Episode #13 Transcript - Steps to Take TODAY Before Your Next Emergency with Boris Milinkovich

Kelly: [00:00:00] Welcome back Thrive Unafraid listeners. We are so excited to have our friend Boris Makovic here in the studio with us. Boris joined the Canadian Armed Forces as an infantry reservist in 1998. He eventually transitioned over to intelligence and then to his current position as a member of the military police.

He was decorated with the Canadian forces decoration for his service. He is currently in the process of releasing from the forces. Thank you for your service, Boris. Boris is also a 22 year veteran of the federal government, having served five years as a customs officer with his last year in a special enforcement unit.

Then 12 years working in transportation security and emergency preparedness. Incident management and national security. He has delivered training to various other government departments on security related topics, as well as other stakeholders, and currently acts as departmental [00:01:00] liaison officer and active assailant trainer for the Department of Transport.

Currently he is the regional manager for security at Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Additionally, he has attended several other survival, security, protection and preparedness training courses, both private and government, and is continually seeking out new methods and knowledge. To that end, he started True North TradeCraft, a security consultancy in Toronto, Canada, focusing on delivering specialized training and equipment in the areas of personal security, physical security, and disaster preparedness.

He has been a guest on C T V Morning News, written articles for magazines on both sides of the border, and is the author of two books. He is also an honorary colonel in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Well, that’s interesting. Well, I don’t even know where to begin with all of that because, as we’re, as I’m reading that, I’m thinking, [00:02:00] oh, we could talk about how covid and pandemic shutdowns in Canada and the transportation issues.

We could go all over…

Doug: All the time we have for today, folks.

Kelly: Yes. But I just, I wanna thank you for taking the time to talk with Doug and I on Thrive. Afraid because finally, I have someone who thinks my accent is completely normal

Boris: Is normal.

Kelly: And nobody’s gonna make it is… Exactly. Doug is the one who has a…

Doug: Y’all are both wrong.

Boris: See, you said we lost us there. Right?

Doug: There’s only two. If there was more than two of y’all, it would be all y’all.

Boris: All y’all there.

Kelly: Oh, no.

Doug: Well, has a plural. So we’re glad you’re here, Boris. Thank you for that.  You and I have been able to be in touch for a while over social media and I think you’re doing some really cool stuff.

Boris: Thank you for having me guys. It’s an honor to be here.

Kelly: Yeah. Well, and  we were talking a little bit before we started recording that you were one of the first people that I connected with on Instagram when I started the Diamond Arrow Group way [00:03:00] back in 2017. and I, I can’t for sure say this, but I feel like you were maybe even one of the first hundred people. I connected

Boris: I was,

Kelly: in that original form. So you’ve always been… I say this as an IG brother I mentioned that in my book, Call Out and, have always been helpful. And specifically I just wanna talk about the time. Because it segues into talking about disaster preparedness during the worst of the worst.

When we were experiencing riots here in the United States, especially, as law enforcement families, I reached out to Boris and said as a law enforcement family, one thing that I’m hearing from other wives and spouses is if something happens and I need to evacuate my house right now. I don’t even know what to bring and what to think about and where to [00:04:00] go, and being able to have that connection with you, that relationship that we’ve built over the years.

Having read Your Disaster Preparedness Guide, which is one of the books we’ll talk about. Yes. Doug’s showing it there. That was so helpful to be able to pull the information in a way that I could then teach it to law enforcement wives and say, here’s some things that you need to think about when it comes to plan B.

You need to evacuate, you need to take animals, you need to take your kids. What else do you all need to take with you? And that’s where we can start with your disaster preparedness guide. One thing I love about your books is that as an everyday person, it’s very relatable. You use terms and technology like you explain it, Hey, here’s what this acronym means, or Here’s what  the color codes mean, or what, so on and so forth.

But you really break it down in bullet points of here’s things that you need to think about having things to pack, and [00:05:00] I appreciate that about

Boris: Well, thank you for that. For a long time when I was contemplating writing my first book, so the Disaster Preparedness Guide, I had a lot of people asking me about things like, okay, well if we want to prepare, there’s like preppers and stuff like that. But a lot of the information out there at the time was predicated on, you have this massive piece of land, you have kind of unlimited resources and all this sort of stuff.

Well, it’s easy to set yourself up with that kind of situation. But what if you’re a condo dweller in downtown Toronto? And that’s, that’s the kind of challenge that was put to me once I was at the sportsman show in Toronto. And someone said, okay, that’s great. Really appreciate that you’re doing this, but how am I supposed to do something if I live in a condo?

And it struck me that, that all, all the prepper books and stuff like that, that are out there, [00:06:00] don’t address. The, necessarily the principles of preparedness, rather, they’re far more prescriptive and say, listen, you need to have this thing and you need to have that thing, and you need to do this, and you need to do that.

