23 Best Prepping Quotes From History To Motivate & Inspire

By Just In Case Jack | Last Updated: May 29, 2023

After reading today’s prepper quotes article, you’ll be more motivated and confident in your preps.

Why? Because I’m going to share all my favorite quotes related to prepping.

I’m a bit of a “collector of quotes” and enjoy dissecting their meaning.

I’ll also share my thoughts on these quotes (like what they mean to me and why they matter).

NOTE: You can either continue to read this article OR watch the following video (both cover the same content):

↓ 23 Best Prepping Quotes From History To Motivation & Inspire ↓

Ok, let’s jump into the first quote.

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Teddy Roosevelt

If you’re an American, you already know the sort of man Teddy Roosevelt was.

He was the 26th President of the United States and was an avid hunter, explorer, and adventurer.

He obviously understood the extreme value of being prepared with the following prepper quote:

1. “Make preparations in advance … you never have trouble if you are prepared for it.”

It’s a simple short quote that hits you directly in the face.

Prepare in advance or prepare for trouble – you choose.

George S. Patton

George S. Patton is another famous American known as an exuberant and triumphant WWII general.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that some of the most successful historical generals understood the power of preparedness.

It’s a job where your preparedness (or lack of it) is continuously being tested.

War generals have ACTUAL skin in the game, whereas preparedness can mean the difference between success and death.

Here’s Patton’s best quote related to being prepared:

2. “Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.”

Of course, the future is unforeseeable and unpredictable, especially disasters and rare Black Swan-Type events.

This includes wars.

That’s best war generals are obsessed with the tactics and strategies of past generals.

It’s all about mental preparedness, like playing a deadly chess game.

You can only become a master if you analyze the past champions, why they moved when they did, or how they got fooled by their enemy.

The bottom line is:

Patton understood the immense power of preparing for the unknowable future.

Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan was best known as an astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, and science communicator.

Now, I have no idea if Carl Sagan was a prepper or not, but this quote of his is sure profound and related to preparedness:

3. “Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.”

Carl understood how amazing it is that we’ve survived to this point.

That humans survived long enough to communicate and share our experiences.

But we should not just rejoice in that fact; we must remain vigilant and ready for the unknowable future.

To be resilient to any future disaster and have any hope of continuing to be the exception and not become the rule.

The Holy Bible

Of course, the Bible has several wise quotations about the virtues of preparedness and prudence.

The Bible is chock-full of real-world wisdom IF you take the time to read it and understand it.

You’ll find much wisdom related to preparedness in the Book of Proverbs.

What’s a proverb? It’s a short, pithy truth or piece of advice:

Here are three “proverbs” to ponder:

4. Proverbs 28:19 – “He who works the land will have abundant food, but the ones who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.”
5. Proverbs 27:12 – “A prudent person takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”
6. Proverbs 21:20 – “In a house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.”

So, as you can tell, all three of these biblical quotes are related to working hard, being prudent (especially when times are good), and curbing your human appetites by storing some of your food and treasure for the future.

Stephen King

Stephen King is one of my all-time favorite fiction writers.

He intertwines deep and complex characters with intriguing, mind-bending circumstances.

He’s known for such books as:

The Stand, The Shining, IT, Needful Things, Carrie, Salem’s Lot, and The Dark Tower Series – to name a few.

Stephen’s got one of the best imaginations in the world, so when he speaks of preparedness, I listen:

7. “There’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.”

What’s interesting is if you flip the logic of the quote.

It’s essentially saying that if you avoid preparing for the worst, there’s actual harm in hoping for the best.

Let THAT sink in for a minute…

The harm is foolishly and blindly relying on hope instead of preparedness first.

Only after you’re “ready” is the idea of hope (peace, prosperity, etc.) harmless.

Spencer W. Kimball

Spencer Kimball was an American business, civic, and religious leader in the 20th century.

He was the twelfth president of “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.”

Of course, the Ladder-Day Saints are known for taking preps seriously.

So, it’s not surprising to find the following prepping quote from one of their leaders:

8. “Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program.”

