Creating a shelter from things in your environment
  • Foraging for food
  • Making a snare or trap
  • Hunting
  • Fishing
  • Building a fire
  • Finding your way using a compass
  • Making tools
  • Making weapons
  • Self defense

Just having read about these things is no substitute for actually having performed the tasks before. When I first moved up to the North Woods, I blithely thought that keeping a fire going in the wood-stove would be a simple task. I was very excited about the concept of my upcoming blissful lack of dependence on the grid for my heat.

Reality stepped in and smacked me in the face when I was rarely able to keep a fire going for more than 15 minutes.  The trolls, who were all born knowing how to build fires by rubbing two sticks together in the midst of an ice storm, scoffed and laughed, pointing out that this incident meant that I had no hope of survival in the future.  Quite honestly, I started to wonder about it myself.   After the first week of this, I was frustrated, but thankful it wasn’t really that cold yet.  After the second week, I was starting to freak out a little bit.  By the third week, I was quite certain that once winter had descended we would be discovered under a pile of blankets, frozen into human popsicles in our cold little cabin.  Then, I figured it out.  Fire happened.  I learned the ins and outs, what  to do if my wood was damp, and half a dozen ways to build a roaring fire in just a couple of minutes. Since then, I’ve built fires in open fireplaces, outdoors in a firepit, and even managed a little celebratory bonfire in the snow for some winter evening s’more-making.

Had this been an actual emergency that had me bugging out from the city, trying to start a campfire in the middle of the woods, we would have been in big trouble.  But now, I’m fairly confident in my ability to build a fire whatever the circumstances.

I’m sharing this to explain why there is absolutely no substitute for hands-on experience.  The most vital skills – those of finding water, staying warm, creating shelter, and finding food, must be practiced until you could perform them in your sleep.  Books and websites are no substitute – they provide information.  Practice provides skills, and your skills are the only things that you can rely on having with you when you need them.

Survival: A State of Mind

The other vital component is your state of mind. There is simply no substitute for a survival attitude.

The key components to a survival mindset are:

  • Adaptability: Are you able to immediately switch gears when things don’t work out the way you planned?
  • Perseverance: Will you keep trying in the face of failure?
  • Resolve: Are you absolutely determined to keep yourself and your family safe, regardless of overwhelming circumstances?

Of course you don’t want to become a refugee.  You aren’t happy about the fact that you’ve had to abandon your hard work and your carefully chosen preps.  But dwelling on this fact and refusing to accept the reality that IS will become a death sentence in very short order if you don’t stop the thoughts in their tracks.


A while back, I wrote about adaptability.

Forget survival of the strongest, the meanest, the fastest,  the toughest, the fittest or the smartest.

All of those are fine qualities in a prepper but there is one key to survival in nearly any situation that trumps all of the above.  That key is adaptability.


The ability to change to fit changed circumstances.

The ability to assess a situation and immediately change gears is a vital skill.  It doesn’t come naturally for everybody. Like any skill, it takes practice.  You must be able to toss Plan A out the window without a regretful look back and plunge immediately and wholeheartedly into Plan B, C, or beyond.  You must possess the ability to change your paradigm without hesitation.  You can’t cling to the way you want things to be, or the way they should be – you must instantly adapt to the way things are.

More than one person refuted the suggestion that we should be adaptable.  They made the very valid point that sometimes adapting is giving in.  The thing is, your very survival flouts the enemy.  There is nothing that says “resistance” more loudly than surviving (and thriving) when an enemy hopes to see you dead.


When things go wrong, you cannot give up.  I wrote above about the month it took me to learn to build a fire properly.  I met repeated failure on almost a daily basis, with a fluke fire here and there that stayed lit. Despite that, several times a day (seasoned by a few swear words) I squatted down in front of that wood-stove and kept at it, until finally, one day, I figured it out.

Persistence in all things will eventually meet with success.  It may not be the success you had envisioned, but by refusing to give up, you will figure things out.  Maybe this is catching a fish, using a snare, building a fire, creating a shelter that won’t fall down on top of your head, or growing a garden.  Many obstacles may arise but simply by continuing to work towards your goal, you’ve already defied defeat – and that is success, right there.  As my dad used to tell me, “You haven’t lost the fight until you stop getting back up.”