And what the authors oftentimes fail to think about is what is the person who’s reading this? What are their resources? What are their capabilities? What are their circumstances that will affect their ability to do what they’re being told to do? So if you have kids, suddenly you’re saddled.

You’re not running across some like cross country with your bug out bag type nonsense because you’ve got kids in tow, right? That it’s not a realistic expectation. Just like storing a year’s worth of food isn’t a realistic expectation for someone in a condo, right? So taking a look at. What you’re actually preparing for, and that’s gonna change for the, in the region, that your socioeconomic, political climate for where you are.

[00:07:00] , and also what is your living situation? Do you live in the basement of a rented house or do you own the property? Because a lot of times that’s going to inform whether or not you can make upgrades or not, right? So there’s, there’s real life implications to your circumstances, and so taking something that’s very prescriptive, It doesn’t always work.

So what I did was I looked at it more from a principles based approach. It’s like, okay, if we need, what are we preparing for? So in Toronto, generally I’m looking at winter storms and blackouts, right? Yeah. Like you’re here in Min, you’re in Min Minnesota, right? Like, so  about winter storms and blackouts.

So generally that’s that. That’s the biggest thing that you’re going to deal with. Nine times outta 10, right? , In, if you’re in the Midwest, it’s more tornadoes and stuff like that and flooding, right? So depending on where you are, you’re gonna have different hazards that you wanna prepare for. So you take that and you start looking at, well, if the power goes out, what do I lose?

And [00:08:00] what do I need to replace? So, okay, if it’s light candles, flashlights you can store batteries, that sort of stuff, as you start to. Look at what you’re losing because of that event and what you need to replace it with. You can start plugging that stuff in. And it doesn’t have to be the Cadillac version of everything sorry, the Tesla version of everything that you’re gonna need to replace.

But there might be a more economical way of dealing with it or something that fits in your space, right? So you can approach it differently as long as you can check that off and be relatively secure that you’re meeting that requirement. It doesn’t have to be a particular way. also the duration that you’re looking for, right?

So if it’s, can I survive? 24 hours with no power. If that’s the goal, then you’re gonna plan towards that goal. Now in my book, I look at a hundred hours, basically a week, where you want [00:09:00] to be self-sufficient. That’s the goal. You don’t necessarily have to do it overnight because maybe you don’t have the resources to do that, or it takes some planning, or you gotta figure out things like extra stuff for your kids or, or medicine or whatever.

So that takes some time. But if you have the goal in place, you can start looking at where your weak spots are and you can start kind of closing those gaps and working at it. So the print, I personally feel that the principal’s based approach is a far more effective way of meeting your goals and meeting your needs than.

Buying some, buying a book that says you have to buy this particular water filter because if you don’t have it, you’re, you’re toast. Right? Well, that’s not really true. Right? There’s, there’s a lot of ways to skin a cat and there’s a lot of ways to achieve an objective that may not align with somebody’s idea of it, but they still do the job, right?

Doug: So a useful rubric I’ve used in teaching people is to ask themselves three basic questions. What am I trying to protect? What am I trying to protect it [00:10:00] against and what do I have or need to acquire in order to protect it? Right? And so if you take it away from the protection space and just talk about or think about protection more broadly than just a physical threat, you could apply it in a natural disaster environment.

Answering those three questions is a starting point on that principles based approach.

Boris: Exactly, exactly. And I think it’s, it’s, scalable to anybody. So whether you’re.  Living by yourself in a studio condo or in a basement apartment to you have a family of many members that the same principle and the same approach is going to work. It just comes down to how do you scale it from one individual and start doing the same for the other individuals and the group as a whole.

So eventually you’ll get there. It’s just you have to keep replicating it. Right. But you may not be able to do that if someone says, everybody needs to have this, and everybody needs to have that. Well, Does everybody need a stove with their own cook set or will one larger cook set [00:11:00] do for several people in one stove?

So there’s… taking the principle and running with it is, in my opinion, the better way to go, because it’s more adaptable to changing situations and adaptable to different hazards.

Doug: Well, and also the, the answer to almost any question your clientele are gonna ask or somebody’s learning about this space is gonna ask. The answer’s gonna be, it depends, right?

Boris: Well, that’s the other thing. Yeah.

Doug: There is no set answer for any of these. It’s so situationally dependent. So we use examples from the real world that we’ve seen where things have gone badly typically to talk about it.

And so you see people stuck in traffic for 36 hours in Virginia. And so people then build a reaction to that, that then may not work when somebody is in an earthquake in California, or different things like that. How, how many people have been told they need a case of water in their car only to then live in Minnesota and what happens to that case of water in January?

