Skip to content
>> Check out NRS Online classes! <<
>> Check out NRS Online classes! <<
The Four "Poisons" of the Mind

The Four "Poisons" of the Mind

After teaching self-defense and/or survival for nearly 30 years now, it has become apparent (to me at least) that a strategy of avoidance and awareness is the key to ensuring you are not a victim.  A victim to assault, getting lost in the woods or succumbing to the perils of a pandemic.  We should do all we can to avoid situations that are statistically likely to cause us unnecessary harm.  This includes becoming more aware of our surroundings so we can be proactive rather reactive whenever possible.  

I wrote about mindset development in the chapters 1-4 of my first book, for many reasons.  If you have that resource re-read those chapters when you can to refresh yourself.   If not that then consider the Tiny Survival Guide that I co-wrote.  It is a concise resource to help you develop checklists on mindset, skills, tactics and gear as they relate to readiness.  

You can consider this blog post as an addendum to those chapters of my first book.  Much of what I am going to share is found in those chapters, but I am offering a different format here and a bit more concisely.  I believe our current COVID-19 situation puts me in a position to help people as much as I can.  

There are four poisons of the mind and each of those poisons can leave a person in a place where they can allow their thoughts to spiral out of control.  We should avoid these.  I will share each poison with you and some strategies that relate to COVID-19 that will help you overcome them.  


Fear of what can happen to us can overwhelm us at times.  The best way to overcome this is to think of these situations not as bad dreams that frighten us, but rather opportunities to strategize solutions.  When something gives you fear, then you should start to analyze it in a way that whatever caused the fear, you find solutions for.  Fear of running out of food? Find ways now to stock up.  In the short term and long term, you could study ways to forage, grow, or hunt your own food.  THose are long-term goals but at the very least get some carbs (rice, and noodles) and some protein (beans or legumes).  These are things you can buy in bulk and store easily.  Dont forget a few treats along they way.  Hard candy is a good choice.  


The news and social media is a large part of this.  Some recommendations I have made recently is to watch the updates that come from the POTUS and from your state's governor and then immediately turn off your news.  If not, then there is always the talking heads, political and business bias that infiltrates into the news.  Avoid it by getting just the facts and avoid newscasters.  Read your news instead and utilize your own filters and critical analysis of what you are reading.  Yes, I know some governors include their political bias and such as well.  I don't have my head in the sand. However, for the love of all that is in the world.  Quit playing politics with your friends, neighbors and social media followers.  It is not helping things.  



The way to avoid hesitation is to train regularly so you can work through problems and contingencies.  I have recommended for years (and it is still not too late to do this), that people take a week of time and turn off the electricity and water to their home.  Start immediately taking notes on how you will handle those problems.  Right now they don't seem realistic or even probable.  However, if you can start to find solutions for problems then you are teaching your brain to problem solve and that will allow you to more confidently take action rather than hesitate when stressful situations arise.  Here are a few others that I would start getting prepared for:

  • Prepare for someone taking something from you at the grocery store.  Learn what is a need and what is a want.  There is a big difference.  Train for this in your mind now so you will be ready.
  • Prepare now for access to normal activities to further dwindle.  Expect worse-case-scenario travel restrictions. Where are your family members?  Do you have solutions to get to them if a need arises?  Know routes and contingencies for those routes.
  • Look around your house and plan for each person in there to come down with COVID-19.  The statistics tell us that is not likely, but planning for it allows us to get ahead and not hesitate when/if that time arises. 


Contingency planning is just that, taking care of the surprises.  Humans are naturally normalcy biased, meaning we tend to want the normal and not consider the abnormal very often.  Times such as these require us to do something different.  We must plan for things that we don't like to think about and start planning for that to happen.  I am not saying make it happen in your mind. I am saying consider it and have a solution to avoid it.  Don't fall victim to normalcy bias which will put you in a position to not handle surprises very well.

The four poisons of the mind; fear, confusion, hesitation, and surprise.  Each of them destroys our decision-making ability.  However, if you are reading this, that is an indicator that you are choosing to not be reactive to them and are proactive instead.  I like that.  Keep up the good work.  

I truly believe we are going to be alright.  I truly believe this will serve to make us stronger and better if we allow it too.  Thanks for reading.  Be strong for yourself and those you care about.  



Previous article Embracing the Timeless: The Enduring Spirit of Our Logo
Next article Georgia Bushcraft Virtual Gathering 2020 - 3 Bs of Bushcraft

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields