Has COVID-19 Changed My Life?

One of my favorite sayings is: "It's not if it will happen to you, but when." Though in full disclosure, I never imagined I would be living through a global pandemic.

I've spent the better part of my life being prepared and teaching folks how they can survive any disaster. But I never thought our nation would have lost over 75,000 citizens and counting to this horrible virus. I never imagined a time when a mask must be worn in public or shaking a hand could be a death sentence.

Toilet paper would be a luxury item in short supply.

And trying to get a haircut or stop by for a beer were prohibited.

Fear, anxiety and impatience are at their peak as we struggle to understand what our future will hold.

With the extra time I've had over the past several weeks, I've found myself reflecting on times of great personal struggle and how the result was triumph. The recurring theme for me was that there is only so much I can control. Be it multiple injuries during my time in the SEAL teams, difficulties with relationships, frustrations with career and business, etc.

The one thing I can control is to NEVER QUIT!

My Early Days of Corona

I will admit that I didn't take this very seriously, not knowing what we know now. I traveled to Las Vegas in February with my girlfriend; attended a concert and played blackjack in the crowded casinos.

I mocked those who were hoarding supplies.And shook my head in disbelief as friends and family members who previously had a disdain for firearms were eager to get my advice on what they should get/borrow. Well, I have learned a lot in the past several weeks and this caused a major mindset shift for me. I went into "Survival Mode."

For the past several years, I have been preparing a location in Northern Colorado as my OTG (off the grid) property. Due to the extreme winter weather, I generally close it down in the fall. Now it was time to open it up and assess the ability to live there full time.

I had the basics covered: food, water, shelter, heat, ammunition. I was rather disappointed in the fact that I had several shortfalls to deal with. Like allowing the propane to get low, expired prescription medications that might be required (antibiotics). As well as not having enough supplies for five people – not just me.

So, I did what I did in the SEAL teams and started writing down what I need to do better. We call this an "AAR" or After Action Report. It's simply lessons learned that will improve the situation. I highly recommend you do the same.

The dust will settle and many of the mistakes or short falls we experienced will be forgotten. Don't let this happen. Learn from these mistakes and correct them for the next disaster.

Make Personal Changes

This is also a great time to do a self-assessment. "Where am I lacking and what can I do to improve?"

In any life-threatening situation, you may be given a choice. Be a survivor or a statistic.

This will undoubtedly be difficult, so start pushing your comfort zone now. This means increasing your physical and mental toughness. Choose three things about yourself you want to improve, then do something each day to address this list.

Don't like to exercise? Start. Afraid of water? Learn how to swim. Losing your patience? Try combat breathing (inhale four seconds, exhale four seconds, repeat), but don't lose your cool. These simple things performed on a daily basis add up, making you physically and mentally tougher than you were the day before. And better prepared to handle a survival situation.

After the Pandemic

Americans, for the most part, have been incredibly patient and accommodating so far. But what will life be like when the "dust settles?" When the reality hits many Americans who are now unemployed, financially distraught and hopeless.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, I have been asked many times what concerns me? My answer is civil unrest.

For the reasons I stated above, I fear there will be a wave of desperation that washes over our country. And with this desperation, there will be many criminal acts. I don't want to be an alarmist. I just want to honestly share my opinion with you. Start thinking about the security of you and your loved ones.

  • Do a threat assessment of your home. Is it adequately protected from entry or are there things you can do now to better protect your loved ones?
  • Are there patterns or practices that you need to modify to increase your safety, like changing your schedule, family members never being alone and increased awareness in public places?

Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. America, we will get through this and thrive.

Be a survivor... not a statistic,

Cade Courtley
Former Navy SEAL / 4Patriots Contributor


  • JUne ANn - May 18, 2020

    Hello Cade. I just want to respond to the tone of your article. Now, I am a very realistic person. I have to be because I have several medical conditions to deal with daily. However I am also an optimist. I believe in positive thinking and looking at the bright side. The statement you made about hope for the best prepare for the worst seems rather negative to me, although it is realistic.
    I do keep 4patriots survival food on hand. Because I am also legally blind and cannot drive an automobile, taxi cabs are very expensive and I don’t have that kind of money. I am fortunate that I have a helper from our local county social services to take me grocery shopping. However food from the grocery store it’s not going to last 25 years. Nor is it in plentiful supply in some cases. Thanks again for sharing.

  • Olga - May 15, 2020

    Thank you for the advice you give! I am a single parent of a special needs daughter and I honestly don’t know how to make my home secure? If there is any specific suggestions and an idea where I can purchase what you recommend please share, I would really appreciate it. Thank you!

  • Connie Scroggie - May 13, 2020

    I thank GOD for 4Patriots in these troubling times. You give me hope to carry on each day!

  • Roland Howell - May 13, 2020

    I really appreciated the article with AAR. Thats a great idea, I started something like that a couple of months ago, my first step was purchase the one month emergency food from your company, I then boyght the solar powered tablet and phone charger, and I will be stocking up on those shakes when I get my next paycheck. Yeah, at 57 I never thought that I would be wearing a mask on my face when leaving my house, but I am okay with it. In my ARMY days the saying, Improvise, overcome and adapt where words that have recently come to mind. So, I have to say that I am happy to have come across your company as now everything that i will need I can get. My next project is to begin growing some food which is not something that I have tried, i have downloaded your step by step guide on growing so thank you fir that.

  • Carol Nelson - May 13, 2020

    Dear Cade, Thank you for your service to/for our country – for me! Thanks, too, for your great advice and telling about doing an AAR. If I may make an observation re: the self-assessment, I notice one important element of our personhood doesn’t appear there – no mention of our spiritual assessment. Indeed, the points of preparedness you mention are super important. But if we are only dependent on our self-sufficiency and how well we’ve prepared, isn’t that a bit shaky? And at best, it’s only for however long we have to live. Then it’s super important what preparedness we’ve made to face eternity and Almighty God. Preparation for that starts now, too. It’s really important to assess and prepare by the Designer’s handbook – the Bible. John 3:16 is a good place to start. I’ll be praying for you. If your spiritual preparedness has been neglected, I pray you’ll do your assessment and make any necessary modifications. God loves you, Cade. Sincerely, Carol Nelson

  • Jody Gouley - May 13, 2020

    Thank you for being man enough and human enough to admit when you were wrong. AND learn from it, sharing it with others. I too have prepared for years and your comment of “enough supplies for 5 -not just me” made me think of my other family members who will migrate to my safe haven when their city life becomes to threatened. Thank you for your thoughts. God bless!

  • Patty S - May 13, 2020

    Thank you for your thoughtfullness for sharing such valuable survival information!

  • D Petrels - May 13, 2020

    Excellent article. Good advice. Consider the impact of social isolation and lack of communication, too.

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