In the podcast this week, Logan and I talk about what skills we think people should have. To me, it’s not about being an expert in any one thing, it’s about being good at many things. Life isn’t always a black tie affair, it’s more often a daily grind to make ourselves better, something we should never stop working on.
So with a little help from Logan, we came up with our lists of being the best version of ourselves, harder to kill, stronger, smarter. What makes us more likely to not just survive, but thrive in any situation, be it a job interview or the apocalypse? It isn’t always about being the best door kicker, because if it has to get physical, something has most likely gone wrong.
So let’s start out with Logan’s list:
- Conversation – can you talk yourself in or out of something?
- Cause wounds – do you know how to shoot a gun? Use a knife? Can you hunt for your own food? Can you protect yourself and/or your family?
- Heal wounds – do you have basic emergency medicine? We’re not talking about brain surgery, we’re talking about knowing enough to get someone through that “golden hour”, to the expert who can/will save a life.
- Survival – Do you know how to track and kill prey? If you catch it, can you clean and dress it? What parts can be used for what? Can you recognize through tracking when a squad is moving through your area and assess their level of training?
- Escape and Evasion – If words don’t work, do you know how to get out of handcuffs? Zip ties? Find some reputable sources out there to learn and start practicing.
- Analysis – Once you gather information (about your surroundings, your situation), what do you do with it? Can you assess an enemy from a friend? Do you have the ability to sift through many data points and make informed assessments?
And Ally’s list:
- Understand your digital footprint – anything that hits the internet stays on the internet forever, no matter how many times you think you’ve deleted it.
- How to change a tire/work on a car – can you name everything under the hood of a car (minus a Tesla maybe)? Can you change your oil? Can you change a tire?
- Verbal Judo/Conversation – Similar to what Logan said above, but also, can you use the art of verbal judo to talk your way in or out of something? Can you understand human dynamics, read someone’s body language, and then use that information in your conversation?
- Adaptation – the world around us is constantly changing, can you adapt to that? Can you put yourself in an uncomfortable situation and thrive?
- Hunger (to learn, to grow, become better, etc.) – Do you have a desire to make yourself a better person? To learn something new?
In the podcast we mention Virginia Hall, a former OSS operative who was one of the most important spies of WWII. A brief background on Virginia Hall and why she is such an influential person, but yet not many people have heard of her. Hall was born in Baltimore into a wealthy family – her whole life was essentially planned for her. But she wanted adventure. She attended school in Paris and decided she wanted to become a diplomat, but received pushback from the State Department. She ended up in a clerical position at a U.S. consulate in Turkey, but lost half her leg in a hunting accident, leaving her with a clunky wooden leg, which she named Cuthbert. After the war started, she volunteered to drive an ambulance for the French, but with France overrun, she was forced to flee to Britain, where she got involved with British intelligence. She returned then back to France posing as a reported for the New York Post. Her spying career, operating much of her time out of Lyon was extremely successful, and she was described as “The Enemy’s Most Dangerous Spy” at one point.
Her narrow escape from the Nazis in France included a 50 mile walk (remember, she had a wooden leg), through heavy snow in the Pyrenees Mountains. She was arrested in Spain but eventually released where she returned to Britain, who refused to let her back into France because of her notoriety (she was nicknamed “The Limping Lady”). So, she got involved with the American’s intelligence service, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and was even more successful than her first tour.
Hall was presented with the Distinguished Service Cross by William “Wild Bill” Donovan, the head of the Office of Strategic Services. President Truman offered to host a public ceremony at the White House, but Hall refused because she wanted to remain undercover. She ultimately retired in 1966 and never spoke publicly.
Hall was humble, she never wanted to talk about her experiences and didn’t care about the awards; she was hard working, always pushing to get back into theater; and she was always adapting, be it new costumes, new personas, whatever she needed to be successful. She had every reason to be down on herself, to go back home to her privileged life, but she didn’t want that, she wanted adventure, she wanted to make a difference.
Basically, she’s my girl crush.