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Survival in the Modern World: The Value of Thinking Ahead

   Are you the type of person who always thinks ahead? Depending on who you ask, that can be viewed very differently. As someone who’s almost always thinking ahead, I’ve been accused of paranoia on more than one occasion – usually by someone who appears careless, at least from my point of view.

   I think about everything, not because I necessarily expect something to happen, but because I intend to be prepared if it does. I don’t like stumbling through a crisis and sure as hell don’t like panicking at the last minute, due to a lack of preparation. And yes, I’m talking about all the panic-buying that occurs when unexpected situations arise, such as what’s going on right now with COVID-19.

   With all the current controversy over this virus, I thought it would be a good idea to remind everyone how important it is to think ahead, even when everything seems to be going well. Actually, that’s the most important time to remember this, because if you wait until there is a crisis, it’s much too late for that.

   The problem with people today is that you have people who think it’s the end of the world on one hand and people who think it’s no big deal on the other. The prepared individual sits somewhere in between, not dwelling too blissfully in their comfort zones, yet also not losing sleep over the problems that could arise – not because it won’t happen to them, but because if it does, they won’t be caught with their pants down.

   From what I have observed, the people who think the apocalypse is at hand are often the ones who never thought the good times would end. You see, that’s the problem with comfort zones and it’s why I’m always cautioning people to keep it real and avoid getting caught up in the myths of safety and security. The simple truth is that we live in a dangerous world and none of us are getting out of it alive.

   And no, that’s not being negative. It’s just a basic fact.

   If this seems hard to accept, consider that the threats to our lives have simply evolved over many thousands of years. Our earliest ancestors faced very different challenges, which they learned to conquer over time. Imagine being unable to get those comfy 8 hours of sleep in your beautiful bed, because you were actually sleeping in a dark cave with bugs crawling all over you and saber-toothed beasts waiting to catch you asleep so they could eat you alive.

   As if that wasn’t bad enough, early man had to find out the hard way which foods were edible and which could kill him. How many unfortunate souls had to die, before those lessons were learned? It’s not like they had a choice in the matter, because if there wasn’t anything else to eat, they would eventually have to take their chances with those questionable, plants.

   Note that back then, people often fought to the death over resources we consider basic today. Imagine not trusting your neighbor, because you saw him peeking through a window, while you were preparing dinner. In today’s world, it’s highly unlikely that he would kill you over that rotisserie chicken, but there was once a time when you could have been clubbed to death over such a thing.

   Now that we live in civilized societies, these types of problems are quite rare. For instance, unless you choose to live in the wilderness, you’re unlikely to be killed by a grizzly bear. In fact, you don’t even have to kill your food anymore, because you can find a huge selection of whatever you like at the grocery store.

   And guess what else… You don’t even have to walk there, because these things called “cars” will carry you there as you sit in a comfortable position, controlling both speed and direction with a couple of pedals and a steering wheel. So the car does all the work for you. All you have to do is carry those grocery bags from the driveway to the kitchen.

   Imagine that!

   It’s safe to say that as time has passed, we’ve largely eliminated many of the threats that once filled our ancestors with fear and dread. However, this doesn’t mean that there are no more threats to human life. You can STILL get hit by a car or blown up by a terrorist. While you probably won’t drown in a lake, it’s still possible to drown in a bathtub or swimming pool. You might not die in a forest fire, but you could burn to death in your home, if you’re not careful with that modern technology.

   And yes, you can STILL catch a deadly disease that can’t be seen with the naked eye!

   My point here is to remind my readers how dangerous it is to assume that just because we have all this great technology, that we’ve conquered all there is to conquer and we can now sit back and relax. We STILL have not conquered disease and it’s obvious by the way viruses mutate, that once we gain control over this virus, another will follow in just a few short years.

   Remember that if there’s ever a time when you’ll have to rely on your mental strength in modern times, it’s during a global pandemic.

Valuable Lessons for All

   Honestly, I think we’re all going to learn different lessons from this experience. Here are some of the ones that stand out to me:

   1. You can always be cleaner. I used to think germophobes were crazy, but now I understand where they’re coming from and thinking ahead is clearly at the heart of it.

