Tag Archives: Life skills

Selecting Your Post-Apocalpytic Survival Crew

20 Nov

In business they say it’s not what you know but who you know that counts. Come the apocalyptic collapse of society as we know it (whether crushed under the shambling feet of the walking dead, devastation  wrought by nuclear terrorism or decimation of most of the population by a bio-engineered virus), it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to survive on your own, not for long at any rate. However, if you’re not careful, you may find that being part of a group is even worse. This is because if you don’t pick the people you’re planning on riding out the apocalypse with carefully, they’ll drag you down and your chance of survival get dragged down with you. Pick the right ones, though, and life will be easy (well maybe not easy, but at least you’ll have a reasonable chance of surviving). So who should be on your post-apocalyptic survival crew?

There’s three key issues here. The first is skills. You’re going to want people around you that know how to do things. Practical, old-fashioned things, like being able to fix an engine rather than modern, new fangled things like being able to complete angry birds in one session on the latest incarnation of the iPad. However, it’s important that the skills different members have are diverse and complimentary.  Having ten mechanics in a group is all fine and well, but what happens when you need someone to hunt, kill and clean a deer for supper? Yet, you also need some overlap between different people’s skill sets.  If you’re medic gets eaten by radio-active mutants, you’ll need to be able to divide his duties up between the remaining members. So what sort of skills should you have in your group?  I’d say at a minimum you’d need a mechanic, a navigator (one that can read a map and not just a GPS receiver!), a medic of some kind (since there’s going to inevitably be injuries), a weapons expert, a strategist (to work on your long-term plans), a driver, a hunter and a scrounger (you know one of those people who can always find you something that will do the job). While on the subject of skills, if you can’t work out what useful skills you’d bring to a group, you may find that no one else wants you on their team. In this case, I suggest you start learning how to do some useful, and fast.

So what about intelligence?  In general, you’ll find that a group made of intelligent people will do better than one filled with, to use an old Scottish term, dunderheeds. However, here intelligence isn’t about knowing useless facts, it’s about practical application of ideas and thinking outside the box, so don’t get the two confused. You may think that the members of that team who always win your local pub quiz are super-smart, but all their carefully remembered facts won’t help them work out how to escape from the killer zombies. Instead, go for the couple who sit in the corner keeping themselves to themselves while playing each other chess and backgammon at the same time. They’re going to be the type of people who can think two steps ahead and work out a plan to get you safely out of the city.

Now onto personality. This is critical. Someone can always learn a new skill, but few can change their personality. This is because personality is something that is pretty much set by the time you reach your twenties. Why is personality so important? I’ve spent a lot of time working in remote locations as part of small teams of people, and time and again, I’ve seen groups fall apart because of what would seem like minor clashes of personality in normal life. Sometimes it’s just that one person just rubs everyone else up the wrong way, causing friction either by accident or design. The apocalypse may be forever, and even if it’s not, it’s very likely that you’re going to be stuck with these people for a very long time. That guy down the road might be a great mechanic, but eventually his braying laugh and the constant double innuendos are going to drive you to the point where you start looking at death by zombie as a viable alternative to spending another second in his company. Yet, this is by far the most minor type of personality clashes you can encounter. Worse is when you end up stuck with someone who just sees the world differently that you.  They might be all gung-ho and let’s get ‘em, while you’re more of the sit tight, stay safe and avoid all conflict with the undead unless you can’t avoid it. Sooner or later will cause problems, and most likely at a critical moment and you’ll al end up dead because you can’t agree on what you should be doing next. Then you get to those with borderline personality disorders.  It’s important that you realise before it’s too late that you’ve included a closet sociopath in your group.  They’ll manipulate, they’ll undermine, they’ll kill you if they don’t get their own way, and they’re surprisingly more common in society that you might think (about 1% of the general population, but rising close to double digits in professions like banker, business and politics). These people are best avoided at all costs (both in the event of the apocalypse and in your everyday life). One of the best life skills you can learn is how to spot when people like this enter your life so you can kick them out before it’s too late.

From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in the UK. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more.


Preparing For Life A Post-Apocalyptic World

13 Nov

So you’re worried the world’s coming to an end. The Mayan calendar is quickly running out and everywhere you go people seem to be talking about Zombies. Even Brad Pitt’s getting in on the action with his upcoming film World War Z. But what can you do about it?  You could just sit there and panic, waiting for the next plague to sweep around the planet, but that’s not where the smart money is. You could try ignoring the signs and carry on as usual, but you’ll probably be one of the first to fall when the dead rise. Instead, why not try to prepare yourself a little. That way you’ll be ready when it happens, and even if it doesn’t, you’ll at least have picked up a few useful life skills. Here’s my top five things you can do to prepare yourself for when the apocalypse comes (and that will still prove be useful even if it doesn’t).

