Becoming bullet proof

“Becoming bullet proof” written by former Secret Service Agent, Evy Poumpouras is the blueprint of a stronger version of yourself.

            Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves define emotional intelligence as the link between you and others, between what you want and what the others want and need.

Just as emotional intelligence, “Becoming Bullet Proof” teaches us how to protect ourselves mentally and physically. Once we’re accomplished that, we can, then, move on to reading people. That’s the key to gain the most out of every relationship.

 

Bullet Proof Yourself

Becoming bullet proof

Fight

becoming bullet proof

Flight

becoming bullet proof

Freeze

Which one are you?

One way of getting to know yourself and use that to your advantage is to determine your actions according to F3

Fight

 Flight

Freeze

Evy tells us about an instance when she was young. She came home with her mother to find their house had been robbed.

The first thing she did was to look inside the house. She wanted to find the burglar and teach him a lesson.

From the story, we understand that Evy’s response was “Fight”.

Her mother, on the other hand, was frozen by fear.

When something happens to us, we respond in one of these three ways:

  • we either freeze, not knowing what to do
  • run away to avoid conflict
  • stay and fight, facing whatever comes at us head-on

The way we react in one situation is the way react in all situations. It’s the actions we take, the words we use, our behavior, and the consequences that go along with it.

Identify your initial response type to see whether it serves in your best interest. Next, practice self-control and improve upon the weak spot.

 

What are you after?

There are situations when walking away is the right thing to do.

You just have to figure out what’s the best way, depending on the outcome you are looking for.

            Ask yourself: what do you wish to accomplish?

What exactly are you to gain or to lose if you decide to take one step or another?

            Your goal will decide the best course of action for you.

Just as James Carse says it in the Finite and Infinite Games”:

in a finite game, the rules stay the same. In an infinite game, the rules change constantly. It all depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

Are you a finite player, looking for a short victory or an infinite player, looking at the big picture?

 

Bullet proof yourself by getting outside our comfort zone

When something new happens, our brain freaks out. Then, it goes into a protection mode and brings us right back to our comfort zone.

The irony is that only outside of our comfort zones is where development and progress occur.

If we want to develop and strengthen ourselves, we should look for challenging situations. The more we expose ourselves to uncomfortable situations, the stronger we become.

Becoming bullet proof

Becoming bullet proof

If you fear public speaking, sign up for a public speaking class. Is it scary? You bet!

However, the embarrassment is only in the beginning. Practice makes it perfect. The more you practice, the less embarrassed you feel.

 

Prepare in advance

When you prepare in advance, you have the upper hand.

            For example: learn about the company you apply for, about their culture and the people working there before you decide to become part of their team.

Becoming bullet proof

            Do your due diligence. This way, you leave very little to chance. That gives you also a peace of mind and helps you to handle a situation in an optimal way.

 

Bullet proof your physical surroundings!

Get to know your environment! This way, you are more likely to notice anything unusual. Make it as safe as possible.

  • your entrance and exit points
  • make sure you have plenty of exterior lighting. “A well-lit house is a safe home”, as Evy puts it.
  • prevent people from looking inside your house by planting bushes and trees. Just make sure it doesn’t obstruct your vision of the outside world, just the outside world from looking in
  • keep windows and doors locked
  • close your curtains
  • your trash can tell outside people about what’s in your house. The next time you put an empty box of an Apple computer, you might want to cut it into small pieces and put it in a dark trash bag
  • know your neighbors
  • guard dogs are a great defense mechanism

Preparing yourself in advance will give you the advantage of going into a situation with a much better chance of coming out on top.

 

Become an expert at reading people

Avoid generalization! Don’t think that behavior in any given situation is typical for everyone.

            Avoiding eye contact doesn’t necessarily mean you are lying.

Identify people’s baseline. It’s the only way to refrain from wrongly judging anyone you come into contact with.

Identifying the baseline means to know people when they are in a calm state. This way, any deviation from their calm state tells you something about them.

You observe people in their calm state by making idle chit-chat.

Begin with a safe topic that gets people relaxed and then pay close attention. Observe how a person is holding themselves while discussing something easy and straightforward.

 

Becoming bullet proof means studying

Study people at their baseline. This way, you start noticing deviations from their normal behavior. Those deviations are the answers you are looking for.

 

Become invincible

Dale Carnegie, in “How to win friends and influence people” tells us best: our most favorite subject in the world is ourselves.

We love to talk about ourselves morning, noon, and night.

This means that, in order to become invincible, we have to master the art of listening.

Chris Voss teaches us in his “Never Split the Difference” how to get to know other people by using labels, mirrors, and calibrated questions.

Listen without getting emotional what the other person says.

Master your poker face – it doesn’t mean you have to sit there emotionless while people are talking to you. It means you have to get emotions out of the way in order to get the results you want.

Be attentive! Don’t roll your eyes! Don’t make faces!

Your goal is to get information. In order to do that, you have to leave your emotions out of it.

Expressing emotions, either through words or body language can prevent you from reaching your goal.

 

It’s not what you say, but how you say it

Your tone is as important as the message you’re conveying.

Having a fast pace in speech can mean nervousness.  Speaking at a slower pace can exude power and confidence.

Don’t be afraid to use silence. Say what you have to say and let the other person digest the information. Silence is not necessarily a bad thing.

As Chris Voss tells us in “Never Split the Difference”, there are three types of people: assertive, accommodators, and analysts.

Always avoid being the assessor!

The accommodators enjoy filling up every silent moment in a conversation.

The analyst welcomes silence in order to digest the information and reach conclusions.

            Being silent means to get your message across and wait silently for the information to sink in.

 

Becoming popular and stronger

Make the other feel special

We all want to feel special. That means to give other people your undivided attention.

When you are going in for a meeting, make sure your mobile phone is not in the room. Even the fact that you choose to put next to you might throw people off.

Make it a habit of being in the moment. Don’t think of other things you have to do.

Listen and pay attention. Isn’t that the same thing we wish for others to do while we’re talking?

 

Learn people’s names

As Dale Carnegie in “How to win friends and influence people” so nicely says: “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language”.

 

Become strategic

Hanns Joachim Scharff, a German military strategist, interrogated during World War II, more than five hundred captured Allied fighter pilots. His techniques for getting prisoners to talk were very effective. They are now taught in the top interview training corners around the world.

The technique he used is quite simple. He

  1. adopted a friendly approach, by spending time with the prisoners at cafes or strolls through the woods.
  2. never directly pressed them for information, but rather allowed their conversations to flow naturally
  3. spoke with the confidence of “knowing it all”, which lessened the prisoner’s need to remain guarded
  4. purposely misstated facts to see whether the prisoners would correct him or add new details
  5. never showed shock or surprise when new pieces of information made their way into the conversation. He always maintained an air of calmness and composure.

Takeaways

“Becoming bullet proof” is an account of a life of experience in the secret agent role of Evy Poumpouras.

Her writing, much as her advice, flows naturally. The tone is sincere. Her modesty, despite her experience, is transparent.

Her advice helps us understand that it’s because of the people and situations in our lives that we get the chance to become bullet proof and not in spite of them.

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Becoming bullet proof

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Pros

  • Fresh advice
  • Great insight into the human mind
  • Explanations easy to follow
  • Example after example of practical experience

Cons

  • A lot of information to digest
  • Must be read more than once to use the teachings

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