Copyright ©2012 Cynthia J. Koelker, MD
Last night I shared dinner with another doctor on my “Front Porch Book Tour.” One of the topics we discussed was “the 13%” – are you a member?
In any life-threatening crisis – potentially lethal, but potentially survivable – only 13% will make it on their own. That’s little over 1 in 10. Will you survive? Some, perhaps an equal fraction, will succumb immediately. The majority will wait for rescue, or possibly for a leader to emerge. Only 13% will “get it,” that is, will recognize the situation and be prepared to act.
In speaking with family and friends, I’d say 13% is about the right number, or perhaps an overestimate. Consider the question of food: if the grocery stores are empty, what will you do? Likely, as a reader of this blog, you’re prepared, at least for a matter of days or weeks. But what about others, those who may view you as a crackpot? The most common argument against procuring a month of supplies is that it’s unnecessary. Beyond that, cost is a concern, but for only a dollar you can purchase enough Ramen noodles to supply enough calories for a day. To that add a bottle of generic vitamins and some raisin bran, rice, and beans and for $50, you can survive for a month. Who can’t afford a one-time investment of $50? Your cell phone or cable bill is likely more.
That middle majority is a scary crowd, but who are they? It’s not just children and the elderly. America has developed the mindset that someone else – the government, the employer, perhaps the church – should meet their needs. Could this be a factor in the unemployment rate? Those on unemployment for extended periods are not likely part of the 13%.
Can the 13% care for the remaining 87%? I think not. Again, consider food storage. Do you have the space and means to acquire 10 times as much?
The big question is, can that middle majority be moved to action? If not, how can the 13% be enabled to do more? (Whether the 13% have the responsibility to do so is another question.)
If you’re reading this, you’re likely a leader – whether you know it or not. At a minimum you’re thinking ahead. You’re at least considering whether to take action. Medically speaking, you’re likely more prepared than most, or working toward that goal.
I’ve been impressed with the people who’ve attended my classes to date. They are part of the 13%. These people are leaders; I’ve seen it in them. They’ve taken the initiative to prepare, and not only for their own good. They’ve spoken openly about helping their families, their communities, and others in need.
Are leaders born or made? I think you have a choice. Join the 13% – we need you desperately.