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Fear

Copyright June 1, 2015 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
All Rights Reserved.


Introduction

When a person first realizes that his or her life could change drastically as a result of an event over which he or she has no control, then that person becomes very concerned about the future survival of his or her family.

The purpose of this article is to consider the impact of fear on the decision making process of a person who is trying to improve the chances of his or her family's long-term survival.


Responses to Fear

Earthquake Damage Fear can motivate a person in either of the following two ways:
  1. Positive: If fear motivates you to use common sense to carefully evaluate your situation and to take reasonable steps to improve the chance of your family's long-term survival, then that fear has resulted in a positive change in your life.

  2. Negative: If fear causes you to make quick emotional decisions that are not beneficial to your family's long-term survival then that fear has had a negative impact on your life.
For example, let's assume you are afraid that a serious weather disaster could destroy the roads in your area and that it may take several weeks before more food can be delivered to your area. Even if your home received little or no damage it is possible that your family could starve to death while the roads are being repaired and all the debris is being removed from the roads so traffic can move safely over those roads. Now let's look at a common sense response and an emotional response to this fear:
  1. A Positive Common Sense Response: You invest in some canned foods and some dry foods, such as dry noodles, dry oatmeal, and white rice, and you store those foods in a closet in your bedroom. These foods will remain edible for several years if you don't need them immediately. And if you should need them then you will have some food in your home that you family could eat while your family waits for the food deliveries in your area to return to normal.

  2. A Negative Emotional Response: You invest in a huge food freezer and you fill your freezer with a lot of frozen foods. This is not a good plan because if there is a weather disaster then the electricity will probably be off for a long time, and all the food in your freezer that you are not able eat during the first day or two will begin to spoil and go bad.
This simple example illustrates that you should carefully consider how you respond to fear, and that you should use common sense to evaluate any strategy that you might be considering.


What Are You Afraid Of?

Exactly what is it that you are afraid of? Some examples might be:
  1. A solar flare that knocks out the utility network in your area, and the utility networks for a thousand miles in every direction from where you live.
  2. A nuclear explosion that results in radioactive fallout in your area, such as during a war, or a terrorist event, or an industrial accident at a power generation facility.
  3. An invasion by an enemy army.
  4. A collapse of the financial system and the closure of banks and financial institutions, and the chaos that will result.
  5. An economic collapse within your country that results in a massive loss of jobs, and places to live, and the corresponding increase in the number of homeless people who must steal to survive, and the emergence of a brutal government that is only interested in its own survival at the expense of the welfare of its citizens.
  6. A deadly experimental virus that is accidentally released from a government laboratory and that virus has an expected death rate in excess of 90% of the population.
If you have been visiting a variety of internet websites for a reasonable period of time, then you have probably seen all of the above events discussed in great detail, plus a lot of other events that aren't included in the above short list.

People have been discussing the possibility of the above events since before you were born. Some of the above events have actually happened in different places and at different times during the course of human history. And they will continue to happen in the future.

However, these events are not under our control. There is nothing a family can do to prevent one of these events from happening.

On the other hand, a family can realistically evaluate each of the above events and make a decision on whether of not that event has a high chance or a low chance of happening in their area in the near future.

If a specific event has a very high probability of happening where you live in the near future then you should make your plans based on how your family could best survive that event.

On the other hand, if most of the events have the same low chance of happening in the near future, then it would make more sense to create a generic survival plan for your family that would be appropriate for a variety of different hard time events. Your plan should include how you will provide food, water, shelter, and safety for your family. Your plan should also include where you will go if you are forced to evacuate you current residence and how you will get there.


Conclusion
A Quick Quiz on Fear

1. Do you currently have a job? ___Yes or ___No?
2. Do you maintain an acceptable standard of living using your income from that job? ___Yes or ___No?
3. Is there a good chance you will still have that job a year from now? ___Yes or ___No?
4. Are you and your family reasonably happy in the area where you live? ___Yes or ___No?
5. Are you relatively safe from religious extermination, racial persecution, criminal violence, military warfare, and natural disasters? ___Yes or ___No?

If you answered "yes" to all the above questions, then would it make good common sense for you to quit your job and move someplace else? ___Yes or ___No?

If you answered "no" to one or more of the above questions, then it would make good sense for you to carefully consider all your options for improving your current situation.

One of the worst decisions a person can make is to be emotionally motivated by fear and to quit their job and move somewhere else. Sometimes this works out well. But most of the time it results in a lower standard of living for the entire family, and that can lead to a divorce, and to additional financial hardships. In my opinion, this is not a desirable outcome and therefore it would be a negative consequence of responding to a fear based on emotions instead of using good common sense.



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