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December 19, 2012

Where Do We Go From Here? [Warden]

Do you feel like you’re living in a nightmare right now?

Most of us thought that all we had to do was get to the beginning of the New Year and we’d finally see the end of the most treacherous and destructive presidency of our lifetimes.

And yet here we are in this unthinkable place, wondering how in the hell we got here—how our friends and neighbors could betray us this way … how such a fiercely proud, prosperous and inherently decent nation could become so mean, petty and small.

I am not here to analyze this past election. I admit I don’t have the answers. I don’t relate to or understand an electorate that willingly loots from its fellow countrymen and, when that isn’t enough to satisfy its insatiably greed and snotty, self-righteous entitlement, smashes open the piggy banks of future generations and helps itself to the spoils.

Here’s what I do know: Economic calamity is inevitable. This past election was our last dim hope of avoiding it. We failed. The moment has slipped our grasp and with it the die is cast.

I don’t know how these next few years will unfold. One thing I am certain of: they will test our individual character greatly.

Are you scared yet? Don’t be. Many of us will arrive on the other side of this mess happier and more spiritually content than we’d ever imagined. Because this moment is an opportunity for those who see it in the correct light.

Here’s something I want you to internalize: All that anger, turmoil and hopelessness you’re experiencing comes from a feeling of helplessness.

But that’s all it is—a feeling. You’re not helpless at all. You only think you are.

Here’s how I know:


Winners win.

At the heart of every conservative’s worldview is this simple truth. You—not your lucky rabbit’s foot, not some cosmic lottery, not your circumstances, your parents, your race, gender, or disability—YOU determine the life you live.

Belief in self-determination is at the very foundation of our ideology. It is why conservatives champion liberty and personal responsibility while rejecting collective guilt, class envy, tribalism and victim-hood. It’s what defines us. It’s what we believe and it’s who we are.

And so I say to you, so what if we lost this election? Fuck your poor-me-ism and fuck mine too.

Winners win. Losers lose.

And you’re a winner.

Got it?

Good. Now here’s the action plan. Feel free to add to it in the comments:

Be better than them

Remember this saying? Living well is the best revenge.

Well, it’s got nothing to do with accumulating a bunch of wealth so you can show it off to your enemies and make them jealous.

Quite the opposite. Living well means living a happy, contented life filled with love, laughter and meaning.

Look at these clowns on the other side. They won. Conservatives are demoralized. The GOP is splintering. Socialized health care is now the law of the land.

They’re getting almost everything they’ve ever wanted, yet they’re as angry, dishonest and hateful as ever.

Did they really beat us?

No.

Not where it counts.

They’re empty inside.

They’re not winners. Winners learn, love and grow. Winners have strong work ethics, faithful marriages and unshakeable values. Winners don’t blame others for their failings, they work to overcome them. Winners believe in something greater than a man in the Oval Office.

Remember this: No matter what happens in D.C., no one can make you stop loving your kids. No one can prevent you from being a great mom, a wonderful spouse, or a loyal friend. These things are yours. You own your life. They do not. No matter what lies they tell about you, they can’t diminish who you are.

We all know who Barack Obama is and what he represents. He’s hateful, divisive, and duplicitous. He wants to harm us, to destroy our culture, our prosperity and our national pride.

He may even succeed. Remember, this is what the country voted for. You can’t save people from themselves.

What you can do is start cleaning up your own corner of the world. Love more openly and honestly than you ever have before. Forge deeper and more meaningful relationships with your friends and family. Smile, laugh, and enjoy the day.

Life is precious. You’re not here for long. Every moment you waste reacting impotently to that jackass and his enablers simply magnifies his destructiveness.

Reclaim your God-given influence and reach. Politics is not the only agent of change in this world.

Focus on self-improvement

How many hours are you wasting feeding your anger and frustration? I’ve got news for you—negativity is addictive and habitual. You know how I know? Try going an entire day without complaining or saying anything negative. You’ll be amazed at how many times you catch yourself.

Consuming things that you know will upset you doesn’t help. Log off Facebook and get away from all that trivial bullshit. Shut off the shouty cable political talk shows. Stop arguing on blogs with people who don’t get it. You’re letting a bunch of losers drag you down to their level.

That includes this place. As soon as it stops being fun, take a break.

You have more hours in the day than you think. You just need to break your negative feedback loop and re-focus.

Set some goals. Go do something new and different—maybe something that scares you a little. Work on that advanced degree you always wanted, go rock climbing with your girlfriend, join a book club, take a wood working course.