1. Do A Wilderness Survival Course: You don’t have to become the next Ray Mears, but it’ll at least mean you won’t starve when you have to flee the city and your supplies of canned food run out.  It also wouldn’t do any harm to know how to build shelters and set traps. Post-Apocalyptic Survival Rating: Essential. Real Life Benefits: Just knowing that you could survive if you suddenly found yourself in the middle of nowhere without all the comforts of the modern world is incredibly empowering and will boost your confidence in your everyday life.

2. Learn First Aid: When the apocalypse happens, the medical system will be one of the first things to fall. There will be no more 999 services, no more ambulances and no more casualty rooms. You’ll be on your own health-wise and you need to be able to cope.  I’m not talking about amputating limbs here (although if you can do it fast enough to stop that zombie bite on your leg spreading to the rest of your body this might be a good thing to know), just enough to be able to deal with the inevitable cuts, bruises and broken bones that will be part of your everyday struggle to survive. After all, what’s the point of escaping from those radioactive plague victims if you just end up dying of blood poisoning because you let a wound get infected. Post-Apocalyptic Survival Rating: Essential. Real Life Benefits: First aid is always a good skill to have, and who knows you might one day save someone’s life.

3. Learn Car Mechanics: Imagine the situation. There you are, trying to escape from the horde of Zombies that are heading your way but no matter how hard to try, your car won’t start.  You’ve only got a few minutes before they’ll be on your.  What do you do? Nowadays too many of us rely on phoning the AA (or AAA if you’re in America) when our cars break down and we no longer know how to fix them. Some people don’t even know how to change a burst tyre. Come the apocalypse, if you don’t know how to maintain and fix a car, you’ll be screwed. The solution, start learning now. Find out where the battery is on your car, how to change a fan-belt, how to fix the alternator, how to siphon fuel from one vehicle to another, how to strip an abandoned vehicle for spare parts. None of this is exactly rocket science and with a bit of practice these are things anyone could do. While you’re at it, it wouldn’t do any harm to know how to fix a generator too. Post-Apocalyptic Survival Rating: Essential. Real Life Benefits: It’s cheaper to fix you car yourself than pay someone else to do it, so you might end up saving yourself some money.

4. Take Up Parkour (Also Know As Free-Running): If you have to escape in an urban environment, what better skill can you have than parkour?  You’ll have seen people doing this on TV and in You Tube videos.  You may even have seen people doing it in real life, leaping from building to building, or from one stairwell to the next. Now’s the time to learn it for yourself.  It will allow you to move through the city in a way that others cannot, and this will dramatically improve your chances of surviving as you try to get out. Post-Apocalyptic Survival Rating: Beneficial. Real Life Benefits: It’ll help you keep fit and healthy, and let’s face it, it looks really cool.

5. Get Some Weapons Training: In the movies, it seems that anyone can pick up a gun and start pulling off perfect headshots, or grab a sword and instantly develop the skills of a samurai.  Reality is very different.  If you’re not trained to use a weapon, the chances are you’ll do more damage to yourself and your fellow survivors than to any attacking infected. I know this having once watched my sister just about blow the head off the guy who was firing clay pigeons for us because she got confused between whether the safety catch was off or on (he was ok, but rather shaken by the incident!). For this reason, I’d always advise anyone who doesn’t already know how to use a gun to stay well clear of them, even when facing the fall of civilisation as we know it. But, hang on, your survival chances would undoubtedly be better if you had guns, so what can you do about it? Get trained now. And don’t just learn to shoot. Learn how to clean a gun, how to maintain it, how to clear a jammed bullet and so on. Also remember guns might not always be available so learn other weapon skills too. Learn how to start a chain-saw, study Iaido (the Japanese art of drawing a sword and striking in a single fluid movement), take up a martial art, give archery a go, try firing a crossbow, anything that might help you survive. Post-Apocalyptic Survival Rating: Essential. Real Life Benefits: If you insist on being around weapons, it’s always safer if you actually know how to use them.

Remember these are just the bare essentials. There are many other skills out there that will increase your chances of survival, all of which you can start nurturing now. So step away from the keyboard, put down that Playstation controller, switch off the TV, and go out and learn something new. Even if the apocalypse never comes, your life will be better for it.

From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in the UK. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more.