The Importance Of A Resilient Life

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My business partner Adam and I recently met with a successful business owner whose career began on Wall Street. The kind of guy who should be rooting for the system, because it has treated him well.

Instead, he was quite nervous about the sustainability of the status quo. “Starting in August," he said, "Maybe it was the Amazon catching fire, maybe it was the negative interest rates – I don’t know for certain what the trigger was – but something has snapped.”

I agree. Because I feel it, too.

As do so many others. And not just those who regularly read Increasingly, even ‘mainstream’ voices are stating to report a profound sense that something really isn’t right. That – from the economy to geopolitics to the natural world – things are swiftly worsening.

Public perception is beginning to shift from complacency to fear. Countries are fast rejecting globalization in favor of nationalization. The holes in our ecosystem – vanishing birds, insects, amphibians and fish stocks – are becoming frighteningly obvious. The threats to life as we’re accustomed to it are becoming more visible while accelerating in both magnitude and frequency.

I expounded on the danger of this in my recent report It’s the Pace of Change That Kills You. Negative developments can spark their own vicious cycle. The more components of a system that fail, the more at risk the remaining components become.

That report was published just two weeks ago. Since then the world’s largest oil refinery was attacked by hostile forces and knocked out of commission, throwing the future integrity of the global oil market into question. Scientists just announced that North America has lost 29% of its total bird population (a drop of -3 billion) in the past half century. And Houston suffered another devastating round of “500 year” flooding due to another stalled storm system dumping as much as 40 inches of rain in some spots (and as of this moment, it’s still raining there).

The pace of change is speeding up. Welcome to living in an exponential world.

Our mission at Peak Prosperity is to Create A World Worth Inheriting. We’ve been at it for a decade and, honestly, who knows if we’ll succeed? The odds were never really in our favor, just two guys with a website and a message. But we’re trying our hardest, regardless.

And we’re being joined by a growing chorus of scientists and thoughtful people like you who observe that despite our best efforts, the predicaments the world faces have only grown larger and more intractable.

Which is why we’ve long been so focused on promoting resilience.

As the systems we’re accustomed to begin to fail in earnest, the exact repercussions will be impossible to predict with certainty. Resilience will be the key to who perseveres (and even prospers) versus those who gets steamrolled.

We’ve done our best to serve as visible models for how to live a resilient life. We’ve ejected from the rat race, relocated our families to areas rich in community and resources, boosted our health and fitness, grown a percentage of our food, lessened our dependence on fossil fuels, and developed practical skills.

Along the way, we’ve helped thousands of people become more resilient, too. Like us, they’ve discovered that being more resilient means being more alive, freer, in control of our destinies, and more connected to the people around us.

Personally, intimately ready for whatever might come. At the household and local community levels and across many dimensions including financially, physically and emotionally.

Becoming Financially Resilient

Bubbles burst.

When they do, lots of people get hurt. Jobs are lost, savings plundered, homes foreclosed on, and dreams are diminished.

Well, after the Dotcom Bubble and the Housing Bubble, here we are again: now nearly a decade into the Everything Bubble. And signs abound that it’s in the process of popping.

The #1 question we’re asked is: How do I avoid becoming collateral damage?

We counsel a few things. First everyone should immediately focus on living within or beneath their financial means, as those overextended and over-indebted will be the first casualties of the next recession. Those looking for helpful tips should read our recent report on Extreme Frugality.

Developing multiple streams of income is extremely important to financial resilience. There are many ways to do this: from owning businesses, income-yielding stocks and bonds, annuities, royalties, etc – or simply renting out part of your home on Airbnb or starting an Ebay side hustle. We especially like real estate as a vehicle for passive income given the tax advantages offered. Read our Primer On Investing For Inflation-Adjusting Income and watch our video series How To Invest In Real Estate For Safety & Profit to learn more.

Next, ensure that the financial wealth you’ve accumulated doesn’t evaporate when the current asset bubbles (yes, plural) burst. If you’re money is in “paper wealth” like stocks, bonds, 401k’s or trusts, we highly recommend that you have it managed by competent professionals who understand the key risks. If you’re having trouble finding one, consider scheduling a free portfolio review with the financial advisory firm we endorse (one of my regular personal highlights is hearing just how pleased people are with the excellent and personalized service provided by these high integrity professionals.)

And if you’ve got money sitting in a bank, like a savings account or a CD, then please do yourself a favor and explore opening a Treasury Direct account. You’ll likely find doing so will return you a (much) higher yield on your cash and safeguard it against a potential bank failure.

Sadly, in this era of unprecedented money printing and market intervention, all of us need to take some precautions around the prospect that the serial bubble blowers at the central banks don’t actually know what they’re doing.

