Preparedness: Five Ways to Better Convince Your Loved Ones

by Kellene

What elephant?

You worry and fret over your loved ones who have taken no efforts to properly be self-sufficient; whose preparedness efforts are nil. I have seen that kind of stress and even heartache far too often in preparedness. It almost feels like a 900 pound elephant in the middle of the room when one spouse is committed to preparedness but the other is adamantly against it.  I have a couple of dear friends who actually “sneak” money out of their monthly budget to purchase preparedness goods.  I have to giggle a bit when I hear that, but on the other hand I’m not sure financial infidelity is the right way to go either.  I’ve also heard of parents purchasing all of their kid’s preparedness supplies for Christmas only to be faced with

disappointed faces on Christmas morning. Yup. That’s not creating any friends either, is it? On the other hand, you don’t want to feel ostracized because you’re trying to be more independent, right?  So, how can we create a better environment that’s more accepting of preparedness?

Preparedness Intentions:

Well, I hate to tell you this, but a lot of the resistance from the people you love is actually caused by you. No, it’s not all your fault. There are too many reasons why people ignore preparedness for you to take on that kind of responsibility.    In spite of your absolute best of intentions, and having a genuine concern for the well-being of others, your message is likely getting skewed because of how you approach preparedness with others.  So, in the name of independence, self-reliance and accountability, let’s see what we can do differently so that we help entice others around us towards preparedness instead of scaring them off.  Don’t worry. There’s no need to be defensive about this. I’m just going to share with you some ways that you can have much more success in getting others on board. During this process, whether you’re a seasoned preparedness person or a beginner, I’m confident that you will benefit by internalizing these more effective messages of preparedness as well.

Before I go over the five suggestions I have for you, allow me to share with you some of my professional background. I do this so that you can have some semblance of confidence that what I’m sharing with you is not just pulled out of a surprise goody bag. It comes as a result of experience and success. To be blunt, I’m a master marketer. Three years ago I received an award as one of the top 3 marketers in the world.   Since I was 23, I’ve earned my living not by a specialization in a particular niche, offering the lowest prices, or coming up with some groundbreaking concept. Instead I was successful as a result of my ability to effectively market my goods in a way that got people's attention, communicated with them clearly, and engaged them into action. So, let’s see how these strategies can help all of us to accomplish our goal of successfully educating and motivating the people we love to be better prepared.

Your words create a picture in other people's minds

First of all, the use of your words is a serious factor in successfully marketing and educating.  As such, we must be selective in the words we use because every word paints a picture.  If we’re using words that paint a negative picture, then we will never get through our own psyche let alone others who are more resistant.  As such, I beg you to

cease using the terms “emergency preparedness” and “food storage.”

For those who are resistant to any kind of preparedness, I assure you that these two phrases have as much appeal to them as attending church appeals to an Atheist.  These words are simply no longer applicable to the world of preparedness and they certainly are not enticing. These phrases have been used for over a hundred years and they have lacked the “oomph” necessary to convert anyone towards a more prepared home.  Both of these phrases have very negative stigmas that go with them. They promote pictures of crazy, unkempt, violent people who stand on street corners with signs that say “the end is here.” In addition to these stigmas, these two phrases are simply not an accurate way of educating in the world of preparedness.  Preparedness should never be accompanied by fear, panic, vulnerability, etc. In fact, preparedness is the exact opposite of such connotations. Alternative approaches to be better prepared can easily be addressed by reason of the peace, independence, safety, and comfort it promotes.

