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Being calm

I like to think of myself as a quick learner. I like to look at situations, even ones I have not been in before, and see solutions to problems. I don’t want to spend too much time getting up to speed because when it comes down to it I just can’t learn everything.

I do believe there are certain skills that everyone should learm, certain things that you should practise and gain experience but there are many, many more that we just don’t have the time, many of them we just cannot practise anyway. After all how can you practise on a head injury, or practise subdueing or killing another human being whilst defending your home.

In reality though there are still things we can do whilst knowing the basics and using common sense, a rare sense in modern times. Things that won’t prepare you properly or enable you to do a good job but you can practise on pretend patients for example. The problem is that in a real situation there will be blood, screaming, people will be struggling and because you are not an expert your limited experience will be overshadowed by panic and uncertainty.

In reality there is very little you can do about the situation. There is no way your inexperience can equate with someone who have been doing this role as a job or has been doing the role for a long time. Practise really does make perfect.

The one thing that you can do though and that is remain calm, no matter what the situation is panic will always make it worse. Calm has a calming effect on people as well, as well as panic but if you can remain calm whilst the world falls apart you will end up in a better situation, even without experience than someone with the same level of experience who does not remain calm.

Being calm is learned. It is something else you have to practise but in my view it is more important than almost any other learned skill.

I can only speak for myself and this is what I do. When things start to happen, and I start to lose control of the situation I say to myself. Disengage panic mode. Calm down, stop what you are doing and calm down. Think about what is going on, pick the most important task and work on that to the exclusion of anything else. Break tasks down and allocate them out if you can. Use others skills and if someone else is panicking then calm them down. Panic is infectious. Repeat until done. It may not be the best way, nor the most efficient but it will be much better than when panic is leading the way. I can assure you of that.

Many time in my life I have seen people panic and screw things up when there was no need.

3 comments to Being calm

  • fred

    Calm can be an automatic fear reaction. Inner panic can kill just as much.

  • Paul

    I don’t do calm. I did a course to learn calm in the face of aggression or disaster but it didn’t work.
    I got a certificate, tried to apply it’s principles in my work, and found you just can’t apply or force calm to the general public especially if there is media influence, drugs, alcohol, or emotion present.

    Now, I’m purely reactive and just follow my training and instincts especially when dealing with that most unpredictable animal, MAN aka sheeple and their guardians TPTB.

    Calm only really works when you are on your own or in a small team i.e. if you are lost, use the acronym S.T.O.P.D.

    ‘S’it down and take a breath. Carrying on when lost for instance is useless as the more you blunder on, the more chance you have of getting more lost.

    ‘T’hink what is going on and what you have to achieve. In this case where am I and how do I get “unlost”?

    ‘O’bserve, working out what resources you have to work with.
    It could be you need shelter. What is available?

    ‘P’lan what to do with the information and resources you have built up.

    People used to the basic survival acronym of S.T.O.P. will be wondering about the ‘D’.

    For me it stands for DAMN!
    Thats the point when your plan goes wrong and you need to rethink the situation.

  • Skean Dhude

    fred,

    that is not calm. That is frozen in fear. A rabbit in the headlights.

    Paul,

    I wasn’t really looking at those sorts of circumstances. More of when someone is injured, something happens and you need to react but are panicking. Training helps because it become automatic but we can’t all be trained for everything so training, as such, for calm is good generally.

    Your STOPD is something I’ve not heard before but is pretty much what I meant.

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