Prepared Book Summary - Prepared Book explained in key points
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Prepared summary

Mike Glover

A Manual for Surviving Worst-Case Scenarios

4.4 (160 ratings)
14 mins
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    Steady under pressure

    When it comes to being prepared for a crisis, what’s the most important thing you need access to? What one piece of equipment will you rely on, no matter where you are or what you face?

    Is it your car? Your home? Try again.

    It’s your brain. Keeping your mind clear and functioning well during an emergency can often determine whether your efforts to protect yourself, and your family, succeed or fail. So to become prepared, let’s start with the brain – so you can master stress and stay in control.

    Ever wonder why your heart races when you're scared? This is your sympathetic nervous system revving up for fight or flight. This half of the autonomic nervous system governs the body's response to acute stress. When a threat looms, it dumps adrenaline to mobilize energy reserves and ramp up physiological processes to maximum speed. Your pupils dilate, your lungs expand, and your blood pumps faster – prepping muscles for struggle or escape.

    Its counterpart, the parasympathetic nervous system, hits the brakes. Once danger passes, it calms your frenzied sympathetic response, slowing your heart rate and respiration until your body resets to normal.

    But excessive (or prolonged) stress can cause this balance between gas and brakes to falter. The sympathetic pedal gets floored, but the parasympathetic brake fails. Like an engine pushed to the redline, the system overloads. 

    What happens next? You freeze. Neither fighting nor fleeing, the mind shuts down even as the body remains tense. When you’re “in freeze” you can’t respond to a crisis. You can’t effectively protect yourself or those around you. Instead, you’re paralyzed, just when clear thinking and swift action are most needed.

    So how do you overcome the freeze? How do you become steady in a crisis? The freeze response is, in a sense, part of every person’s biology. But with training, you can shorten this paralytic panic, recovering faster. You do this through controlled exposure. You need to expose yourself to different levels and varieties of stressors. 

    This means getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Modern life cocoons us in comfort, keeping harsh realities at bay. But consistent exposure to manageable stressors can inoculate us against the debilitating effects of acute stress. It builds confidence that we can handle whatever life throws our way.

    Start small. Consider a weekend camping trip without the usual amenities – no stove, no pillow, no toiletries. Get used to roughing it a bit. Or you can try exercising in extreme temperatures. Go for a winter jog in shorts or use a sauna in summer. The acute discomfort will trigger your body's fight-or-flight response. (Be sure to clear all of this with your doctor first.)

    Once you start feeling anxious or uncomfortable, don't run from it – sit with the feeling. This feeling is what you will use to grow stronger. 

    To help yourself remain calm, you’ll use two simple techniques: breathing and self-talk. First, breathing. Take a deep inhale; pause, holding the breath in your lungs. Then take a long exhale, and pause with your lungs empty. Rinse and repeat. Then, begin speaking encouragingly to yourself. That’s right – out loud. Say, "I can handle this" or "I know what to do." It may seem silly, but it works. 

    Conscious breathing and positive self-talk will help you stay grounded when you’re feeling overwhelmed. By breathing purposefully and verbally affirming your capabilities, you can calm your nerves and regain focus. What feels intimidating now will feel achievable with practice. Remember: have courage … and believe in yourself.

    As you develop your ability to control your stress, you should also consider this: What kinds of skills will you require in a survival situation? Practice these, too, under a variety of adverse conditions.

    There’s an old saying, often quoted in the military: “We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.” When catastrophe strikes, the fine motor skills required to save lives – like calling 911 or applying a tourniquet – abandon the untested. But by developing a resilient mindset through challenging exposure, you help to ensure that you have the dexterity and clarity needed to take life-saving action in the darkest moments.

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    What is Prepared about?

    "Prepared" (2023) argues that true preparedness goes beyond stockpiling supplies and involves building resilient habits to increase stress tolerance, situational awareness, and the ability to respond effectively during crises.It offers practical advice on overcoming disaster and emergency.

    Who should read Prepared?

    • Those interested in learning survival skills 
    • Parents who wish to protect their family in case of emergencies
    • Anyone who wants to be truly prepared for accidents, disasters, grid failures, and more

    About the Author

    Mike Glover is a former Green Beret with 20 years of experience in the US Army and Special Forces. He has worked in a security role as a contractor for the CIA, providing protection for government officials in high-risk environments. He is also the founder and CEO of Fieldcraft Survival.

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