Which is why educating yourself about what’s really happening, and why, is essential. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the financial and economic “information” out there is actually marketing copy and propaganda efforts designed to prevent you from figuring out what’s really going on.

History has shown us that those who don’t think for themselves will pay a high price.

The DotCom Bubble decimated the portfolios of those who had “invested” in ridiculous internet schemes that were clear and obvious money losers at every stage of their brief lifetimes.

The Housing Bubble forced investors to admit in retrospect that lending hairdressers from Las Vegas enough money to accumulate 19 homes was not a good idea.

But here in bubble 3, the Everything Bubble, we have plenty of people “investing” merrily in companies that are burning $billions annually, owning trillions upon trillions of negative yielding debt, and living in houses that are even more expensive than the 2007 housing bubble heights.

It’s so extreme that a company even put this statement right into its initial public offering (IPO) filing and still managed to find oodles of willing, excited investors:

“We have a history of net losses and we may not be able to achieve or maintain profitability in the future.”

~LYFT, 2019

Can you imagine? The stock price should have been slaughtered immediately. Instead it went up like a rocket on the opening day of trading. It has since retreated somewhat, but “the market” still values this perpetual money losing machine at more than $13 billion.

Remember the South Sea Bubble? In 1720 in England there was such a frenzy around the the share prices of the South Sea Company that a dozens of ridiculous schemes popped up including one company that was going to make cannons that shot square cannon balls and on that even raised thousands of pounds promising this: “For carrying-on an undertaking of great advantage but no-one to know what it is."

It turns out that 1720 and 2020 are going to have a lot in common, mostly because bubbles are bubbles and humans are still humans.

Becoming Physically Resilient, Too

Money is for sure important. But simply having money doesn't mean you're resilient.

In fact, some of the richest people I know are also some of the most vulnerable.

Everybody should be actively working to make their home more resilient. Some of the very best-returning investments you can make are in improvements like solar hot water, insulating your home, and otherwise finding ways to invest now and save later.

If you live in the northern hemisphere, now is the time to be putting your garden to bed, layering on the straw, and compost and grass clippings that will ensure richer soil for next season. If you’re in the southern hemisphere, spring has arrived and it’s time to begin waking your garden up.

For those without a well-prepared homestead: a solid group of Peak Prosperity members and I are now actively exploring creating a new planned real estate community that will be optimized for resilience.

We don’t know exactly what this will look like yet, whether it will be something along the lines of an “intentional neighborhood,” people living in reasonable proximity to each other, or some a little bit bolder where each person brings a skill and we organize more fully around the idea of self-sufficiency.

It shocking how many people have reached out to me to express their interest in this project. So many folks are hungry for a better way to live.

Live Among Your Resilient Tribe

As humans, we all yearn to belong. We all want to know that life matters, and that our own lives have meaning and purpose.

But at turbulent times like these, meaning and purpose take on additional importance. They demand our attention. The more out of balance things become, the more important it becomes that our efforts matter.

A while back I put out a podcast titled Living With Integrity that proved extremely popular. Its core message was that our political, financial, corporate, and educational institutions are breaking their promises to us. Rather than serve our interests, they are constricting them.

Pharmaceutical companies started out with the aim of saving and improving lives, but now, all of the major companies are guilty of major abuses. Some have addicted millions to opiates. Others have bankrupted patients by jacking up costs tremendously. All to make a few more bucks for their execs.

Big Ag is similarly complicit. It uses neonicotinoid pesticides because they are cheaper and more cost effective at the expense of killing off a huge percent of our once-vibrant insect and bird populations. All to make a few more bucks.

Jeffrey Epstein died under unbelievable circumstances and now virtually nothing is happening on that “investigation.” The rules of law and justice for victims are being gutted. All to protect those in power who might be implicated were this to go to a trial.

It’s time for good people of impeccable character – like you – to recognize that the current system is neither sustainable nor worth preserving in its current low-integrity form.

Rather than deluding ourselves and squandering precious time waiting for the government to '“fix” things, we’re far better served taking our destiny into our own hands.

Truthfully, there’s not a lot worth preserving in the current culture of isolation and meaningless jobs. People are hungry for more. If you’re like Adam and me, you want your life to matter. You want to live with purpose, integrity and happiness.

In Part 2: Resilient Relocation, I share the process for the intentional community we’re building. The detailed vision. The requirements for the property we’re hunting for. The skills, attitudes and expertise I’m looking for when (very carefully) choosing who to accept into this community. The incentives for fostering the right group dynamics and discouraging the wrong ones. The financial realities.