Boris: [00:12:00] Exactly. And, and those all are gonna be those what ifs or, and you can what, if any, situation to death if you want. But it’s gonna be the individual circumstances, right? Maybe you can’t fit a case of water in your tiny little smart car, right? Maybe one bottle will do. But if that’s what you’re driving or you ride a motorcycle, because that’s where you live and you can get away with it.

You’re not packing it up. Right. So it’s gonna have to be some massaging of those principles to adapt it to your situation. And, I think that, as I’ve progressed through kind of my first edition, second edition, now my, the third edition I’ve dialed in kind of the actual approach to it and the feedback that I’ve been getting is, is far more dialed in.

It’s, it’s, it’s more, more on target with that principles based approach. Because over the years you learn like, oh, well I did this and this part of it worked, but this didn’t. [00:13:00] Or somebody comes to me at a trade show and they’re like, “what? I read that book…”

I really enjoyed this part of it, but have you ever considered this? No, I didn’t. Thanks for the tip.  I’m gonna explore that and I’m gonna grow it, because I think it’s something that I’ve not considered. I don’t know everything. and I never pretend to, I just am giving my kind of perspective on what I know and what I’ve learned and what I’ve seen and done.

And, not to say that don’t look at other people’s approaches. The more information, the more experience that you have, the better you’ll be able to deal with those situations. But always take each one, including mine with a grain of salt and figure it out, and what works for you best, because that’s, that’s the, the real way that it’s going to work for you as an individual.

Doug: A lot of our listener base is very novice in this particular space. Right. Or they’re just starting to ask questions. So I guess what would be the first [00:14:00] thing you would tell them as they, if they come up to you and say, look, I’m scared. I’m worried about the world around me. I don’t know what to do or where to start.

What do you tell ’em about where to start?

Boris: My first thing would be, What are you really afraid of? Like let’s actually get, like, dial that in and identify what are we afraid of? What are we, feeling that we are not prepared for, and what do we want to be prepared for? If you wanna be prepared for everything, then it’s like, okay, zombie apocalypse.

Right? Okay. And we can go from there, but. Realistically, do an assessment of what you have, like your assets, your liabilities, where your weak spots are, and start looking at what you’re trying to achieve. Are we trying to achieve 24 hours to survive civil unrest? Are we looking at flooding? Are we looking at a winter storm power outage?

What is it that we’re actually worried about? Take that and start deconstructing [00:15:00] what you need to be ready for that and start going towards that. Be, like towards that goal, because otherwise you’re just kind of pissing in the wind, right? Like it’s gonna be not effective for you because you’re gonna put efforts into a direction that may not benefit you when it’s needed.

Doug: Do you guide them through a discussion or, on likelihood versus magnitude?

Boris: Yes.

Doug: A high magnitude event, but this super low likelihood is gonna change your approach to preparing for that, whereas a low magnitude, but high likelihood, right? So being prepared to deal with your flat tire or prepared to deal with medical emergency is far more likely than civil unrest in, in, in the Western world

Boris:  What? Yeah. And that’s why when I say things like, well, what’s most likely to happen to me here in Toronto, winter storm power outage. Okay. They happen.

Doug: Mosen.

Boris: Say again.

Doug: I’m running outta Mosen.

Boris: Yeah, yeah. Running outta molsen. Yes, [00:16:00] that’s right. or maple syrup. That’s actually very important. You gotta have a supply on hand.

I got like eight liters at, at home at any given time, right?

Doug: That’s gold. Eight liters, that’s gold.

Boris: Exactly. I put that on everything.

Kelly: Wait. You might, we might have to edit that part out because  if anything ever happens, everyone will be heading to Boris’s house for pancakes and maple syrup.

Boris: Right. That’s right. Hey, don’t forget waffles. You can put it in like if you want to make your coffee, Oh yeah. Like here. Hold on.

Doug: This is a slight…

Kelly: He’s like…

Doug: …people…

Boris: …for some of my friends. So Arrowhead Coffee, which, they’re a Canadian veteran company. They make coffee. I use their cleared hot espresso grounds. Fantastic. Okay. They also make these limited edition whiskey coffees, which are aged in whiskey barrels. The reason I’m bringing that up is that I’ll put like a half teaspoon of maple syrup into my [00:17:00] espresso and it’s just perfect.

Kelly: Ooh.

Boris: If you want a little bit of relaxation on a weekend, and it’s smooth as gold, just, yeah.

Kelly: Relaxation, but you’re having…

Boris: Oh, you’re having a, yeah. That’s how you relax, right?

Doug: When, when we used to make our own maple syrup as well, and when it was always maple season, my wife would stop using water to make her tea. She would just use maple sap.

