Survival and preparedness entail a lot more than just acquiring a whole bunch of supplies. You need to be in good physical condition, have some training under your belt, and be ready to use all your training, education, and experience at a moment’s notice when the balloon goes up. One of the things we take for granted, however, is that daily situations can be used to our advantage and test how we respond. Let’s start with this:
- Situations arise that require tact, diplomacy, and the ability to keep a cool head, and
- It is more than just a “test,” as it can train you to better respond to people and situations that arise.
- The situation can also let you assess how you did, and give you the basis to make an improvement in the future.
- There is an art of camouflage daily to be used prior to the “S” hitting the fan.
Let’s get started! I want to give you an illustration of something that happened to yours truly.
I have an “out of the way” place in one of the local towns that I frequent to write. On this day (no different than any other), I set up my laptop and materials in a quiet area. I went out to my vehicle to grab my coffee. As I came back, the person who owned this facility motioned me to come over.
“I just wanted to talk to you. We have tenants who just took an office in this facility. They see you writing and they’re afraid of you. They think you’re homeless, and they’re scared of you.”
Shocked, I said, “Did I do anything that upset any of these people?”
“No, not at all,” said the facility owner, “it’s just that they see you sitting close to the entrance and they feel nervous. We know you here, and I’m not asking you to leave: just to sit in that area over there where most of the other people sit,” the person said, indicating a common area with tables and chairs.
I was pretty ticked off, but I smiled on the outside and took in a deep breath on the inside.
“So, you just want me to sit over there? Sure. Anything else I can do?”
“Well,” said the owner, “we all know here that you’re a writer, but these people don’t know that, so in a few days when you’re set up, I’ll bring some of the supervisors around to meet you…you know, and then they’ll know that everything is all right.”
I smiled, and said, “No problem.” I mentioned a thing I had done a week before to help this owner, and the owner acknowledged it. “I’ll always be part of the solution, not the problem. I’ll be more than happy to allay their fears.”
The owner beamed, thanking me and assuring me that it was nothing that I had done and nothing personal or against me. The owner then mentioned a few other tenants in the facility that had spoken up on my behalf (since they had known me for quite some time), and then the owner thanked me once more.
As yet, I haven’t met any of these people, but it is business as usual, with me not making a big deal out of it (even though some of the people who had spoken on my behalf were mortified at what the owner had said…all of that in front of them.
Here is this for you as well:
“If you have overcome your inclination and not been overcome by it, you have reason to rejoice.” – Titus Maccius Plautus, Roman playwright
My initial reaction was one of anger. Once again, a prime example of the superficial nature of our society manifested itself. Not only that, but I am clean-cut, dress neatly and conservatively, and am quieter than quiet in my public endeavors. I am not ever a “stand-out” in a crowd. There was no reason for anyone to feel any “angst” with my presence, as the only thing I do when I’m writing is drinking coffee and pound the keys. Yet they did. Chalk it up to another stultifying experience that leaves one feeling as if they are shell-shocked when they did absolutely nothing. Chalk one up to the way the “herd” mentality is of humanity.
What I did that kept the anger under control was that I thought of the situation, and I thought of the other people in the area. I did not want to make them look bad because I was not in control of my anger. As it stands, by listening to the owner, keeping my mouth shut, and agreeing to do what it took to make the situation right…. these were the elements that saw me through.
Camouflage yourself in your everyday life: anything “different” can be perceived as a threat against the herd, and the herd is not a herd of cattle but a pack of wolves.
There are not many places to work undisturbed if you come into any town for the day to do some work here in Montana…they’re few and far in between. What’s more: why make an enemy or a malcontent? I could stand up and protest, use the “First Amendment” clause, and still lose the battle. But a little bit of diplomacy, tact, and discretion enabled me to not go around the problem, but work through it.
What we do in situations determines the shape of things that happen to us in the future. I wished to share this example not to present myself as the “apex” of control, but to show that control of oneself can be maintained with effort, and it’s good training. It is far better to be disciplined in this regard than allow things to fall apart in between the ears. I leave you with this last thing, and bid you “good luck” in situations you face that are as mine. Make them training events, and you’ll benefit from the challenge. JJ out!
“Say not always what you know, but always know what you say.” – Roman Emperor Claudius