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Are you sure? Would you bet on it?

In my experience people are over confident in their abilities and continually feel they are in a better position or have covered all the bases more than reality would suggest. In the situation where they are preparing something for someone else no risk or danger is enough to dent their confidence in the slightest. This 20 ton automated robot sentry with 50 cal cannons, flame throwers and the latest in computer AI is perfectly safe. Nothing can possibly go wrong and the marketing rep will stake his rep and you and your families life on it.

A long time ago one of my favourite article writers wrote an article for computer weekly on automated aircraft. It went something like this ‘You are sitting on the tarmac at an airport waiting for your flight to take off. A metallic voice comes over the tannoy ‘Welcome to the first fully automated flight of an aircraft. This is the first aircraft without a pilot on board and we will be taking off shortly.’ Knowing what you now about software development how would you feel.’ The writer said ‘I’d be at ease. Knowing my students it wouldn’t even manage to start the engines.’ Since then I have had a great interest in considering IT from the end user perspective and the difference between theory and practice.

This led me to one conclusion the only real way you can evaluate something by a third party is to get them to personally invest in it. Even working for a company won’t do it. So quite often I have said to developers ‘So it is finished now?’ ‘Fully tested, no bugs. Ready to go to the customer’. Sounds definitive you would think. ‘So if I find any bugs when I test whoever coded that bit will give me £20.’ Suddenly it is ‘Well every system has bugs and you cannot get rid of them all’.

Anyway next time you are told it is all OK and everything is there then ask them if they personally would give you £20 if that was not the case. That 100% instantly evaporates.

What has this to do with survival and prepping you ask? Well, it has everything to do with reality and you need to know what the reality is. This over confidence goes for us as well. We too always think we are doing better than expected. We can run 50 yards without getting out of breath, hold our breath for 3 minutes, shoot the eye off a fly with our new rifle, only need 2L of water a day, can start a fire in the rain, hide our stores from visitors, you can hike 20 miles with ordinary footwear on. You are ready for any event. The harsh reality is that you may not be able to do these things but you think you can.

That is why I am suggesting that when you are 100% sure you have covered something then get it checked by a third party and then test it. In my previous post ‘Testing your Assumptions‘ I suggest that if you test your plans and call out a friend if you are missing something. Consider if you would call them out if every item they brought cost you £50. Would you make do without a chocolate biscuit for a few days if it cost you £50? Think about it… See, it does make a difference.

So when I ask you if you have enough wood to keep a wood stove going for a week, you look out your back garden, see a few panels, some debris and a shed and think if push comes to shove then I have. So you say ‘Yes’. But how much wood do you go through in a day? I suspect you won’t know. You have no idea what you have but because you answered a question with what you thought rather than what you know you have given yourself a false sense of security.

It is for your benefit to be accurate in your preparations. The difference here is being wrong about your level of preparedness is not a scenario you can fix after an event. Being wrong means more than money.

In the meantime at £50 per wrong assumption I will be more than happy to help you evaluate your plans.

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