Preparedness (The True Meaning of Preparedness)

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In a world marked by uncertainty and unforeseen challenges, the concept of preparedness often conjures images of stockpiled goods and doomsday preppers. However, true preparedness is a multifaceted and evolving journey that goes well beyond these stereotypes. It’s about more than just survival; it’s about living our best possible lives, regardless of the circumstances we face.

To shed light on this broader perspective, we delve into the PREPAREDNESS acronym, a guide that encompasses a range of essential qualities. Each letter represents a trait that empowers us to navigate life’s twists and turns with resilience, adaptability, and compassion. From being present in the moment to mastering the art of self-reliance, we’ll explore how these traits combine to create a comprehensive and empowering approach to preparedness.

Join me on this transformative journey as I redefine what it means to be truly prepared for life’s challenges.

The Definition of Preparedness

Yes, the definition of preparedness is “All the efforts taken to survive, minimize unwanted struggle, and live your best possible life.” We know that. I’ve talked about that several times.

The definition of preparedness is the basis of the Goals of Preparedness:

  1. Survival: Avoiding massive trauma and maintaining homeostasis.
  2. Minimize Unwanted Struggle: Wanted struggle is excellent, but unwanted struggle of illness, financial hardship, family problems, etc., is something the human condition prompts us to avoid.
  3. Living your best possible life: We should all aim for this goal. After all, what’s the point of surviving and minimizing unwanted struggle if it’s not to live your best possible life? This is the goal many who focus on preparedness get wrong.

What People Get Wrong About Preparedness

What people (most people) get wrong when they think about emergency preparedness is the why and how of preparedness. Most people focus on the first goal of preparedness and stop there. They focus on survival. And yes, as you will all read in my book, Mind4Survival, if you don’t survive, there’s no opportunity to get to the living your best possible life part of living.

So yes, there is a need to prepare for that. And once you’re stocked up on enough food, water, toilet paper, diapers, security, and so forth to keep you and your family safe, you’re set for survival. Sure, you can add and do more. However, it doesn’t need to dominate your life at the expense of living. As I’ve said before, don’t let your worry of tomorrow destroy your today.

Yes, you should have a vehicle safety kit that you check every once in a while. Yes, CPR, first aid, and Stop the Bleed training are all excellent courses everyone should attend. Sure, knowing how to defend yourself and preparing for when an emergency occurs is fantastic. Basically, we should all be our own first responders. And all that is just the base level of preparedness, what is typically referred to as disaster preparedness, but which only scratches the surface of what preparedness truly means.  Yes, prepping for manmade and natural disasters is only part of being prepared.

I believe if people only focus on that, they’re missing so much more opportunity to live their best possible life. I think of it like someone who repeats the first grade repeatedly. There’s only so much you can get out of it before it’s time to move on and improve yourself past the basics.

What is Preparedness

Preparedness is so much more than bandaids, beans, and bunkers. Preparedness is how you set yourself up to succeed at the third and ultimate goal of preparedness—to live your best possible life. So, with that, I will break down what actual readiness is—the true preparedness that happens outside of the traditional view of prepping.

To begin, the PREPAREDNESS that I’m talking about, and that I will be referring to moving forward, is a combination of many traits that help us to live our best possible lives. Those traits, which I’ll explain in more detail shortly, are Present, Resourceful, Engaged, Proactive, Adaptable, Resilient, Effective, Determined, Nurturing, Empathetic, Strategic, and Self-Reliant. Now, let’s talk about it.

Be Present Every Day written on wood


In times of uncertainty, it’s crucial to be fully engaged in the present moment. This means not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future but instead focusing on what’s happening in the here and now. Being present allows you to make better decisions, respond effectively to immediate challenges, and appreciate the small joys in life that often go unnoticed.


When faced with unexpected challenges, resourcefulness becomes your greatest ally. It’s about using the knowledge and resources at your disposal to find creative solutions. Resourcefulness means thinking outside the box, repurposing what’s available, and making the most of limited resources. In the end, it’s not just about having an emergency kit, and evacuation plans. It’s a mindset that empowers you to overcome obstacles and turn setbacks into opportunities.


Being engaged means actively participating in your life and the tasks you undertake. It’s about giving your full attention and energy to whatever you’re doing, whether it’s a simple daily chore or a complex project. Engaged individuals are more productive and fulfilled because they make the most of each moment, seeking meaning and enjoyment in their actions. This approach not only boosts personal effectiveness but also strengthens relationships and connections with others.


