SHTF: Balancing Risk vs. Reward

risk vs. reward

In any SHTF scenario, odds will most likely not be in your favor.  Even if you are a good prepper, you have to anticipate that there will be several factors working against you: physical and emotional stress, lack of resources, lack of time, panic/disorganization, etc.  If you are not calm, collected and think things through, you are surely to make some poor and life threatening decisions.

Whether you agree with me or not, Bear Grylls is an individual who represents incredibly poor risk vs. reward.  But of course, he is trying to satisfy Discovery channel and the viewers.  Whenever I watch an episode, Bear is jumping over canyons, drinking his own urine, or God knows what else.  I think Les Stroud says it best about Bear:

“All these other shows are created by TV producers. Anything they can do to get higher ratings, be under budget, get it done fast—that’s what they do. It detracts from what it really takes to survive in the wilderness. Many of the things Bear Grylls and other guys do is completely bogus. Wrong skills. Dangerous skills.”

And this short 2 minute clip is one of the most satisfying pieces of evidence of why Bear is a (for lack of a better term) dumbass:

It’s a personal decision…

Every decision carries with it a certain amount of risk.  Whether you take that risk is dependent on a multitude of factors.

Take this for example:  Conibear / Body grip traps are kill traps that harness an incredible amount of energy.  Without the right training and confidence, you can accidentally trip the trap on your hand.  Even with the right training, accidents happen.  I’ve personally caught my thumb in a small 110 trap, and although it was broken, it was hardly pleasant.  Depending on the size (e.g. – size 220 or up) you could smash every bone in your hand.

Risk – Without medical facilities, your injured hand will be destroyed and completely useless.  This will most likely lead to your death as you can no longer perform any other survival tasks.
Reward – If you are proficient in setting these traps, you can have a dozen or more set and multiple your odds of food acquisition.

Here’s some principle guidance you should consider when making a risky decision:

If time permits, always take a breath and think through the situation.

  • Are you in the right frame of mind to make a critical decision?  If you are panicked, emotionally distraught, etc., it can lead to poor decision making.  It may be best to let someone else make the decision or take some time off to let your head cool.
  • Have you clearly analyzed the risk vs. reward and are the possible negative consequences worth it?
  • Have you thought through all other possible options?
  • Do you have the right training and confidence?  This is especially relevant with the conibear example above.
  • If you have team members, should you consult their feedback?
  • Should someone else be making the choice?

Your mind is an important tool.  Sharpen it!

  • Problem Solver

    If you look at almost every primitive society, you will see that survival is a group effort. In many of these societies banishment is the ultimate penalty because one does not survive on their own in the long run. So many of these shows make a point of a individual or a small group of healthy adults surviving. There is a big difference in short term survival and long term survival. In some ways one can thing of the training of a navy seal compared to the training of a peace corp agricultural specialist. One is geared to survivial and betterment of a individual or unit. The other is geared to the survival and betterment of a complete community.