I’m going to start off with a small example. My parents.
I consider myself a future prepper. I would love to start now, but unfortunately I’m in college and I have limited storage space. Instead, I have taken it upon myself to convince my parents to become preppers. My mother has a variety of useful skills. Her talents include storage, creativity, and improvising. I have seen this woman pack a car with all of my belongings and treat it like a very simple game of Tetris. One year she managed to heat the whole upstairs of our house with strategically hung blankets, thick plastic and a small heater. My mother is not a prepper in a traditional sense, she does not collect gear, she does not hide food or use weapons, but with her skills along with a bit of motivation I am sure she can withstand any small natural disaster.
My father on the other hand is nothing like my mother. He does not have any outward skills instead it is his personality that makes him a potential prepper. He has ambition, enthusiasm with just a dash of pessimism. My father is the skeptic, but jumps into action at the first sign of trouble. During the summer our power went out randomly. It was never for days at a time, but for a few hours at the most before it was fixed. At the time I had a small electric lantern given to me by my grandmother a few days past. He found my lantern, turned it on and proceeded to walk around the house for every little thing. Despite his reluctance to prep he was very excited to have something no one else did on our street. Light. It occurred to me this Christmas that I would encourage the hidden prepper in him. I made him a power outage starter kit. And this, my readers, is a key step to creating a prepper.
From my experience most people are reluctant to start prepping because they believe nothing bad is going to happen. They are skeptical about any sort of doomsday scenario. Why should they prepare for something that may never happen? Why should they believe that their way of life might change when it hasn’t for years? You can’t convince them, you won’t change their mind. It’s just not going to happen, so the first step is for you.
Step 1) Stop trying to convince them something bad is going to happen.
Yes, you may be completely convinced something horrible will occur in the future, but if they don’t believe you the tenth time you rehash your argument then they won’t ever believe you. I’m sorry, but some people need to see things for themselves. If they ever change their mind in the future kudos for them, but for now just stop wasting your time and focus on step 2.
Step 2) Give a gift
No, I’m not talking about a picture frame or stuffed animal. Give them a prepper gift. If the person you are trying to get to start prepping likes food give them a few potted herbs. If they love the outdoors give them water proof hiking boots or a sturdy backpack. Find out what the person loves. Get creative. Give them something useful, but not full-blown prepper-like. A prep item in disguise.
Step 3) Encourage useful hobbies
Sewing, gardening, and hunting you name it. Anything that seems useful to you encourage it. Give a gift; say a nice word about it here and there. Try to find the good in any hobby they may have. Don’t discourage. Encourage.
Step 4) Be more proactive
Go shopping with your unknowing student. Shop for something YOU would like to add to your preps. However, limit yourself to something that would interest them. Don’t buy something that would scare them. If they are wary around guns don’t take them to buy ammo. Also, don’t buy too much in that one trip. If you are buying food don’t buy three carts full. Explain your purchases, why you want this item or a box of that. Try to gradually ease them into it.
Step 5) Another gift
Go shopping again, but this time buy something for them too. However, they have to pick it out themselves. Nothing too expensive. Make a game of it if you want. Challenge them to find something that they would find useful in a certain disaster situation. Be careful not to mention your disaster situation. They would get suspicious.
Step 6) Learn something new
Some people are reluctant to learn something new. Even more people are reluctant to learn something new alone. Learn something new and ask them if they want to do it with you. Find something that interests both of you. Something interesting that you can use. Maybe something that can be bragged about. Some people respond better to learning a new skill if they can tell others about it. Look at what I can do.
You have created a prepper in disguise. They probably don’t identify as a prepper and they probably never will, but they now possess basic prepper training in their area of interest. They’ve learned that not every prep has to be something extreme, how to recognize a useful item and have learned a few new skills. They may still look at you funny when you describe your doomsday scenario, but when/if it comes to pass you can feel more confident that you have helped them prepare as well as you possibly could.