This quote gets to the heart of what I call “Living A Resilient Life.”

It’s not something you do in a flurry and then abandon.

It’s a way of life; you work on it gradually over time by building up your stockpiles, skills, and knowledge daily.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out “The Resilient Life” It’s a community of folks working on their own preparedness journey.

It’s a program that teaches, motivates, and allows you to track your preparedness progress.

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin is full of pithy one-liners.

They are common sense wisdom summed up clearly, and concisely, making them easy to remember.

So, if you ever come across someone who thinks “preparedness” is for wackos, then bust out the following quotes to shut them up:

9. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
10. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
11. “When the well is dry, you know the worth of water.”

It amazes me just how much wisdom is in such few words.

He understood the value of preparedness and conveyed it in a way that ended all counterarguments.

Essentially, being prepared, being resilient is a wise way to live.

Abraham Lincoln

The next preparedness quote is from the 16th President of the United States – Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln was known as one of the best American Presidents for guiding a nation through a civil war and all the turmoil that comes with it.

He was a humble man who grew up in extreme poverty.

But those early years and struggles taught him the value of self-reliance, hard work, and preparation.

For example, he once said:

12. “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Given any challenging task, he would spend most of his time preparing for it rather than doing it.

He understood the immense value of preparation – how it can often lead to better results with less effort.

Work smarter – not harder – great for prepping as well as all sorts of challenges in life.

Bob Knight

Bob Knight, you either love him or hate him.

He’s known for being one of basketball’s most successful and innovative coaches.

He led the Indiana men’s basketball team to three NCAA championships, one NIT championship, and 11 Big Ten Conference championships.

And if you follow college basketball at all, you know he had anger management issues and even famously threw a chair onto the basketball court during a game.

But as far as preparation goes, he also said:

13. “I don’t believe in luck; I believe in preparation.”

Or you make your own luck by preparing.

Heck, if luck falls in your lap, you can only take full advantage of it IF you’re ready.

Otherwise, you’ll likely fritter away the good fortune, missing a great opportunity.

Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell was a Scottish-born inventor, scientist, and engineer credited with inventing the telephone.

He also co-founded AT&T in 1885.

He understood the value of hard work, dedication, and preparedness by all measures.

He famously said this prepping quote:

14. “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”

If you want success in ANYTHING, you must prepare for it.

He was talking about “success” and not necessarily “prepping,” but the same idea applies.

To be resilient and survive any future obstacles, you must prepare beforehand.


John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States.

He served at the height of the cold war, and most of his work dealt with tensions between the Soviet Union and Cuba.

And he understood the value of preparedness with the following prepping quote:

15. “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”

He’s right.

The time to prepare is NOT after the disaster has arrived.

AFTER is too late.

I witnessed this firsthand as the Covid-19 pandemic arrived in the United States.

By the time EVERYONE was freaking out, survival gas masks, water containers, freeze-dried food supplies, medical supplies, etc., were all GONE.

AND prices on these critical pieces of survival gear were going through the roof.

There is a severe penalty to being complacent when times are calm.

Seneca the Younger

Ok, anyone who’s a member of our survival and preparedness community, “The Resilient Life,” knows I’m a massive fan of the philosophy of Stoicism.

It’s an ancient way to live, rooted in training to be mentally resilient to all future obstacles and frustrations.

It helps to put the challenges and struggles in life into perspective.

I think it is the best way to PREPARE for future turmoil MENTALLY.

Seneca the Younger was born in 4 BC and is credited with significantly contributing to Stoic ideas:

16. “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

So luck is NOT random.

It happens to those who put themselves in a position to take advantage of it.

17.  “The person who anticipated the coming of troubles takes away their power when they arrive.”

I love this quote.

That’s what preparedness is all about, removing the power troubles have over you.

Preparing is ALL about increasing confidence, and reducing anxiety NOW.

And not being “paranoid” but “vigilant.”

It’s not a matter of IF future turmoil is coming; it’s just a matter of WHEN.