Boris: Yeah. Maple water is so good.

Doug: Oh good.

Boris: It is.

Doug: We’re…

Kelly: …have to, yeah.

Boris: …lied, but you can never have too much maple syrup. We’ll just put it that way. Okay.

Kelly: Just make it a staple in your…

Boris: …you should…

Kelly: …in one of the staple food items that you need to have. That is right. We’re right back on…

Boris: …highly recommended. Yeah. Okay. And have a small bottle in your car just in case you need a boost in the middle of the day. Right. Just fixes all your…

Kelly: There you go.

Doug: Next to the fireball.

Kelly: It…

Boris: Yeah.  So I guess, but that would be my approach, Doug. If someone asked me how am I [00:18:00] gonna do that is you can’t just like, shotgun it out there and say, I’m going to the store and I’m buying a whole bunch of gear. That’s not gonna cure your problem, right? It’s not gonna address it. It’s not gonna address the source and it’s not gonna address the way that you deal with it or mitigate the effects.

Anything that you buy as far as equipment that you want to put in. So if you need a source of water, right? And there’s a filtration element to that, you gotta actually buy it and try it and see that it’s gonna work and

Doug: And maintain it and yeah.

Kelly: And maintain

Boris: And you have to be confident that what you have stored away in a box, that when it, the time comes and you pull it out, that it’s actually gonna work, actually work and then work the way you want it to.

Doug: So many people want a silver bullet, right? They want you to sell them or give them this bag. That’s the, the go back is gonna solve all the problems. And in reality, what you’re trying to do is teach them a mindset and a way to [00:19:00] apply principles to assess risk as it emerges.

Boris: That’s exactly it. A lot of the pre-packaged kind of 72 hour bags that you find, right? They put really cheap garbage in it like, and, and I’ve received them as giveaways and stuff like that over the years and you open them up. And when I worked for transport, transport Canada every so often it’s emergency preparedness week, and we’d all get this little pack of like emergency preparedness gear.

So of course me being me, I’d take it on my desk, I’d open it up and be like, this is all garbage. What a waste of money. Right. It’s like there’s a Mylar space blanket. You take it out and as you’re opening the package, it packages stuck to it, tears the bits. And I’m like, so what was the point of that?

Right? And you get into that sort of stuff. Oh, here’s a pair of cotton gloves that you put them on and they come apart, like, why? It doesn’t serve a purpose, right? Somebody on a, on a checklist said, well, we [00:20:00] should have gloves. So they found the cheapest ones. They could threw ’em in there and thought that’s gonna do the job.

But, so. In my car, right? I carry a pair of gloves, but why do I have that pair and why do I have that specific pair? Well, they’re a pair of leather work gloves. They’re tough because if I’m doing work in a rainstorm, in a snowstorm, trying to change a tire, which is a common thing, right? Or I’m trying to get myself out of a ditch or something like that, or a snow drift, I need to protect my hands from the elements I need to protect them from getting injured using tools and that it has grip.

That’s why I picked that particular pair of gloves if I just go buy some random pair from the dollar store because I think that they’re inexpensive and that just checks the box that isn’t necessarily going to get what I need. And I, the reason I have the gloves is for protection, for, for dexterity, and for my ability to do stuff in inclement weather, getting [00:21:00] a flat tire on a sunny, warm day where, where it’s idyllic in a, in a meadow somewhere and it’s all so, so great. That never happens. But the, the, the, the times I’ve had a a, like a, a flat has been in the middle of the night in a rainstorm and in the day in a rainstorm, both times on a highway like nothing good is going on there, right?

So, you have to plan for… the circumstances are going to be not ideal. They’re going to be crappy. So plan accordingly. Have… when I talk about prepping your vehicle, if you have a car, a couple of small tools, like a multi-tool and a pair of gloves, a flashing beacon or something like that for your car, like a couple of small, but well-positioned pieces will go a long way in being able to deal with many problems, especially if you understand how, how your vehicle works and  how to change a tire or something. [00:22:00] Many people don’t. It’s like, how do you change a tire? And they’re like, oh, I don’t know. Call a tow truck. Okay,

Doug: Well, that was actually my next question, right? Because as we talk about it you, you touched on it a little bit, you said you buy that water filter, learn how to learn how it functions and work on it. So another kind of core principle here is the stuff may not be enough or isn’t enough. You have to know how to use the stuff.

So whether it’s medical gear, whether it’s recovery gear. Whether it’s figuring out how to fix your flat, you have to have trained on how to do these things…

Boris: …it’s, yeah…

Doug: …the manual to figure out how to…

Boris: Absolutely. Step one, find jack in back of car, Oh, it’s not there. Well, that’s great. Yeah. But, or my spares…

Kelly: I don’t, you don’t even have a spare tire. There’s a lot of cars now that don’t even have a…

Boris: That’s right. They, they just, they have run flats like, my [00:23:00] wife drives a mini and it doesn’t have a spare tire. And it just, the tires are run flats.