Challenge yourself and get better at something. You’ll be far happier than if you spent those hours shouting at your laptop monitor.

Get in shape

I’m not one of those Joe Fitness types that hassles everyone who doesn’t live to work out. I am in pretty good shape for my age, though, and I can say this about exercising—few things consistently advance my well-being the way working out regularly does.

I’m happier, more mentally sharp and just plain old feel better when I exercise. I’m prone to depression, especially in the winter. Working out is my primary defense against it.

Not only will exercising regularly make you feel and look better, it’ll save you money. Health care is only going to get more expensive, so you may as well get ahead of the game now.

I’ve learned through experience that you’ll never stick with a program that you don’t enjoy, so avoid setting unrealistic expectations and find something that you look forward to doing. If it gets stale, switch it up. Your body will respond better to different routines anyway. If you have trouble self-motivating, find a partner or trainer who will hold you accountable.

I prefer high intensity workouts because they save time, but you don’t have to kill yourself to get results. Just get in the gym a few times a week, break a sweat and make yourself at least a little uncomfortable. Check out your local YMCA for programs. There are tons of free classes if you’re a member.

Personally, I like doing things that are outside the box. I’ve done Crossfit, Krav Maga, boxing, you name it. Recently I started training Mixed Martial Arts. It’s hard as hell and it beats me up a little, but I love it and look forward to every class.

Outperform

We may not be able to beat the left at the polls, but we can beat ‘em all day long at life.

You have one big advantage over the Free Shit Army—you know it’s about to hit the fan.

Layoffs are coming to a lot of companies so start preparing the groundwork now to ensure that it’s the Obama voters, not you who suffer the consequences.

Tighten up your game at work. Make sure you’re demonstrating value to the people above you. Work your network and have a backup plan for losing your job. Know your friends and your enemies. People can get ugly when their livelihoods are on the line.

And be pleasant. It’s more important than you think. The dirty secret of any business where employment performance can’t be directly tied to the bottom line is this—people would rather work with someone who’s barely competent, but friendly and pleasant than a super achiever who is grumpy and makes their day difficult.

It’s simple human nature: People want to collect their paychecks with as little hassle as possible. They want their day to be nice. The company’s bottom line is a secondary concern if it’s even a concern at all.

This goes double for most managers. In any sizable company, your typical midlevel manager is just protecting his perks and hoping no one finds out what a fraud he is.

Improving profitability? Ha! What’s in it for him?

That’s why simply being seen as someone who makes everyone’s day brighter (or at least not worse) can often be the difference between keeping your job and being laid off.

I saw this first hand during the last round of layoffs at my own company when my boss got rid of a perfectly capable guy who had a “bad attitude” and kept a worthless piece of crap who had a friendlier demeanor.

Is it fair? No. But that’s life. Adjust accordingly. Don’t be a grumpypants at work because Barack Obama told another lie today. You’re only hurting yourself.

Oh, and if you have any say at all over who stays and who goes, make sure it’s the people who got us into this mess that go. I know I will.

Prepare

I hope to cover this more extensively in another post, but I want to go over a few basics here.

Here’s the deal: If you’re here on this blog you probably get it. Accept right now that you’ll always be in the minority in this regard. Most people don’t get it and never will.

But the fact is there’s a difference between “getting it” and preparing yourself adequately for a crisis.

Do I think we’re going to end up in a Mad Max scenario? No. And honestly, if it gets to that point, you’re pretty much screwed no matter what.

But what you can do is start thinking about what life might be like in a country like, say, Mexico and start preparing for that.

Because when the country goes bankrupt, predictable things follow: inflation, civil unrest, shortages, sporadic interruptions in power service, degrading roads, increase in government corruption, increase in violent crime, higher unemployment, etc…

So at a minimum you want to prepare for these things. Here’s a short checklist of must-haves. Again, I encourage people to add to this list in the comments.

• Store a week’s worth of drinking water for your family and own a high quality filter (I have a Berkey system) for longer term needs. Think ˝ gallon per person per day for storage. A 55 gallon storage barrel will run you 55 dollars. That’s the best, most affordable insurance policy you’ll ever buy.

• Have a month’s worth of food on hand for each family member. You can achieve this by stockpiling canned and dry goods or you can go freeze dried. I have both.

My freeze dried is from Chef’s Banquet. It’s the cheapest calorie per dollar food I could find.

For canned and dry goods, I recommend using the Sterilite 4 shelf unit as a pantry. Use ace’s amazon search box to find it.