Anytime you attempt to influence someone towards a more prepared state simply because “so and so said so” then you’re going to get some resistance.  It doesn’t really matter who “so and so” is either. Even if “so and so” is a well-respected religious or political leader, it’s usually not enough to get someone to change their thought process or their actions. People take actions in response to an authoritative dictate for only two reasons. 1) They fear the consequences of ignoring it or 2) They also understand the “why” and believe in it enough to take action. Think about it. How often has “because I said so” really worked for you in the past? Chances are compliance is only realized as the result of a fear of losing a job, dinner, freedom, or a relationship.  Additionally, “because so and so said so” is a flimsy foundation to stand on.  Having to resort to it essentially shows a lack of respect or understanding of any other sound reasoning for preparedness.  Thus attempting to use it as a motivator isn’t effective and can even create an antagonistic relationship.  Instead, use authoritative directives as supplemental information for them to consider. A sound comprehension of the “whys” are much more influential.

This one may be a bit tougher for me to explain. So be sure that you read the full explanation before you think I’m bonkers. Introducing the concept of self-reliance embedded in religious belief is a mistake for beginners. Trying to educate this way is like trying to get someone to take a sip from a fire hose. Yet many make the mistake of associating preparedness primarily as influenced by a particular religion.  In other words, their basis of proactive preparedness is rooted in a study and a belief of the scriptures or statements by religious authorities. This is not to say that I believe the two should not be intertwined.  In fact, personally, I believe that I shouldn’t teach anything unless I have spiritual assistance.  But I sure didn’t start out that way. It’s been my experience that folks need to initially grasp preparedness on a much more simple level than what a religious connection will require. I think it’s ideal that your preparedness efforts are influenced by your religious beliefs. I believe that if such is the case that your efforts will be more strongly rooted.  However, attempting to educate someone who’s new to preparedness from this perspective is simply too much, too soon.  Such a perspective requires a spiritual maturity.

Teaching preparedenss solely from a religous standpoint doesn't give the full picture of preparedness

This maturity is not obtained overnight or as the result of a single epiphany.  It requires constant nourishment that is constantly evolving. Combining religion and preparedness isn’t a bad thing, but it is very personal. As such it is an ineffective approach when trying to influence and educate someone new to preparedness. Suppose you wanted someone to assist you in building a bridge.  Would you sit down and discuss with them the history of architectural designs of successful bridges? Of course not. Instead you would educate them on how much concrete and wood the project would require and move forward from there. Then you wait until the maturity within the person propels them to have a deeper understanding of what they are helping to create.  Granted, accompanying your daily preparedness with a religious conviction will provide a more solid, long-lasting commitment. But such a conviction needs to be fostered over time and be initiated by the “newbie” at their own pace and in accordance to their own beliefs.  This is comparable to the parable of the 10 virgins. The 5 wise virgins simply could not share their oil with the others because the oil represents faith, conviction, hope, testimony, etc. You simply cannot just hand over to another person.

The fourth recommendation I offer is that you be sure to separate yourself from the negative, stereotypical idea of one who prepares. A reinforcement of such negative misconceptions will not assist you in convincing others to prepare.  Preparedness really is about comfort, peace, safety, happiness, love, competence, honor, etc.  But the negative stigmas of those who prepare on any level are so counter to this reality.  Ask yourself, do you reinforce any of those negative perceptions?  Let’s face it. I’m going to buy into preparedness advice from a well kempt, real, intelligent, relatable, and gregarious person much more than I would a schleppy, socially inept, sloppy, or flaky person.  The first type of person would definitely be more credible to me on such an important topic.

Recently I read an interview in Newsweek which focused on the “movement” of preparedness. While I objected to preparedness being described as a new trend, I did enjoy the article otherwise. Why? Because they interviewed a gal who is the epitome of preparedness. As such, she could have come across as your stereotypical nut case/survivalist/food hoarder/flake-a-roonie looney/ prepper.  When I first saw what the article was about, I inwardly cringed—afraid that it was going to be yet one more interview in which someone who is preparedness minded is painted as a nut job.  But I was SO relieved and impressed to see this gal handle herself so well. She came across as educated, classy, competent, logical, intelligent, REAL, and just plain wonderful! (You go, girl!)  I believe that we are responsible for how we come across to other people. Thus we should make every effort to come across properly so that we can reinforce our message with credibility.