   2. It’s not just about you. The choices you make also affect others, either directly or indirectly. Thinking ahead is also at the heart of that.

   3. Just when you think you’re prepared for everything, life will throw something at you that you’re NOT prepared for. Be prepared to act quickly.

   4. Don’t believe everything you hear. You’ll hear all sorts of contradictory information. Process it all and determine the safest course of action for you and your family. In short, think ahead for everyone in your care.

   Keep in mind that when it comes to that last point, you should know better than anyone what’s truly best for your family. NOT someone else’s family, but YOURS. Don’t wait to be told what precautions you should be taking. If you’re reading this right now, it means you have access to the Internet and there’s no reason you can’t research these matters for yourself.

   Don’t let anyone tell you you’re being paranoid by thinking ahead, either. I couldn’t care less if people think I’m overdoing it, even if I am proven wrong about a certain risk. Remember that if our ancestors hadn’t made use of that same critical survival instinct, none of us would be here to debate this topic today.

Mark Abbott

24 Comments

  1. This is an intriguing article regarding the ravaging pandemic, a lot of people who are feeling the impact of this pandemic are people that were really aren’t prepared against the rainy days unlike people who prepared for such situations.

    Its really important we plan ahead of what ever might come or in what ever we do. A good plan we know is a perquisite to a successful ending, so we must make sure to plan ahead  incase of unforeseen situations

    • Absolutely, my friend. Judging by the way some people are taking this, they were caught very much off guard. Thanks for stopping by!

      Mark

  2. Your article here is really a mood booster for me. Thank you very much for reminding that our current life is much better than early civilization. After thinking for a while, I can start to see more positive traits that we have. For example, technology. Imagine if this pandemic attack us twenty years ago, when internet is very scarce. Now we are able to work from home, and it’s something that we need to be thankful. Thank you

  3. You’ve touched on some really good points here. Our choices will always have a ripple effect, whether large or small. We won’t always know how they affect people, but it is good to be mindful of our actions.

    Foresight is a wonderful evolutionary trait we have, we would not have come so far as a species without it. There have certainly been many dangers in the past and humans have survived through them, and many more to come. This is a cause for us to be prudent in thinking ahead.

    • Absolutely, Johan. The fact that we have so many things to distract us nowadays has undoubtedly contributed to the problem, as well. Thanks for stopping by!

      Mark

  4. This post was a really good read. I do not think your comment about living “…in a dangerous and none of us are getting out of it alive..” isn’t negative, it is a profound fact.  There are small, medium, and big threats out there, for example, COVID-19.

    What will the world look like after this settles down? I have actually heard individuals say that they never plan to shake another hand and one was a Medical Doctor. Yes, there is a lot of false and true info circulating out there, you are absolutely right for reminding us that it is up to us to decide what is truly best.  

    With all of this information – how can we make sure that we are getting to something near the truth?

    • I think time will tell, especially when this is all looked back at, years down the road. The narrative tends to change when that occurs, especially as different generations look back upon the same moments in history, often discovering things that were either overlooked or unknowable at the time. There’s a saying that the truth is usually somewhere in the middle of the two extremes and that’s probably the best we can hope for, at least for the immediate future. Thanks for stopping by!

      Mark

  5. Great insight about how one should not be dormant about the current situations we are facing but to rather think ahead. Perhaps thinking ahead and have a backup solution in case something happens. Yep everybody loves the comfort zone but its not everyday that you will be enjoying it so for one to enjoy more of the comfort zone one has to think ahead. And for that thank you for sharing.

  6. I guess there is a reason why the boy scout’s motto is/was – Be prepared. At least I think it was. I left the scouts after a short stay. I wasn’t there long enough to get any badges and I only learned one knot so I could hardly claim to be expert on the topic. A number of jobs I have had either as a chief engineer or head of operations as is my current situation have involved major responsibilities for safety. Quite apart from all the safety training and learning and SOPs you have to go through, in my experience much comes down to looking at every situation and asking what can go wrong, and what else would happen to complicate that and what else on top of that could happen that would make it all worse and then assuming that all of those independent little disasters will happen at the same time to create one big mess.