And I’m like, I remember when we got it. I’m looking at it and I’m like, where’s the spare? And the sales guy’s like, well we don’t need those. And I’m just like, oh my God. But my wife was driving a fiat before she liked a small, powerful, fast car, so she’s like, I’m just gonna get it anyways.

And, we’ll go from there. But, You’re right. Like some, some cars don’t have a spare, so what do you do? Right? And you’re right, Doug. It’s more about understanding the mechanisms to achieve that objective than it is the tools themselves. Your training or your skill sets, and your mindset is going to trp the gear that you have, more often than not, because if you understand how the principle works, you can MacGyver something a lot of times to achieve that objective anyways, so, oh.

I don’t have a jack. What am I gonna do? Well, if you got someone to help you, maybe, or even if you don’t get a lever, get a branch or [00:24:00] something with a rock, you might be able to lift your car up, put a block under it, change your tire and then, then move it from there. There’s ways of doing it.

But if you don’t understand the concepts behind it and how it works and how it functions and a thing or two about it, you’re gonna have a bad time. Right. It will fail you when it’s most important.

Doug: And you’ll be a liability to those around you if you’re unable to leverage the tools that you’ve got. So having the right tools is important, but knowing how to employ them when it matters, is what makes you an asset versus liability.

Boris: Absolutely a hundred percent. And that’s why I like… who doesn’t like to go shopping for gear and shiny new gear and stuff like that.

Doug: I hate it.

Boris: I just…

Kelly: I’ll leave the female comments till you guys are done talking…

Boris: …but oftentimes you find something and you’re like, oh, that’s really. I like that. Or it’s, or something you already have, but it’s something you can modify and make better or whatever. [00:25:00] And practicing with it, right? And just getting to know what your tools are, what your gear is, where your, where your gaps are.

And, it’s okay to have gaps, but not knowing that they’re there is the real problem because. Having a community approach. And it’s another thing I talk about is you’re not this lone wolf.  As cool as it is in a lot of movies and stuff where you’re taking on the wasteland on your own, you’re gonna be looking for people to support you and it’s gonna be a community or group effort.

So you may not have all the bits and pieces for yourself, but somebody else may be able to fill those gaps and vice versa. So I may have a means of making tons of water for everybody, right? But I don’t have a means to cook food, but somebody else does. So I bring the water, they bring the cooking and work, everybody kind of helps one another.

So there’s that [00:26:00] community aspect of being able to help one another and, being able to identify people that might be able to do that for you, either prearranged or people that you fart out during a disaster that you start to barter with or you’re able to, to work with towards that goal.

It’s not necessarily the most reliable thing if it’s and you’re doing it on the fly. But if you have certain gaps, you can start approaching people looking for means to fill those gaps, rather than, I just don’t know what’s going on. Right.

Kelly: Well, and I think of the meme where it’s like, Something to the effect of, just as an fyi, I’ve gone through my friend list and rated you on those who would be an asset during a zombie apocalypse. Those who would not, and those who I will use as bait.  Basically those types of things.

And I think that’s a big piece of it because this [00:27:00] conversation of preparedness tends to really overwhelm females. We so often, maybe we have our partner in our life, our dad, when we were growing up, our brother, whatever it may be. Who could do all those things? Who could change the tire?

Who could change the oil? Who could think about, okay, if the power goes out, what does that mean? And I will say it’s tough sometimes because, and I would challenge women, you may hesitate to say, well, wait, I don’t understand. Help me. Like, don’t be afraid to keep asking. Even if that person says, well you just do this, you…

Boris: …fold the cheese.

Kelly: Right? Like, just fold in the cheese. And with my husband, we live out in the country and before while I was pregnant with our oldest. We had power out for three days. [00:28:00] So to me it was fine. We could figure it out. Not a problem, not an issue. We weren’t in this desolate area, but it made me, both of us were like, this can’t happen if, when we have a small child, because.

Depending on the time of year, whether it’s cold, you’ve got formula to make or all these different things. It just, so we bought a generator and we had our house wired for this generator. We picked which outlets, which rooms will run off the generator by, what do we, and  one of those things was we gotta have internet.

Boris: Yep. Yeah.

Kelly:  Like to be able to do things, that wasn’t a luxury. It was okay, we need to have these certain things that we feel is important. It’s our priority now. We have not had a power outage of that length since, but we have it. But my husband literally made a PowerPoint for me with pictures and what I need to plug in and in what order, and it hangs he printed the PowerPoint slides out and it hangs right next to the generator so that if it [00:29:00] ever happens when he’s not around, I literally have a step to by step.