Last, but definitely not least, be a good example. You’ll be able to convey aspects of your message that are otherwise unspeakable.  Most people learn best via a visual presentation. Being a good example of preparedness maximizes the impact of a visual education. Additionally, being a good example of preparedness can’t help but bring about questions from observers.  When a person asks a question, they are usually in the BEST position to be taught.  If you back up your message with visual practice, your credibility increases in a way that cannot be accomplished any other way.

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so how do you address the "nothing ever happens" crowd? I feel like pulling my hair out sometimes dealing with family. Parents say nothing has happened in their 50+ years and siblings can't even manage to keep groceries in the house for the weeks meals, let alone a month!!

The folks are right, where we live there is virtually never anything to worry about. If power goes out one of us, the odds are we can go down the road to the next family member. I don't think there has ever been a massive natural emergency here. PA is a great place to live.

Preparedness Pro's picture

I would hope that you could address that issue the same way I try to address it with you. A lot of something has happened, right in our own back yard. For example, Food is getting more expensive, smaller, poorer quality and you can stabilize your costs of food by purchasing quality food that has a great shelf-life. That's not an "emergency preparedness" mentality, but it sure is a preparedness one. There's tons happening all around us on an everyday basis that can easily give a logical mind pause for thinking about being more independent.

Yep, made everyone of those mistakes. So I have stopped trying to convince anyone. If what's happening right now in the world doesn't convince them. Nothing I say will make a difference. It sounds a little harsh, but I'm laughed at for being frugal and preparing. If someone asks for help I'll do my best for them, until then I'll just be positive, bake bread and keep on going.
Happy note though I scored my 1st free product from a store. Yes it was Ramen Noodles. :)
That just made my day.

Nice article and I eill be linking to it from my site.
I am partway there with mindset, stocked pantry, ammo and fetaway bags, which also double as hunting bags and are always stocked. The one area I need to improve on is water supply. As for convincing my family. They know what to expect. As for convincing the liberal, Government will protect and privide for me Libeal parents and siblings? They will be on their own. Esp since none live close. They be highly edjeecated so.....they can figure it out!
The biggest thing is mindset, knowing what to do and preparing for it mentally.

Great article. As someone who grew up in the Adirondack mountains and lived through a lot of power outages, prepping was not a difficult concept for me to wrap my head around! Then when I became a parent, it was even more imperative to be prepared for anything! I will say I am tired of assumptions regarding prepping and political affiliation. I am as liberal as they come. I prep to take care of my family and to help take care of my community. Those ideas are not confined to any single political viewpoint.

I've found that to be the best approach. Where we live we could easily lose power due to blizzard conditions as has happened in the past. Also a completely unprepared neighbor had her water turned off due to multiple families living under the same roof and one not having money for the bill. With zero water storage they had no water to drink, wash hands or flush. In these cases I have been able to inspire these people to at least get some water and supplies stored which they had not considered before. What if you physically can NOT get to the store for a few weeks, what if we lose power from an ice storm?

We will still have to care and provide for our children and our furry children. It is one thing to ingore the preperation one needs for self if we so choose and it only affects that self. It is another thing entirely to ignore the responsibility to care for those who have no choice and are dependant on us for their every need and basically their life.

My friend who is co-living with families has little extra monies to spend at all so she has started with a few simple steps. Refilling used laundry, bleach containers with water for washing and flusing. Washing and using juice, soda, drink bottles for drinking water. Every week adding a few extra canned good items to the pantry and locating other prepardness type items that they already have but don't use regulary like flashlights, making sure they have batteries and putting them together so they are accessable when needed.

Great article. I try to relate what I'm doing to getting ready in case of really bad winter weather.I hear "Oh yeah, good idea. Otherwise people just don't get it. I have decided not to talk about it anymore and just keep it amongst ourselves.I figure the people who think I'm nuts will be the ones knocking on my door. It's really hard not to worry about people I know are not preparing.


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