    It felt a bit like that yesterday. I was on a conference call of the crisis management group at work discussing when we might be opening up our place of work again and then it got very windy and started raining heavily outside. Then we got hail stones raining down. Then all the phones started bleeping. My wife was watching cable TV in the other room and an emergency voice came on TV announcing a tornado warning and telling us all to take shelter.

    At least I am still here to tell the tale. 

    So yes – I agree – It does pay to be prepared

    Best regards

    Andy

    • Glad you got through the tornado mess, Andy. I have bad memories of those from my truck driving days. But yes, one definitely has to do all possible to prepare for the worst. You’ll probably never get it 100% right, but you’ll be better off than if you tried nothing and just waited for fate. Best wishes to you, my friend!

      Mark

  7. I agree with the writer we should be prepared and try to get information on problems.  We don’t have the same problems that our earlier ancestors had. Many of the problems that our earlier relatives had were solved by modern technology. I also think that no matter how far advanced our devices become life will still btest our mettle and character?

    • Absolutely! Modern tech absolutely did solve a lot of our earlier problems. Unfortunately, the flip-side of doing so is that people get too comfortable and soft, making it increasingly less likely that the average person will be able to handle those tests when life presents them. It’s a false sense of security that has people thinking situations like the present one we’re in could never happen to them. Then when it does, they’re woefully unprepared and heavily reliant on others to do their thinking for them, which is essentially the opposite of mental strength.

      Mark

  8. There is much value in “thinking” period. In fact, some statistics I recently reviewed showed that only one (1%) percent of the people in the world actually think, three (3%) think they think, and the remaining ninety-six (96%) avoid it to such an extent that they rather play catch with a hot iron. Being prepared as you mentioned it is important. It is not being paranoid or overly concerned, but merely being “aware”. Traveling through life not accepting things as they are is not a very wise decision. You gave several good tips here and I will bookmark your stuff and look forward to future articles. Thank you.

    • Yes, that is quite true! Glad you could appreciate where this post is coming from. Thanks for stopping by!

      Mark

  9. Yes we tend to put our guard down , like you so rightful put it, there is great need to think ahead. We can’t wait for when something happen to started to panic. Our mental strength is definitely what we have been using this period of our lives so thinking have to become a habit for sure. very well written article.

    • Thanks, Marcia! Glad you enjoyed reading it and thanks for stopping by!

      Mark

  10. Hello there! This is an amazing article you’ve got here, I enjoy enjoy every of your article I get to read. Thinking ahead has helped me a lot especially in the firm where I work now. I help the management strategize and analyse the the possible ways the business can succeed and also fail and always turns out that my predictions were right because I think ahead of the problem.

    • That’s great to hear, my friend. That’s exactly as it should be. In a sense, I’m not sure if being involved in business teaches you to think ahead or if it’s the ones who are good at thinking ahead that take an interest in business in the first place. Maybe that’s like the debate about whether the chicken came first or the egg, lol. Best wishes to you!

      Mark

  11. Hello there thanks for this helpful article. I really enjoyed reading it. Well it is such a pity that at this trying time the knowledge of men and science has failed us. But one thing this has really taught is maintaining the habit of cleaningess and proper hygiene. We really didn’t think ahead that’s why we’re caught up in this actually.

    • That is very true, my friend. It’s a shame that our hindsight is 20/20, yet we can’t say the same about our foresight. Just because we’ve made so many things easier and more convenient doesn’t mean we should develop a false sense of security, because the potential to miss something will always be there.

      Mark

  12. Really interesting and honest insight regarding our mindset right now. I completely agree with you…we need a balance regarding preparing for the future but at the same time being rational. I think we all get too confident sometimes, and think that just because it’s 2020, nothing will happen to us…but I guess we were wrong. Honestly, when this happens all over again in the future…I hope that we are more prepared to tackle a pandemic. 

    • Absolutely, Fernanda! No matter how advanced we become as a society, there’s always something to prepare for and always a weak point.

      Mark

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