The principle of resolve is the third component of your survival mindset.  You must have a primary goal that is above and beyond the smaller goals of keeping your property, holding your ground, or defeating the beast.  Your goal of survival must be firmly in your mind, regardless of the circumstances.

What are you prepared to do in order that you and your family survive?  If you say “anything” – and you actually mean it – then that is a measure of your level of resolve.   In an all-out TEOTWAWKI situation, it is possible that horrible decisions might have to be made.  There could be situations where your personal ethics must be over-ridden by your survival instinct, particularly when it comes to caring for your family. After those actions, whatever they may be, are undertaken, you must maintain your presence of mind and move on to the next task, instead of being broken down by the choice you have had to make.  If you aren’t willing to do that, or if you cannot work the unalienable right of self-defense into your personal  moral code, then you may not have the resolve required to survive. Harsh times may call for harsh actions. When they do, you just have to grit your teeth and go with it if you intend to survive.

The Ugly Reality

The reality of bugging out is ugly.  Unless you have a destination in mind, you are a refugee, and thus at the mercy of human enemies, the elements, and Mother Nature.  It is an absolute last resort for most of us and not a decision to be undertaken likely.   If you leave, whether by necessity or by choice, you need to understand that, in most instances, bugging out could mean that you will never see your home or your possessions again. What you take with you is all you have to begin your new life.

There only two things that no one can take away – the things that you carry with you always:  your skills and your mindset. Build both in order to survive regardless of the status of your tangible preparations.  Surviving is the ultimate form of resistance.


Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • I am lucky in the fact we primitive camp quite often and my husband has read all of Cody Lundin’s books. We are pretty well prepared.

  • Two very light weight and reliable tools we keep in our bags for starting a fire are: Cotton balls heavily coated with petroleum jelly and dryer lint. They don’t dry out and they weight next to nothing to carry, yet light in a second and the petroleum stays lit in wet cold conditions. Another tool is a thin reading magnifying plastic card as well as matches and a flint. We fortunately are establishing locations now to get out of the city if need be. So Cal is a risky place to be in any event that tip the scale to loss or depravation. Thanks for the post and so much good info to consider.

    • Keeping petroleum jelly on hand is 2fold….if your planning to be on foot long, coating feet thick before putting on a pair of dress socks, reduces blisters…by reducing friction…. Marine trick

  • It is a good thing when a person will do “ANYTHING in order that you and your family survive”?

    Is it true that “Your personal ethics must be over-ridden by your survival instinct, particularly when it comes to caring for your family” ?

    Personal ethics, including observing the difference between defending yourself if attacked (good) and initiating an attack against others (bad), put the ‘humane’ in humantiy. The unlimited ‘every man for himself’ attitude leads to anarchy, unending crime and the survival only of the most vicious — and perhaps their selected slaves.

    If I were inadequately prepared or had bad luck and came across you, I’d ask you for help. If you chose not to share and sent me away, should I just murder you and take what I wanted anyway? What you have written suggests this, but it is wrong.

    It is wrong to allow or lead or encourage people to think they should abandon their morals in emergency situations. Please re-read James Wesley Rawls’ “Patriots” and please write more carefully.

    • Northern Nature:

      Thank you for pointing out that my meaning was not clear.

      My goal in writing this is not to say that we should commit crimes without any moral standards whatsoever, but I can see how it may have come across this way.

      Our society is constantly brainwashed by the media to accept things passively and to be non-confrontational. This is fine, for example, in a road rage situation or an altercation at the supermarket, but altogether different in an uncivilized WROL situation.

      I stand by what I said, however. If it is an unpleasant choice between my daughter’s life or physical safety and performing a cold-blooded act of defense, I won’t hesitate. My priority is that my children survive. I’m not talking about going out and committing crimes and assaults. I’m talking about closing my ranks and protecting my family.

      I do have plans and preparations for charity when it can be safely given. Thank you again for pointing this out,as you have given me some very important feedback. I wrote a while back about a similar topic, and you might find it interesting.

      Have a good weekend.


      • Thank you for the clarification —

        I completely agree that, in a unprovoked attack, a person must defend himself and those for whom he is responsible. But I would emphasize that the means of defense, anything from the use of deadly force to just walking away, is always a choice that the defender must make, based on his instant analysis of what will produce the best outcome with the least necessary damage. People need to think long and hard beforehand about what might happen and how they could and then should respond so that they are ready to make that choice if suddenly they must. Maybe people will have to reformulate their ethics if never harming even a fly was their ideal, but they musn’t abandon them.