Read on if you’d like to learn more about this specific resilient relocation project, or if you’d like to integrate its insights into one of your own.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access).

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Almost every day, we walk around a delightful 290 acre lake in Central Wisconsin. We get to watch people water skiing, riding jet skis and fishing, frequently in boats that are not only oversized and over powered for the lake, but IMHO, for the “sport” of fishing entirely, with the possible exception of offshore fishing in the ocean or Great Lakes.
People don’t ski in normal size boats, with 100 hp outboards, like we did, when I was young. Mostly, the ski in far larger, more powerful boats. Some of the private ski boats we see are dedicate $70,000 ski boats that dwarf normal boats.
Our lake is home for a water ski team. It’s also the home for an annual water ski team competition. Many of the ski team boats are monsters with two 300 hp outboard motors. There are always a half dozen or so ski boats with THREE 300 hp outboards… 900 horse power boats dedicated to water skiing.
But, that’s just recreational energy irresponsibly. There are more hideous signs of how misguided the society we live in is:

I’m a prof at UWGB and point these things out to students (bigger and more things you don’t need) but still many are invested in big trucks/boats/ATVs. I try to drive home that technology won’t save you, but changing your ways in every sense might --or at least delay for much longer what you might have to endure. This does not make me popular with the physical sciences/engineering/economists. It’s time to retire and move somewhere where resilience is still possible. Still trying to settle on where that is.

“It’s time for good people of impeccable character — like you…”
“Impeccable character”??? Really??? We’re heading into a decline, a collapse, … death, starvation and desperation. School teachers will be had for $20 (like in Greece) or only $2 (like in Venezuela) … not for an hour, but for a whole night… but only if they’re young and pretty! Wink, wink! I’m not joking, this is what happens when society BEGINS to fall apart. When society enters the final Dark Age collapse, values have to change rapidly, or you die, Die, DIE!!!
So from Crapper, here’s a few pointers to expand your imagination. Hate and violence will be winning attributes. That’s right… and that’s only the start. Connect with your inner self and embrace the hate. Then get yourself off to the local fight club and learn how to take a whack to the head without losing one’s senses. This is just the beginning of preparation.
Any community you connect with must look like you - and skin color/colour is EVERYTHING! If you think you’re gonna be accepted by a bunch of people who don’t look like you just because you want to hold their hands and sing Kumbaya then you’re kidding yourself. Racial slaughter is standard fare in a Dark Age.
And one further note to wet those mental juices: where are you gonna get the protein when the famine sets in? Chickens? Yeah, maybe. But they’re best used as bait, for thieves… lots of protein on those “two-legged hogs” we see all around us every day. You think I’m ridiculous? Outrageous? Disgusting? Abhorrent even? Study up on famines as I have. Study Dark Ages throughout history as I have. It opens one’s preconceived ideas of how the world should work and how it does work when the proverbial doo-doo hits the fan.
This civilization is doomed… just like the Titanic. I say crack open a beer and enjoy the show… but be connected with your inner savage for when you must jump on the first life boat, laughing with manic glee at those left behind with a raised middle finger… and enter the dark night of what we once knew.
The Age of Disintegration starts in the coming decade (only a few months away). Our world will change rapidly, and so must our values. What won in the age of ascent will lose in the age of decent. Very sad… but very true.
I’m off to holiday in Southern Europe next week … I’ve decided to get some “teacher education” so I’m all stocked up on $20 notes (just kidding, just kidding!).

My wife, young son and I are out here doing it so it can be done. I’m glad to read that we can check most of the boxes on the list. We have multiple income streams. Wife works part time outside the home. I have income producing investments including one rental property.
Our home is a nice 100 acre property with excellent soils, good variety of hard and soft woods, nice neighbors, and family close by. House is set back and not visible from the road. Lots of deer, turkey, several creeks, and about 20 acres of open pasture on which we graze a few cows and sheep. We have a hay field for winter feed.
We heat only with wood and have very good well water. We are about 20 miles from the town. Close enough to get to without hassle, but far enough to get away from the drama there.
I think we are fairly resilient but there are still lots of things that I see we are lacking in. I rely too much on fossil fuels. I know it. There is no way I could bring the hay in without running the equipment. So this presents a problem if oil becomes scarce. We have no way of preserving meat without electricity either. I have plans to put in a smoke house at some point and would love to dig a root cellar.
Theres just so much to do it sometimes seems overwhelming. Im hoping to have all the major pieces in place before I hit 50 in a few years. Then maybe I could slow down a little, lol.

Bugging out has it’s appeal. There have been people trying that approach sine at least the 70s.

