This is the second article in a two-part series on close protection skills I’m writing for EP Wired.
Stoic justice or treatment of others and yourself just means how we treat others despite their words or actions. So, as EP agents striving to keep our cool and patience and provide customer service, we must adopt this virtue as our own. Believe it or not, a true test of our soft skill implementation is our patience with clients, teammates, and threats.
This coincides with your verbal de-escalation as close protection skills. No matter who it is, a calm voice and language spoken without adversarial words can often help you achieve desired outcomes in social situations and interpersonal interactions.
Regardless of how you feel about someone, treating someone with respect and dignity often de-escalates the situation. Thus, they are more responsive to your requests, commands, or cooperation.
To do this, we must temper our ego and pride to always respond to adversarial people with a calm and controlled demeanor. Most often, folks who get in your face and yell are looking for escalation or an excuse to take something to the next level.
Things will likely escalate if you don’t check your ego and pride. As a result, you now have a whole new set of professional, personal, legal, and tactical issues to contend with.
“But I won’t let someone disrespect me,” you might say. Well, my friend, if you accept it as disrespect, you certainly have been disrespected.
Memorize this quote by Marcus Aurelius and live by it: “Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.”
You have the choice in how you respond despite provocation.
In the words of Epictetus: “Remember, it is not enough to be hit or insulted to be harmed, you must believe that you are being harmed. If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation. Which is why it is essential that we do not respond impulsively to impressions. Take a moment before reacting, and you will find it easier to maintain control.”
Injustice to Yourself
To improve your close protection skills, you must keep these quotes in mind when de-escalating adversarial behavior from a possible threat to your client, an agitated client, or a teammate who has been on duty too long and is losing his patience.
Finally, you must exercise justice for yourself. That means treating yourself kindly. Simply, de-escalating yourself and using your soft skills on you. If you are too hard on yourself about what you are doing, you will become agitated and provoke your own emotions. In turn, this clouds your judgment.
That’s how more mistakes happen. Remember, you are still human. You must shake it off, learn from it and carry on with the rest of the day.
Indeed, you should critique your performance at the end of the day in a philosophic way. But to criticize yourself while on duty is an injustice to yourself. Therefore, your client or teammate who has developed a baseline for your behavior will notice.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ― Viktor Frankl
Temperance (Moderation, Restraint)
As far as I am concerned, this is the highest of the four virtues. This virtue can be plugged in as a foundation for the other three virtues and very important in mastering your soft skills.
Ultimately, you must constantly maintain moderation and restraint in your:
- finances, and more.
Most importantly, you must use temperance with your emotions and restrain your impulses when on the job from negative environmental stimuli.
I think traffic is a great example, especially when you are with a client. For instance, someone cuts you off, and you are forced to break hard enough to elicit a comment from the client. We have all had comments that wanted to come out but had to bite down hard to keep our jobs.
The best way to moderate your emotions is constant self-regulation and self-monitoring, i.e., asking yourself:
- What am I feeling right now?
- Why am I feeling like this?
- Is this feeling harmful or helpful right now?
You cannot allow your mind to wander. You must stay conscious and think to maintain an objective and rational situational awareness and self-awareness.
If you let your mind wander, it starts looking for things to chew on, especially personal issues at home or past experiences that may have been traumatic. The moment your mind begins to wander down some dark hole, it will stay with you all day, distracting you from your job.
Moderate your diet! Yes, you must be conscious of your calorie intake to physical exercise ratio. Not to mention you must be aware of how hunger affects your mood and judgment. We have all experienced long hours where we are not able to eat. So, it’s best to fast before a detail and cut your caloric intake.
Suppose you are used to 6,000 calories a day. But if you are only afforded 2,000 for a quick snack or bite, your body will be affected, you will slow down, become tired, your blood sugar will drop, and your mood will change. In essence, you will be rendered tactically ineffective.
Moderate your intake before a detail, and you will be just fine during the detail. Exercise moderation in all things. First and foremost, your emotions and your response to your feelings from external or internal stimuli.
“Don’t go on discussing what a good person should be. Just be one.” ― Marcus Aurelius
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.” ― Marcus Aurelius
The Lifelong Learner
In my opinion, a well-performed EP agent who wants to achieve higher soft skill expertise should be a student of philosophy. Especially if they want to be more effective so as to be seen as desirable by security firms. This is a necessity to improve your close protection skills!
Sure, putting it on your bio or resume that you are studying philosophy might be awkward. So, don’t tell them!
As Epictetus says: “For even sheep do not vomit up their grass and show to the shepherds how much they have eaten; but when they have internally digested the pasture, they produce externally wool and milk. Do you also show not your theorems to the uninstructed, but show the acts which come from their digestion.”
In other words, demonstrate your soft skills and philosophic wisdom through your actions.
I feel that one should love wisdom and be prudent in an effort to give clients the best results desired by them and expected of you by the security firm that holds the contract.
An EP agent, who is a student of philosophy, could be more effective at soft close protection skills than someone who isn’t and could have higher emotional intelligence. As a result, they can use it to their advantage in handling possible threats and any adversity that comes their way.
An EP agent, however, must always remain rational above everyone they encounter. In turn, this helps them make rational decisions when everyone around them is in distress. I feel that my adoption of Stoicism has made me better at it than I used to be.
I expect few to agree with this view. But if this interests you or you want to know more, my door is always open. In fact, I am happy to set aside time for those seeking more info.
This is well beyond the thousand words I was given to work with and more in-depth than needed. But I feel it is pertinent to help show a different way of exercising soft close protection skills and mastering them.
I’m not sure the community is ready for this type of thinking, but I’m glad to be able to introduce it, and looking forward to more opportunities to explain it more or help others who are interested.
Understand that this practice is a lifestyle for me. Thus, it goes beyond work and into my personal life to help make myself a better:
- friend, and
And your adopting it as your philosophy can help you in your personal and professional life.
Finally, take this last quote with you as an instruction on how to be the best EP agent you can be.
“Concentrate every minute like a Roman — like a man — on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice. And on freeing yourself from all other distractions.
Yes, you can — if you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered, irritable.
You see how few things you have to do to live a satisfying and reverent life? If you can manage this, that’s all even the gods can ask of you.” ― Marcus Aurelius
This was the second article in a two-part series on close protection skills I wrote for EP Wired. I hope you enjoyed it! If you missed the first piece, read it here.