The Entitlement Problem: Don’t Let Your Self Reliance Become a Liability

Let me set the scene.

A major storm hits where you live. Power is down. Roads are flooded. Bridges are out. Evacuation is difficult, if not dangerous.

You knew the storm was coming. You already had your supplies laid in—you’re committed to being a self-reliant citizen. But you bought some extra food and medical supplies against the storm, and you encouraged your neighbors to do the same.

They didn’t.

The first knock on your door is from the family one house over. They have kids and you feel for them. You give them some food to help them get through.

Then there’s another knock. Your neighbor across the street. He takes care of his mother whose health isn’t so good. You help him out, too.

You’re inside, talking with your family about how to stretch your supplies, when you should consider trying to evacuate, and what you can do in the meantime to improve the situation in your neighborhood. You hear a commotion outside. When you go to the door there’s a crowd gathered in your yard.

They’re demanding food, first aid, water. Whatever you have, they want a share of it.

You explain that you’ve already given away what you can spare, that you have to take care of your family. You can feel the energy of the crowd turn hostile. You have to brandish a shotgun to get them to leave.

But you know they’ll be back. It could get ugly. People will get hurt, maybe your family. So you pack up all that you can carry, and you and your family leave the home you love, the home where you should have felt safe, to face the dangers of evacuating.

This is a true story from Hurricane Katrina. And it could happen to anyone who faces a disaster or emergency. The people around you who did not have your foresight will ask for your help. Eventually they’ll demand it.

Quiet Self Reliance Is Smart Self Reliance

It’s called the entitlement mindset. Most U.S. citizens have been trained to believe that they can rely on the government, on businesses, on anyone but themselves whenever things get hard.

In a true disaster, people with this mindset will quickly become desperate. And desperate people are dangerous.

You can protect yourself by keeping the bulk of your preparations quiet from pretty much everyone. Follow these basic guidelines and you’ll help to keep the entitlement mindset from undoing all your hard work.

  • Don’t talk about your decision to prepare for anything beyond three days.
  • Spread out your supply storage. By that, I mean keep things in different places. If someone comes demanding help, you can take from your three-day supply without revealing the depth of what you have on hand.
  • Encourage your neighbors to prepare for three days like the government recommends and do this when there isn’t a disaster looming.
  • Make three days your mantra to anyone not in your immediate family. That way word won’t get out that you have more than three days of supplies on hand and people will believe you when you say it’s all gone.
  • Stand in line for whatever the government is offering during the aftermath. If you don’t, it could draw attention and lead people to suspect you have more than you said.

Read more about what a New York fireman has to say about being prepared and understanding the entitlement mindset, so that you’re commitment to self-reliance doesn’t make you a target.