Hi Chris,
Very interesting to hear that you are initiating an investigation into building a new community based on sustainability and resilience. Nine months ago I moved my family from Perth, Western Australia to a lovely area 3 hours south in wine country called Margaret River. I’ve joined a developer there who is building the most amazing resilient community I have ever come across, and we are about to launch the project in a few months. This community of about 400 homes will be self-sufficient in water, power, sewer, and fresh fruit and vegetables.
It’s design is based on permaculture principles and best-practice urban design, where each house is part of a cluster that surrounds a community garden. There is also a commercial village centre where there will be a range of local businesses and public spaces. There is so much more but I won’t go into too much detail. Anyone interested in finding out about it should have a good read through our website: Ecovillage
I hope this provides some useful information and insights into what can be achieved when all the current knowledge we possess is brought to bear. Good luck with your efforts. Cheers Jeff

Try this link

With great interest I just toured the Website and very much like the concept. My one observation is to wish that the lots were larger. With homes and outbuildings and water storage and chicken coops it would seem that slightly larger lots would be in order. With all the activity and tightly packed housing, noise and privacy might become issues. I wonder if privacy fences between the yards are envisioned?
Best of success to you on this venture.

Brushhog: I know what you mean. Sounds like we have similar plots. Yours sounds just a bit larger and no doubt a good bit flatter. :stuck_out_tongue:
It is easy to underestimate how difficult it is to get independence from the system. My wife and I were having a good laugh yesterday over dinner about how many weekend days, week day evenings, etc were spent just putting up tomato sauce, green beans, cherries and pears, etc. And our biggest crop, apples, didn’t come in at all this season.
This is probably not going to be well accepted by some, but I just don’t see how anyone could begin to feed a family on a garden alone. Regardless of size. If it is large enough to feed a family AND have excess capacity for the years when not everything goes right? Then it’s a full time job not something you could do with an evening here and there. Is that realistic when you need one foot in the mainstream economy and one foot in the homesteading one in order to make ends meet?
A good sized orchard helps. I love how they do so much with so little time invested. But I have come to the conclusion that without running stock it is just about impossible to fully unplug. Not that it is an all or nothing proposition. I have made great strides without doing so even though it’s in the mid term plan. All of it worthwhile I think. But being honest I know that without taking that step I’m still tethered to the system.
PS: I have a smokehouse on the drawing board as well. I have always wanted to run a few hogs and learn how to cure my own meat.

I get a “not found” error message when trying to edit. I guess everyone knows what a “websire” is

This community of about 400 homes will be self-sufficient in water, power, sewer, and fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s design is based on permaculture principles and best-practice urban design, where each house is part of a cluster that surrounds a community garden.
I love the planning and the crisp articulation that has gone into the project! Lots of great ideas in there, as well as the complexities (the thinking on pets for example). I wish you the very best of success with that project and would heartily endorse interested Australians to give it a close look. Probably worth a podcast at some point to explore the ideas and shine a light on it? We'd all love to hear about the interest int eh project. Is it robust? Do you think you'll sell it out quickly or will it take years? What sorts of excitement or concerns are interested parties sharing with you? What sorts of cross sections of people are attracted - is it all ageing Hippies or? P.S. I fixed your link in your first comment.  

Yes privacy fencing on the side and low fencing along the street and back boundary interface with the community garden to promote social interaction. There are a broad range of lot sizes to suit different demographics, household sizes and income levels. Smallest are 3500ft2 that would suit singles or couples. Mid size are cottage lots of 4500ft2 for small families. Largest are 10000ft2 lots that suit larger families or garden enthusiasts. Separate to these privately owned areas are ‘exclusive use zones’ within the large common community garden which might add 2000ft2 of useable space to a family lot. These areas are designed for veggie gardens and will receive plentiful water from the large on site reservoirs. The size of the lots needs to be understood in the context of the extensive communal and public spaces surrounding the lots which essentially make up the living environment.