        A lot of people scan text rather than read carefully. For them it is necessary to make these distinctions and to keep repeating ‘defensive action only’ so that crucial qualifier will sink in.

  • Hi, I just came across your website and was thinking how cool it was! (I recognize your name from SHTFplan website). I was wondering if you could elaborate on the second point above about finding water. Water is our most important requirement: we can only survive (I think I read) about 5 hours without water before our bodies start shutting down (organs adversely affected). Was wondering if you could post article about finding water/purifying water? A water filter might make us feel secure temporarily but sooner or later it could break or whatever and we really need to know (like a Native American!) how to find drinkable water. Thanks!

    • Hi, Grasshopper! Nice to see you over here! 🙂

      That’s a great idea for an article. I’ve put it on my list and will definitely write about it. I have a few thoughts but a bit more research is required before I feel comfortable sharing them. I don’t want to pass on questionable information. 🙂

      I’m glad you like the site – have a great weekend!


  • Individual water storage in a residence.
    Obtain a waterbed bladder and use it for storage.
    Make sure you locate it properly as it cannot be moved and
    may need some side support.

  • I thought that being a survivalist meant surviving, somehow, under duress. I don’t think that the survival imperative comes with a lot of lace-hankie rules.

    As soon as you mention the possibility of violence, people who are not fully committed to surviving chime in urging a softer stance.

    Folks, if you aren’t prepared to do whatever it may take to survive, you won’t.

    That really IS the bottom line.

    The ones who do survive will be those who were willing to do the hard things just to see another day. Right now they are stockpiling skills and essential possessions. Those do include weapons and the ability to use them effectively against humans and other predators / game.

    I am not a “two beef jerky sticks and 10,000 rounds of ammo” sort of survivalist.

    I am, however, willing to do whatever it takes to keep myself and my family alive until conditions permit a more nuanced existence. Those “two and ten” guys DO exist, however, and they are why my prepping includes both a big garden and multiple firearms, books and ammunition, training and practice (there IS a difference).

    Noah probably felt bad about leaving all his neighbors behind, but the whole 40 years he was building and supplying the ark he knew that there would be no way to take them with him.

    God, ever the realist, sealed the door so that Noah couldn’t do the stupid thing and let them in.

    If every hungry person in a mile radius converges on your home, campsite or whatever, you’d better be prepared to thin the herd rather drastically and without much discussion.

    The whole time Noah was building the ark, he was also preaching, trying to get the others to prepare for what was coming … just as most of us do. He did his part; they failed to do theirs, but to let them enter the ark would have doomed Noah and his family – who DID prepare.

    Most of us would like to help all the people around us in time of need. But, unless we are prepared to feed, house and attend to the medical needs of several thousand folks indefinitely, to do so would mean doom for our own families.

    Suppose you are on the move and have two water filters and give one to a family in need. Pat on the head time?

    Not necessarily.

    If those with nothing to exchange (they will be legion), no skills or supplies we need, are not able to talk us out of what we have, they will attempt to use force to obtain them. No parent whose children are dying will respond politely to a refusal. Nor should they.

    We must be prepared to respond to that force, or even to initiate it if necessary.

    Or we are simply preparing to die.

    Those who don’t prepare to survive, won’t and we can’t intervene without risking our own lives. Although that may seem harsh, it’s no worse than watching the water filter you gave away running off with the water filter that was stolen from you because someone outside your group learned of its existence.

    After all, why would you give one away unless you had another?.

    Now the other people have both of your water filters. Are you still unwilling to use force? You have roughly 72 hours to re-order your ethics. Beyond that time slot, you will lose the ability to act.

    (On a practical note, you can hide a Life Straw – or similar device – on your person and never divulge its existence. Twenty gallons of water through a straw gives you twenty-three days to find the thief.

    It’s (sort of) okay if someone takes your ‘only’ water filter … as long as it isn’t actually the only one. Now you have 23 days to track them down, watch for a suitable ambush and crack them in the head with a rock to get the better filter back. Am I being too harsh? On the 24th day you will lose the ability and possibility even the desire to get that filter back. Roughly a week later, you finally die. Someone is going to die here, and you have to decide who it will be. You, who prepared (and those who are relying on you), or the thief, who did not. Choose wisely.)

  • You Need More Than Food to Survive

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