Are you maintaining the most vital resource in your ‘preppertoire’?

Periodically on courses and even in online interactions, we find ourselves in a situation in which we need to ask individuals specific questions. As we see others’ engagement with preparedness and their actions, we realize they have lost their way a bit. Many have an over fixation on purchasing, and they believe they can buy their way out of trouble.

That works to a point, but it is not what we are promoting.

What is the one MOST important prep you have?

If you had to label or put a name on the most vital resource you have in your “preppertoire,” what would that be? 

Normally people wrack their brains going through the mental checklist of their supplies. They think of the most expensive, irreplaceable, or most invested in item. Thinking about or asking yourself what the most expensive or irreplaceable items are is correct. Some examples of things people think of are medications, communications equipment, gear, and other supplies. These are necessary, of course.

But very often people will miss what that most vital thing is. 

What is the most vital thing?

It’s you, yourself.

It’s not anything you own or have to buy. You are your most important prep. Because the skills and the knowledge and the ability you have is unique. You are the most vital resource in your whole preparedness suite. 

We are aware that many things we own and use require regular maintenance, inspection, and sometimes replacement. And we are no different because, at the end of the day, we’re soft, squishy humans.

You need to make sure you are being looked after. It is very easy to overlook self-care, especially for those heavily into preparedness and have a sense of duty to care for others.

As many of you know, it’s very easy to give of yourself. And that can be a detriment to you. 

“You can’t pour tea from an empty cup.”

This beautiful phrase came from a discussion I had with someone whose opinion I very much respect. If you’re always giving, but you never allow yourself to refill, that is entirely unsustainable. Many of you have likely done a lot of pouring of late. I would say it has been a while since you had a health check to see how you are doing.

Today, I want, expect ( maybe even demand) that you take a few minutes to prioritize yourself. Climb inside that amazing head of yours and see how you are doing in earnest. Realistically, how sustainable is the path that you’re on? And how can you affect your well-being in the most effective, influential, and immediate manner? Self-care is not something that we can continue to put off. 

Yes, we’ve got priorities. Yes, we’ve got duties. Yes, we’ve got responsibilities. But you are the critical component in the whole system.

If you fail, everything collapses within

You MUST take the time to ensure your well-being for the welfare of yourself and others. I call it a “Security and Sanity Stop.” Each day take 5 to 10 minutes (or more if you can) to check in with your brain. Ask yourself how you are doing. See what you need to do to ensure that your cup is full so that you can keep pouring to others. Here are some things you can do if you’re overwhelmed by all the bad news.

Ideally, take that time in nature to refill. Nature is one of the places where you will get the most potent results quickly. Merely sitting in the garden with a cup of tea will rejuvenate you and help clear your mind. If you want to continue to help others, and fulfill your duties, venture outside and get your fill. Take the time. It is important. 


By Toby Cowern

Toby Cowern has an extensive background in the military, emergency services, risk management, and business continuity, combined with applied wilderness and urban survival skills. He discusses personal safety, security, and the crossover of military skills to the average civilian.

(Source:; January 22, 2021;
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