18. “Everyone faces up more bravely to a thing for which he has long prepared himself, sufferings, even being withstood if they have been trained for in advance. Those who are unprepared, on the other hand, are panic-stricken by the most insignificant happenings.”

I love the part about “the unprepared being “panic-stricken” by the most insignificant happenings.”

Because preparing not only provides benefits for extreme future turmoil and allows you to put every day “insignificant happenings” in their proper perspective.

You become less anxious, worried, and less fragile when you live a resilient life.

19. “It is in times of security that the spirit should be preparing itself to deal with difficult times; while fortune is bestowing favors on it then is the time for it to be strengthened against her rebuffs.”

This prepping quote is similar to what John F. Kenney said.

Many modern historical quotes have roots in ancient wisdom.

20. “Set aside now and then a number of days during which you will be content with the plainest of food, and very little of it, and with rough, coarse clothing, and will ask yourself, “Is this what one used to dread”?”

This final Seneca quote is pure Stoicism.

You can strengthen your mental resiliency by occasionally abandoning modern-day luxuries.

Spend some time eating plain food, fasting, wearing rags, sleeping on hard floors, taking cold showers, etc.

Doing this does three things for you:

  1. First, it makes you realize that living without extreme luxuries is not as TERRIBLE as you make them out. Sure, it’s not ideal and uncomfortable, but it’s not something to dread and fret about continuously.
  2. Second, it also helps you APPRECIATE and ENJOY these luxuries more. It is sort of like cleansing your “luxury” palate. You feel more blessed and more grateful for the basic amenities in your life.
  3. And third, you can’t be grateful and angry simultaneously. The more gratitude you feel, the happier person you are. In my opinion, gratitude is the ultimate secret to happiness.

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius was the Roman emperor from 161 to 180 and is considered one of Stoicism’s most famous students.

His journals have survived, and we glimpse his daily mental challenges and stoic practices.

Here’s one of his best prepper quotes:

21. “The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing, in so far as it stands ready against the accidental and the unforeseen and is not apt to fall.”

I think what he’s saying is that to “live a good life,” you must always stand ready against the accidental and unforeseen.

And this is more like wrestling (via hard work and dedication) than dancing (having fun).

Or perhaps he’s saying – it’s better to invest in prudence first, then to relax and enjoy life, instead of vice versa.

Howard Ruff

Howard Ruff was a financial advisor and author.

He wrote such books as “How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years” and “Survive and Win in the Inflationary Eighties.”

Howard understood the importance of preparing for the unknowable future and how history is full of tumultuous times.

He sums it all up with this prepping quote:

22. “It wasn’t raining when Noah Built the Ark.”

Before hearing this quote, I’d never thought of Noah’s Ark Story in that way.

But much of the wisdom in the Bible is not spelled out explicitly.

You must “read” between the lines to unlock the immense wisdom within.

Noah’s Ark is more than just about preparedness; trust and preparation are big underlying themes.

Chinese Proverb

Next is another proverb, but instead of the Bible, it’s an ancient Chinese one.

Because living a resilient life and preparing is NOT just a Western idea.

Its roots can be found in all ancient philosophies.

That’s proof that it’s one of the BEST ways to live.

23. “Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

It’s so true.

And it reminds me of another quote by Teddy Roosevelt:

“Complain about a problem without posing a solution is called whining.”

When you find yourself in a difficult situation – cursing is less than worthless.

It’s pathetic.

And here’s the deal, you can only light a candle in the dark IF you have a candle and a flame.

That’s preparedness; that’s doing something about future turmoil BEFORE it arrives.

Prepare, Adapt & Overcome,

  • Cofounder Of Skilledsurvival.com & TheResilientLife.com
  • Born & Raised On A Rural Farm In The Midwest
  • Mechanical Engineering Grad From A Major University
  • Engineer With A Major Food Manufacturing Company
  • 10+ Years Researching, Writing, & Teaching Preparedness
  • Mission: Help Folks Stop Living A Life Fragile To The Future
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