• Own a firearm for self-defense and get comfortable with handling, cleaning and shooting it. Mine is a Springfield XD 9mm semi-automatic pistol with a 16+1 round magazine. I keep it in a handgun safe by my bed with one magazine pre-loaded with hollow point bullets for home defense. Get something now before they ban high capacity magazines like the ones I have.

I also recommend having a good quality serrated edged folding knife that you can carry with you in public for self-defense. If you want to go the concealed carry route instead, make sure you get training and consult with your trainer and/or the Moron Horde before buying your firearm. There are a lot of important things to consider.

• Learn some self-defense. The union thuggery is going to get worse. So will crime. Don’t be a victim. Learn some basic standup (boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai) and some ground work (wrestling, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu). Krav Maga is also a good practical self-defense system developed in Israel and taught here in the U.S.

You don’t have to be hardcore. Just learn some basics to the point where you could react effectively to a threat without hesitation.

• Learn a trade, preferably one where you can get paid on a cash basis. No matter how bad the economy, people still need welders, electricians and carpenters. Teach your kids, too. It might help them put food on the table someday.

As for me, I’m a giant hypocrite on this one. I’m not mechanically inclined at all. I’ve been making additional money writing for the last ten years, but that’s not a skill that anyone will be demanding in an economic crash.

• Buy precious metals and other things you can trade if we end up suffering from hyperinflation. If gold is too expensive, you can always stock up on silver. Buy physical and keep it hidden at home NOT in a bank. If the shit hits the fan, they’ll confiscate it.

If you don’t want to go that way, stock up on some top shelf booze. It’ll keep forever and you can trade it in case of inflation. If not, you can always throw one hell of a party.

Other things that can be value in times of crisis: Lighters, firearms, ammunition, medical supplies, prescription drugs.

• Have emergency medical kits at home and in all your vehicles. If you want to be extra prepared in your car, look into buying or making a basic survival pack that includes things like blankets, water, matches, a Swiss army knife, flashlights/headlamps, toilet paper, alcohol wipes, etc… Hide some money somewhere in your car, too. It might come in handy someday.

• Have an alternative means of cooking your food and a way to keep warm if your power goes out for an extended period.

• Be adequately supplied with alternative lighting. I have a hand crank lantern (one minute of cranking gets you an hour of light), a handful of solar powered lights, flashlights, headlamps (for when I need my hands free), and candles.

• Get a couple of 5 gallon gas cans so you can stock up a bit during shortages or prior to hurricane or tornado warnings.

• Buy a large plastic storage tub and fill it with all the things you wouldn’t want to go without if you were stuck holed up in your house for a month—mine has things like bleach, toilet paper, alcohol wipes, soap and personal hygiene products, a spare can opener, matches, lighters, batteries, etc…

It’s hard to do all of this at once on a budget, but you can accomplish it over time. The most important thing is water, which won’t cost you much at all, followed by food.

If you have a family to protect, I would encourage you to consider diverting some of your retirement contributions to this project until you’ve achieved a comfortable state of readiness. If you ever get in a jam, you’ll be much happier you spent $250 on a good water filter instead of putting it into your IRA that month.

You may get some resistance from your spouse if you’re married. I did. And I just went right ahead and made my purchases anyway, telling my wife, “I’m doing this. There’s no stopping me. I’m doing it because I love you and the boys and it’s my job to protect you. I hope that thirty years from now we can laugh about what a paranoid crank I was.”

I am by no means a survivalist, but I think taking a few prudent steps as insurance against disaster is the responsible thing to do. My advice is to prepare for the most likely scenarios and let God worry about the end of the world. You can’t prepare for everything.

Small things add up

With the country seemingly spinning out of control, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything that’s wrong.

My father used to have a note on his refrigerator that said, “Dear Mr. Warden, I don’t need your help today. Thanks, God.”

I think about that note a lot these days. At a certain point you have to just accept that some things are outside your control and be okay with that.

Whenever I find myself getting frustrated and angry at things I’m powerless to change, I say to myself, “Forget it. What one thing can you do right now to make your life or your family’s life better?”

Then I go do that.

You know what? It works most of the time. It calms and refocuses me. It helps me regain control and I get things done.

Times are going to get harder for most of us, but remember this—it probably won’t get as bad as it was for most people throughout history. We may have hit our peak, but we’re still incredibly lucky to be living in this time and age.

Start every day with an attitude of gratitude. None of us knows how much more time we have here. Live and love with all your heart. Be the kind of person your parents and children can be proud of. There are no do overs.

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posted by Open Blogger at 07:46 PM

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