I’ve watched him do it a couple times and we’ve had quick power outages, but still in that moment, if I’m dealing with two kids who are freaking out because the power’s out, a dog barking, I like to have it written down for me to walk through it so that I can take care of us until he can arrive or until whatever is so helpful.

And I just challenge typically the women, but anyone who doesn’t just feel embarrassed when they say. All you need to do is this. Don’t be embarrassed to say, I don’t understand. Please show me. Or if you’re someone who learns by doing, make sure you do it. Make sure you practice, not…

Boris: …you’re right. You…

Kelly: …do ABC.

Boris: Yeah. And you’re right. Because also if an event is occurring or it’s happening, that puts a [00:30:00] lot of strain on the people involved, right? There’s the heightened level of stress and, and you might forget something, right? So having it written down, having the plan codified right there in front of you, helps to not forget steps, right?

Kelly: Mm-hmm.

Boris: It’s like where everything is, what, has to be done in what order, right? Not just to make it work properly, but for something like a generator and depending on how it’s wired and, and what’s going on, there’s safety issues with it, right? You want to make sure that it’s done in the proper order to achieve what you’re trying to achieve.

A lot of times you’re right, people are embarrassed or kinda sheepish about, well I don’t know this, so I just won’t even bother because I don’t wanna feel weird about asking.  What? Ask! because that’s really only the only way you’re gonna learn. Right. And unless you’re the worst thing that can happen.

…My parents always said, you can ask somebody, the worst thing that they can [00:31:00] really do is say no. Right. It’s like, can you help me with this? No. All right. So I’m back where I started, like a big deal, right?

Kelly: Now I can find somebody…

Boris: That’s…

Doug: You’re in Canada, and nobody ever says no.

Boris: That’s unless the government says trying to help veterans and get military spending, we won’t go there.

So anyways, but that’s the thing, like if you’re… to your listeners, if there’s somebody that. They want to get into stuff or they want… they’re curious about something and curiosity is a great thing. They wanna learn about something, start learning. The internet is there, there’s no reason that you can’t learn just the basic concepts behind something and then get some practice, right?

Get the awareness, get the terminology down. Look at a diagram and, oh, this thing is called this, right? A dial. Okay? So when someone talks about it or I watch a video, I know what they’re talking about. And there’s, there’s such an opportunity to learn [00:32:00] just the basics of stuff. And to gain awareness. and then you move on to like actually building those hard skills or, or whatnot.

But there’s, starting off in just amassing information and knowledge is, is free.  like you can go online and you can learn the basics of a, of a concept that you want and you can start growing from there. And when you feel a little more comfortable with that material, Then you can take the step.

Well, what? I’ve never built a fire in my backyard before, or a fire from sticks. Well, I’ve looked at how to do it, so maybe I’ll go into the backyard and get some branches and I’ll try it. Okay. If it doesn’t work the first few times, try it again and keep going. And eventually with trial and error, you’ll get it.

And that’s if it’s self-taught. And if you feel okay about wanting to learn that new skill. Go out and find someone local that will be able to teach you the basics. And they may not be the end all be all. And most often they’re [00:33:00] not. Nobody is. But you can go out and you can learn the basics and then you can go to somebody else and learn their approach to learning those basics.

And you can go to somebody else and somebody else. And over the years that’s what I did. I was learning a lot of the same skill sets, but from different people for their different approaches.

Doug: …different angles.

Boris: That’s right. And no class you go to is gonna cover every eventuality. And no class is ever gonna be the same.

Like I’ve taken the same covert entry class a few times, with Rob from Covert Instruments, and it was the same class. But the dynamic of the people that are there changes how… what you’re learning and someone brings something up and you’re like we never thought of that before. And you explore something different.

So every time you do something and you’re learning and in a learning environment, you’re going to learn something new. As long as you’re open to that, you’ll learn something new. You internalize it and you keep growing. And as long as your ego’s not in the way, like, oh, I know [00:34:00] everything then. You’re just gonna continue to grow and you’re just gonna keep getting good at it.

And, a lot of times if I take a course and, like I’m taking a course, in Virginia, in May I have the same mentality when I start with a training class. Doesn’t matter how basic it is or advanced or anything, I walk in with the same mentality. I know nothing and I want the instructor to teach me from zero as if I don’t know a single thing about the topic.

And I want to see how I learn through that process. And the reason for that is I might have preconceived kind of bad habits and stuff like that that I don’t want, I don’t want to sabotage my learning. Right. And really knowing the basics super well will make you better than someone who knows really [00:35:00] advanced training or advanced concepts.

