A few years back, almost 30 now I guess, I was a firearms instructor and was at the range with several officers who needed to complete their annual qualifications. Keeping in mind that most shooters, in my experience, paid attention and tried to shoot their best, with understandable concern about their score. After all, if they failed to qualify then their police powers would be suspended unless they came back for remediation and managed to qualify on a second attempt.

On one of those range days, we had an officer who looked almost bored. All the other officers were mildly stressed and paying careful attention. They were working hard to shoot their best scores while this other guy… he just looked like he would rather be anywhere else. He honestly looked bored. Shooting was shooting and whooped dee do seemed his outlook. Interestingly, he shot a better score than any of the other officers. He shot 98% or better like it was easy, but he never shot 100%.

During one of our breaks, I mentioned to him that if he just paid a little bit more attention to what he was doing, or just tried that smallest amount harder, he could probably shoot 100%. He acknowledged that and during his next round made an attempt to pay more attention, working to get that 100%… and he shot a 90%. I almost laughed and then told him to go back to what he was doing in the first place. If he could shoot 98% without trying, but trying lowered his score, he should stick with what worked.

I had the opportunity to work with that same officer on the street and it was my observation that during the most stressful of circumstances, he just looked bored. He looked completely at ease, as if he was sure he could handle anything and everything that came his way. He looked just like he did when he was on the range qualifying. It was just something to do and he didn’t get excited, nervous or stressed about it.

Something else that caught my eye, of all things, was a music video for Luke Bryan’s song “Country Girl.” This particular video has “behind the scenes” clips of the dancers as they are trying out for the video, with short interviews and looks back in the dressing room, etc. One of them caught my eye because while others looked stressed, fussing with hair, makeup, talking about the challenges of learning new dance choreography, this one was just chilled; sitting off the side, chewing her gum and watching everyone else. At the beginning of the video there are a dozen dancers or more and they have to pear it down to only three. That particular dancer, the one chewing gum and looking like it’s just another other day ends up being the lead dancer.

It made me stop and think… about the guy who just doesn’t seem stressed even when others are. He looked bored doing the same things. And the dancer who just looks like she’s in her element, perfectly comfortable and at home while the others look stressed. Those were the two who came out on top; who ended proven the best in the given scenario.

Those are the kind of people I want around when things go sideways. I want the people who don’t panic, don’t stress and don’t burn energy on things needlessly. They are the people who simply do the job at hand and don’t worry about the things they can’t control or which have no true impact on how successful they will or won’t be. Those are the folks who get the job done.

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