Rules for survival come in all shapes and sizes. Some rules only apply to certain situations.
Don’t bring up a problem without having a potential solution and never embarrass your boss in front of people higher up in the structure are two rules that primarily apply in the work place.
Some rules for survival are primarily defensive.
Don’t go a a second location with someone you just met. Had a bunch of drinks? Double down on the first rule.
My mom, like a lot of moms, is a pragmatist. My mom is also a bit bloody-minded and a bit of a badass.
When she was 75 she repelled a push-in home invasion by slamming her full steel front entry door on the guy’s hand and then shutting it after he leapt back in pain.
Find two weapons in this room is a game we used to play at my house. Not to make it sound like my mother did this to a toddler, but I’m old enough to not be able to remember when we started this as a thought exercise.
And for the record, there are a lot more weapons in any given room then you might think.
We’ve been watching more TV that we might otherwise watch during ”these unprecedented times.” This how we ended up watching the first three seasons of Wynonna Earp (Netflix; Syfy originally). Imagine Buffy the Vampire Slayer only with less heterosexual male gaze, a ton more sass, and gorgeous western Canadian landscapes.
CurrentMe has been wondering what PastMe was thinking ignoring this show for the first three seasons.
The short version: Wyatt Earp pissed off a demon and as a result the first-born heir in each generation since has been cursed with having to put down Wyatt’s kills, who rise from Hell as revenants upon the death of the previous generation’s heir.
Wynonna is the black sheep of her generation. The second born, never meant to be the heir, wild-child dealing with a lot of unresolved trauma stemming from the fact that she accidentally shot and killed her alcoholic, abusive father while revenants were kidnapping her older sister Willa, the rightful heir in her generation.
Upon her uncle’s death, Wynonna returns to Purgatory and to her sister Waverly, who maybe isn’t actually an Earp.
It doesn’t spoil anything to say that at the beginning of the second second Wynonna finds herself in trouble. It’s during this episode she remembers her mama’s rules for survival.
One: Don’t panic
As a first rule, don’t panic makes a lot of sense. Panic serves no purpose other than to draw energy. It also causes you to miss things.
Two: Assess the situation calmly
Evaluating your situation without emotion allows you to take a realistic look at your options.
Three: Take inventory
What do you have that you can use? What is around you that can help? What is your physical condition? Is the environment – your location, the weather, the time of day – working for your or against you?
All three of these rules make complete sense, especially if you’re trying to physically survive. Where they lack is in what I’m going to call
Four: Figure out your goal
You can’t do the thing without knowing what the thing is you’re trying to do.
Focus on your goal and your goal alone. Others may be ignoring rules 1 and 2 and may try to take you down with them.
If you know what your goal is, these rules are flexible enough to apply to almost any life situation.
Presenting to your boss’ boss’ boss unexpectedly?
- Don’t panic. That big boss is just a person, like you.
- Assess the situation without emotion. That big boss is probably just bored or has heard good things about you. Maybe assume the best.
- What tools do you have that will help you? Probably there’s a slide deck involved. Maybe you’re 20 minutes deep into a 45 minute presentation. You’ve practiced this, you can summarize.
- What’s your goal? If it isn’t “Don’t embarrass your leadership” you might want to think again.
These rules also apply to the new reality of social interactions.
Yeah, some people aren’t going to wear masks, and some don’t fucking get that the reality of “keep back 6ft/2M” is that maybe you have to wait to get the thing off the shelf where I’m getting a thing off a shelf.
If you keep the goal – don’t get COVID – in mind, there are still ways you can deal with their behavior that don’t involve going all raging self-important asshole in a store.
My life is, objectively, pretty good. The curse of my imagination and the skill of that inner critic regularly torture me with “what if…” and it’s getting really boring.
For me, the struggle is how to move from surviving to thriving, and how these rules relate to that challenge.