But they’re not sharp on the basics because they wanted a leapfrog over those. They’re like, ah, this is really easy. I got this. And you can pull off basics a lot better than they can pull off advanced stuff. So focusing on basics and being really, really good at it. Like being so good that you can’t screw it up right is going to serve you far better than trying to learn something that would be used once, one in a million times. Right. For a certain circumstance. Like

Doug: …not sexy or cool.

Boris: I know, I know…

Doug: …boring.

Kelly: And that’s what I was thinking though, so often you guys were talking about your bug out bags and buying gear…

Boris: That’s cool. Cause you got like you guys have cool things like chopped down air platforms. Really great.

Kelly: Yes, but that’s okay. Again, as the males in this space, for most females who, let’s say they’re widowed, let’s say single moms, let’s say, just independent women who are living by [00:36:00] themselves… These are still important skills for them to have.

Doug: Right.

Kelly: And it’s very hard to get into that space because it gets overwhelming. To your point earlier that you said, Boris, well, you need this thing, you need this ABC item in order to keep yourself safe.

And I know that. I love your principled approach.  That’s really similar to what I do with situational awareness, is we have to get back to principles because we could, ‘what if’ monkey to death, any scenario. So I need you to build your skills and then apply those skills to the situation. Very similar in being prepared.

There are things that are basic.  You know where the water main shut off for your house…

Boris: Where is your breaker…

Kelly: Because you, where’s your breaker panel? How does this work? How does that work? And it’s unfortunate. I don’t want to go too detailed into any one thing because I don’t wanna turn someone off.

But I think when [00:37:00] you get back to the gear is how to use stuff. And the affordances, like if you don’t, there are times when it’s like, I can’t find the flat edge screwdriver.  This butter knife will work. And it, we laugh about it, but it’s like, really? You don’t overcomplicate things?

What do you need to accomplish? Like duct tape and WD 40 fixes just about everything, right? Yeah, and so that’s where I just want to remind our listeners,don’t get too overwhelmed by all of it. It’s the simple daily habits. That’s why I love the way Boris breaks in his books. Little tasks that you can do, checklists, and I’ll put ’em all in the episode key, both of his books I’m already looking at the time going, we’re not even gonna get to negative space because disaster preparedness that safety, security like you put in negative space, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

The basic security, the basic safety, we need to have that in our lives in order to have more [00:38:00] enriching things or build a…

Boris: Yeah, you can’t build your… that’s right. Your life’s not gonna be in a place where you can actually enjoy it. If you’re con…

Kelly: When you say gatekeeping, you mean like they don’t want to share their trade secrets?[00:39:00] 

Doug: You haven’t reached this level, or it’s a lot of security theater too. [00:40:00] There’s a somewhat cynical approach to folks that say, if you master the basics, you’ll be able to get all the Gucci gear you need a week later. Framework. Yeah, for sure.

Kelly: Yeah.[00:41:00] 

Doug: I think  Kelly too, a woman, who is fearful or gets turned off by the acronyms or the verbiage or whatever, doesn’t really know where to start, what Boris just said about making your community stronger… Find somebody else in your community to go with and just have the desire to start and then have a willingness to ask questions and you’ll get where you can begin to develop those skill sets.

Kelly: Because I do wanna say, I think there’s a balance that you don’t have to do it all on your own. You don’t have to know everything. So I think that the community approach that even as a female, it’s okay to say, “okay, I don’t know how to do that. But maybe there’s somebody, a neighbor, a friend, a family [00:42:00] member who does great.”

Like I always look at, you only have so much time in so much space in your brain sometimes. So it’d be better to build a relationship with a person who has those complimentary skills. [00:43:00] Right. [00:44:00] Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.[00:45:00] 

There you go, Boris.

Boris: Yeah, I shut down my browser and everything and then just started it up. So who knows? Okay, so here we are. So anyways, yeah, so going back to the starting out with really the basics. So if you’re looking at, you wanna learn about a particular skill or a particular thing, start with the most basic version of it, right?

Things about your vehicle. Know the basics of it. Read the manual, read look. Watch a YouTube video. Get just the concepts behind it. And, and it’s not just so that how to do stuff with your car or around the house or whatever. There’s the added benefit of not being kind of hoodwinked by people like mechanics and stuff like that.

Well, yeah.  you need, you need the, the light fluid or whatever. What’d you say, Kel?

Kelly: …blinker fluid…

Boris: That’s [00:46:00] it. Yeah. Yeah. You 200 bucks for some blinker fluid. It’s like, oh, okay. Didn’t know that, but getting bamboozled because you don’t have a clue. Right. Educate yourself. It’s free.  It just takes some time and effort and willingness and there’s no reason why you can’t know as much as the next guy.