Being proactive is the art of staying one step ahead. It’s not just how we prepare for emergencies. It involves remaining vigilant and forward-thinking, anticipating potential challenges and opportunities, and taking measures to make sure we do our best with each. By being proactive, you can avoid crises and prepare yourself for various situations. It’s about taking control of your destiny and not simply reacting to circumstances as they arise.


Lettered Blocks Spelling the Word Adaptable

Life is ever-changing, and adaptability is your ability to roll with the punches. It’s the capacity to adjust and thrive in the face of new circumstances, challenges, or opportunities. An adaptable person can pivot when needed, embrace change, and continue moving forward. Being adaptable means being open to learning, flexible in your approach, and resilient in the face of adversity.


Resilience is the inner strength that enables you to bounce back from adversity. It’s about persisting through difficult situations, learning from setbacks, and emerging stronger than before. Resilient individuals, whether young people or older adults, view challenges as opportunities for growth and remain optimistic in the face of adversity. Resilience empowers you to weather life’s storms and keep moving forward.


Effectiveness is all about achieving your goals efficiently. It means producing the desired results with the least amount of wasted effort. Effective people have a clear sense of purpose and prioritize tasks that align with their objectives. They are skilled at time management, decision-making, and problem-solving, making them highly capable of turning their intentions into reality.


Determination is the unwavering resolve to achieve your goals, even when faced with obstacles. It’s the refusal to give up, no matter how tough the going gets. Determined individuals possess a strong sense of purpose and are willing to put in the effort and perseverance required to succeed. This unwavering determination is often the driving force behind overcoming challenges and becoming greater than we often think possible.


Nurturing is the act of caring for oneself and others. It’s about fostering physical, emotional, and mental well-being. By nurturing yourself, you ensure that you’re in the best possible shape to face life’s demands. Nurturing others involves showing kindness, empathy, and support, creating a network of trust and mutual assistance. It’s a practice that builds resilience and strengthens relationships.


Yes, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. And yes, empathy is a fundamental quality for building meaningful connections with people and fostering cooperation. However, empathy is so much more than that. Empathy is your opportunity to cast aside judgment and work to understand why others think, feel, and behave the way they do.

By understanding other people’s why, we better position ourselves to refine our why. The fact is, none one is always right, and it’s by actively compassionately listening to others and using critical thinking to help ourselves refine our understanding and beliefs so that they more closely align with reality—an objective reality that is devoid of as much bias, BS, and incorrect thinking as possible. It’s by employing empathy that we best position ourselves to positively interact with our loved ones, the whole community, and others we will encounter throughout life, both in good times and bad.


Strategic thinking is the art of planning ahead and making informed decisions. It involves considering the long-term consequences of your actions and aligning them with your goals. Strategic individuals have a clear vision and use their knowledge and resources wisely to navigate complex situations. It’s a proactive approach that enables you to make well-thought-out choices and adapt to changing circumstances.

Being strategic includes prepping you and your family members to grasp opportunities, as well as prepare for difficulties through the use of a family disaster plan, evacuation plans, etc.


Man sitting on mountain overlooking a lake

Self-reliance is the ability to be self-sufficient and independent. It means having the mindset and ability (knowledge, skills, and resources) to meet your needs and overcome challenges on your own. While collaboration is essential, self-reliance empowers you to take charge of your life and be a resource for others when needed. It’s the foundational destination of preparedness.

The Bottom Line on Preparedness

The journey of preparedness extends far beyond stockpiling supplies, doomsday scenarios, and the traditional emergency preparedness of natural disasters. It encompasses a rich tapestry of traits encapsulated in the PREPAREDNESS acronym, each guiding us toward a more resilient and fulfilling life. Preparedness encourages us to be fully present, resourceful, engaged, proactive, adaptable, and resilient. It empowers us to be effective, determined, nurturing, empathetic, strategic, and self-reliant.

As we strive to embody these qualities, we unlock the true potential of preparedness — not just survival but the pursuit of our best possible lives. So, let us embrace this holistic approach, continuously evolve, and move forward with unwavering determination and compassion for ourselves and others as we navigate the unpredictable journey of life.

What are your thoughts on preparedness, the PREPAREDNESS acronym, and my take? Tell me in the comments below.

Additional Resources

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Preparedness (The True Meaning of Preparedness)


  1. Kay Hopkins on October 7, 2023 at 2:21 pm

    Thank you, Brian. This is great.

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