Here’s how I would do it.
#1. Go underground – you can go as deep as you like. Set up a system to tunnel down, and concrete around.
#2. Use human waste + imported nutrients as possible, to make your own STERILE nutrient mix. Best advice there is process it with bacteria both aerobic and anaerobic before pasteurizing.
#3. Use clean-room hydroponics. Look up (Univ. of Pennsy research, also Virginia Polytech Inst) ideal lumens and light cycle for each item, and make sure you supply them. This is power intensive, but you can have a windmill on the outside to produce power. You also have to import CO2; and you need a cleanroom to minimize attacks. You maximize production this way.
#4. Windmill: Best design I know is a concrete concentrating vortex. It has the lowest-energy moving parts, so is most resilient. I can sketch out the basic design, but you have spiral guides that concentrate wind from any direction into the vortex, which dumps to the top. The turbine can be a tesla turbine.
#5. Aside from the clean room, you also have a “nonclean garden”, one below and one above. In these, you keep chickens. Get your seed for the hydroponic area from the gardens above, saving the best seed that keeps up with pests. Your hydroponic farm should have a mix of the last (say) 5 year’s crops.
#6. So far, the hydroponic system does not seem to do well with bees. Honeybees keep trying to escape, maybe due to temperature. You may need to hand-pollinate, or experiment with that area more.
#7. Tunnel. My best suggestion for a tunnel would be to build a TBM with a 2-man electric post-hole digger, and a spiral end. Ever see a baby diaper-disposal with the continuous plastic bag feed? on the side, have a loop of plastic that you fill with concrete as the spiraling feed goes around, and hold in place while it hardens. Use that as the basis for a more solid wall system inside that, that gets installed every few feet.

I’m not sure if this is the right forum for making introductions or suggestions, but I recently listened to a three part podcast interview of Daniel Schmachtenberger covering a lot of the same ground as Peak Prosperity with a solid design science and systems approach to dissecting our problems and proposing solutions. Unfortunately I think his solutions discount human nature and scarcity issues, but he seems to point to some form of intentional community, expanded perhaps to a global scale. Incubator communities like the one Chris discusses here may be the spark if this vision has any hope of rescuing us from ourselves.

Don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to. It’s usually a lot easier to join an existing community than to start a new one. There are lots of communities out there, in the U.S. and around the world. There are many types (try looking for “cohousing,” for example, or check out the website I spent two weeks in August 2019 at the Dancing Rabbit Community in rural Rutledge, Missouri, USA (near Hannibal, MO). Dancing Rabbit has about 50 people currently and is eager for more. They have about 280 acres of land, with lots of space for gardens and animals. They have housing in a variety of sizes and types for rent, and you can also build a house of your own on one of their lots. It’s possible for a single person to live well at Dancing Rabbit on an income of about $8,000-$12,000 USD per year. Couples and families need even less per person. They have excellent broadband internet access, and many residents work online. I had a great time while I was there.

I admire you for all that you have done. How do you imagine this playing out for you as you get older and (maybe)less able to manage the physical aspects of the property? I ask because my husband and I are in that place now - still able to garden and do carpentry/maintenance work (to a point)around the house but envisioning that this will diminish over time.

Paula, thanks for the reminder that many of these communities welcome a visit and/or short stay to get a feel for them. I have periodically looked into some of them but have never visited. I will make that a “to-do” I am interested in hearing about others’ experiences of particular communities and their dynamics.

I felt so much excitement as I read about your project on the website. It hits so many of my buttons conceptually though I haven’t studied the space and dimensions in detail yet. I especially like that it provides living space for people in all stages of life.
Can you explain the practical definition and implications of strata development?
I’m not sure how you or anyone can address how to perpetuate that “like-mindedness” and commitment to the community as time goes on. This is a conundrum I think Chris and all of us will face in this endeavor. And, how do we plan for actually living together in community - how do we create a place where everyone, regardless of age and ability can find purpose and make a contribution without being overbearingly structured? The physical design of the space goes a long way toward promoting all of that and reducing isolation but there would seem to be more to the equation to tease out.
Good luck with this project - if I were in Australia, I’d be visiting it in a heartbeat! Thank you for sharing!

Jeff, I’ve seen the plans for the development and they look amazing.
Back in the 1990s and 2000s, I investigated many permaculture/cohousing options in NSW/Qld/ACT (including Sun Village, Crystal Waters**, Djarlanba, Cows Nest, and a couple of MOs in the Bellinger Valley). After originally “going it alone”–with friends who wanted to come with us but never ended up actually moving–I’ve finally washed up in a great community in NSW–about 20 households with 10Ha of land and within easy walking distance of a small town and public transport. Here’s a short video report on land management from our last AGM.
I wasn’t here for the start–the lead period for development was about 6 years before the first houses startied to be built (10 years ago).
A huge amount of work went into the pratical, logistic, and importantly, the human side. At this stage, earler mistakes are now being recognised, but overall, there has been so much energy and goodwill, and a good framework. I love that all decision-making is consensus-based and respectful. We spend a fair amount of time practising conflict resolution and we’re all lifelong learners. It’s not perfect but I haven’t seen anything better.
Of course this type of living doesn’t suit everyone. It requires co-operation, compromise, good intentions, and giving benefit of the doubt. But the results are fantastic.
** Recently, Crystal Waters released a 90 minute documentary celebrating their 30 year birthday. It’s inspiring.