It’s just you need to be willing to do it and start out simple, start out at the lowest level and, and start working. And that’s like, I didn’t wake up one day and roll outta bed and I know what I know and I have this particular body of knowledge. It’s taken me 15 plus years of specifically doing the stuff that I talk about in my training and in my books.

I was seeking people outside of Canada and learning from them over years and years and years.  The way I would do it is I’d save up, little metal can of toonies $2 coins for those of those American friends of mine. And I’d fill that [00:47:00] up and every year I’d open that up and it would have whatever X amount of dollars and usually about three grand, right?

Which is a lot for a can of that… you put in birthday money and stuff like that. And that would be my annual trip down to the States for a course. Right. And that’s how I did it, and I did it for a decade. Right. And it’s a slow process, but in between them, you practice, you try and seek out more stuff on your own.

You learn as much as you can, and it’s a process. You’re not gonna learn everything overnight, but you can start on your own learning simple, basic things to start focusing on the gaps in your plan or in your preparedness or in your life. And as you do that, you will start to ping off of and grasp onto other concepts that are in that same kind of orbit that are complementary, and then you’ll be like, oh I never thought of this. I’ll start learning about that and I’ll start learning [00:48:00] about that. And the next thing you’ve started really learning about a wide variety of things that all help one another and start adjusting your mindset into that kind of MacGyver-esque way that you’re gonna be able to deal with eventualities as they come up. And that builds your resilience, that builds your adaptability, and that ultimately builds your confidence in being able to deal with situations when they go sideways.

Doug: So it starts with a desire, and a strong attitude to go learn, and a willingness to start with some basics.

Boris: And putting your ego aside.

Doug: So maybe start with a first aid class. Maybe start with a car class. But let’s start somewhere. Setting that ego aside and being committed to be better today than you were yesterday.

Boris: That’s a perfect way to put it. Absolutely.

Kelly: Awesome. Well, thank you so much. We’re, we gotta wrap up here unfortunately, because we didn’t even get to your second book.

Boris: Till next time.

Kelly: [00:49:00] Yes, exactly. To be continued. Yes, Doug’s holding it up there, negative space. Great book. I highly recommend it. And not just because Boris does a great job of shouting out Sharp Women a couple times in that book, right? Woo.

Boris: Absolutely.

Kelly: Boris again, thank you so much in the episode key for this podcast episode, we will have all of the links to Boris’s book, links to his shop. He’s got, I am wearing a true North Tradecraft t-shirt, one of my favorites if it comes down to you or them sunflowers. But he has got lots of his tools, lots of great things to start you on your journey to becoming more self-reliant and I can’t stress enough like what Doug did. His takeaways there: Just start. Don’t get overwhelmed. Don’t stick your head in the sand. Start with what you can. Do you have any closing takeaways that you wanna leave our [00:50:00] listeners with, Boris? 

Boris: Just that at the end of the day, you’re investing in yourself and, a lot of people are… they’re happy to throw like a hundred bucks a month or something like that to their insurance, like life insurance or home insurance and stuff like that. Yeah. Banks need to force you to do that.

But when you are investing in yourself, your own time, your own money, you’re building that insurance for yourself because, at some point, it’s gonna come down to just relying on yourself, and nobody’s coming to save you at that point. And the more you’ve invested in advance of that, the better your chances are in making it out of that.

So exactly like I say it at every class if it comes down to you or them, send flowers. And it’s a good attitude to have, not just in a combative sense, but in every challenge that life throws at you, you want to walk away from it. Ideally,  the winner in that [00:51:00] contest.

So, everybody out there, you can do it, you can learn this stuff. It just takes, takes an approach, an open mind and a willingness to learn. And, feel free to reach out to me anytime: email, Instagram, True North Tradecraft and, yeah… I’m just here to try and help people out.

Doug: And there’s no expert out there that didn’t start exactly where you, the listener, are starting yourselves.

Boris: Absolutely. Everybody starts at the bottom. Nobody pops outta the womb being an expert, right? So, take the time to temper your ego and your pride. Just have some humility and go in and be like, I’m learning. That’s how we start and just start working on it. And, if you want to be great at something, you gotta start at the bottom and you just gotta put the time in and eventually you will.

And, just don’t give up. Don’t let people deter you from what you’d like to learn and what you’d like to get good at. [00:52:00] You can do it. It’s just you gotta do it.

Kelly: Love it. Great. Well, thanks again. Thanks again, Doug, for participating in this conversation. It’s such a joy to interview our guests with you and these great conversations that we have. So thank you to all of our listeners for your continued support and downloads. Make sure to leave us a review. Send us your comments, feedback.

If there’s anybody out that you would love to see us have on the show, definitely let us know. But until next time, Stay Sharp!