In the online world of survival preparation, there are a number of camps you might fall into.  Some folks stock up on supplies in hopes of remaining self-sufficient for a time after the modern infrastructure collapses.  Others like to buy the latest in survival gear intended to make living off the land a bit more comfortable or convenient.  Some folks just stock up on ammunition, knowing that in the days that follow an apocalypse event, there’ll be plenty of folks intent on taking what you have… and you may find yourself needing what they have.  This short list of niches isn’t conclusive – and no matter what part of surviving the end of the world you might be interested in, there’s a corner of the internet full of websites and forums waiting to commiserate with you.

The truth of the matter is (and I know I’ll get some flak for saying so) a lot of so-called “preppers” or “survivalists” are nothing more than folks with a hobby, and would probably find themselves in real dire straits if ever an emergency were to arise.  The thing is, preparing for a wide-spread emergency requires more discomfort than your average prepper is willing to subject themselves to.  Being prepared isn’t just about having stuff, it’s about being physically and mentally capable of using it under duress.

U.S. Special Operations Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines aren’t the most formidable fighting force on the planet because of the weapons they use, for instance.  The M4 service rifles, Glocks, and Sigs aren’t some kind of advanced alien tech they use to overwhelm enemy contacts (though technology does certainly benefit all special operations missions).  It’s ultimately the training our elite war fighters undergo that makes them so formidable.  Drones, GPS satellites, and advanced optics be damned, I’d still put my money on a Navy SEAL over the best the Iranian Guard has to offer – and with good reason.

In Kris “Tanto” Paronto’s book, “The Ranger Way,” he discusses the arduous training he had to undergo (twice in some cases) in order to earn a coveted Ranger Tab and his place among the world’s elite war fighters.  While Rangers certainly spend plenty of time learning the ins and outs of the latest gadgets at their disposal, becoming a Ranger has much more to do with developing a sense of mental toughness.  Mental toughness, the Rangers know, requires first pushing your body to its physical limits, to the point where your body starts trying to issue orders of its own, like “stop!” or “just throw up and lay down!”  Mental toughness steps in at that point to instill discipline, to get your body back on track, and to keep you moving even when your body is sure it can’t anymore.