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Get Ready, Get Resilient

Are you resilient? How about we put your answer to the test, literally.

Now, we know that assessment is always an important, albeit imperfect, subjective, and incomplete tool.

In order to understand one’s skill in living a resilient lifestyle, Ben Falk, author of the award-winning The Resilient Farm and Homestead, developed the following assessment tool. This test is useful in identifying strong points—where one can help others most directly, and weak areas—where the lowest hanging fruit is. Developing skills as rapidly and thoroughly as possible requires that we focus on the weakest links in ourselves, which raises the function of the whole system most easily. Since we only have so much time and energy, being strategic with these precious resources is key.

The results of the test below should not be taken literally but as an indicator of patterns. As you go through the test, notice in what areas you are strongest and in what areas you are weakest. Think about how these strengths can help others around you. How can you share them? In what areas do you need someone else to learn from? Please note the value placed not on hard skills per se but on the aptitude to develop them when necessary. Also note that these skills, like Falk’s book itself, are specific to the his lifestyle and setting—a rural cold-climate homestead in Vermont.

This test is useful in other contexts, but it must be modified accordingly. In that regard, think of the test as a template from which to make your own assessment tools.

Ranking (out of a possible 4,685 points)

  • 4,000+:                      Likely adaptable to major change, likely an asset to any community, should likely be facilitating other people’s learning and sharing skills and resources
  • 3,000–3,999:          Probably adaptable to changing conditions, a likely asset to most communities with much to share
  • 2,000–2,999:          Adaptive patterns to work from, positioned to become highly resilient
  • 1,000–1,999:           Some resilient tendencies to build on
  • 0–999:                       Average American—a liability until major changes are undertake

As with all tests, the breadth and depth of what can be measured by this evaluation is very limited. The point of this “test” is to help you identify areas in which you have sound skills and those areas that would be most strategic to work on.

Scoring your evaluation should be done in the following manner:

  1. Read the question, and think about how competent you are at the skill described.
  2. Mark a number corresponding with that competence. This gets subjective, but do your best. For instance, say the points available are 10 for the question of “Can you weld?” If you could probably cob together a poor weld because you’ve tried it once, mark 3 to 5. If you can do a satisfactory job with basic welding tools, mark a 10. If you can weld with an array of welding equipment very well, mark a 15.

The scoring should be done in a weighted manner, with a maximum of 50 percent more points possible than shown as a baseline for each skill area.


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