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Mad Men’s Don Draper: Grace Under Fire

I love “Mad Men.” I’ve only watched a little more than a season on Netflix, but I’d already say it’s one of my favorite TV shows ever. Not only does it pique my curiosity from an advertising point-of-view (when I’m not penning articles for the great TSB, I work as a copywriter), but it’s witty, dramatic, and oh so stylish. Then there’s Don Draper.  A confident man who knows what he wants, the show’s lead man exemplifies inner game. With poise and purpose, he knows what he wants and gets it, whether it’s a big client or gorgeous woman. He’s the portrait of composure. Well, usually.

Learn from Draper

Like all of us, even Mr. Draper loses his cool now and again. For example, he rushes to his would-be girlfriend and tries to convince her to run away with him to Los Angeles in order to avoid an issue at his job. In this instance, Don’s a coward. It’s only when he picks his head up and remains calm that he is able to regain his confidence and take charge. This is what’s referred to as “grace under fire,” a quality that separates the men from the pouty, man-boys.

Whether you’re under pressure at work, having trouble in a relationship, or just got cut off by some jerk in an Escalade (happened to me yesterday), it’s crucial that you keep your cool and remain confident. You know how you’re not supposed to panic in an emergency? The same theory applies to even more so to everyday aggravations. If you’re not supposed to panic when your house is on fire, then you probably shouldn’t freak out if you just lost your job or Wendy’s was all out of buffalo ranch sauce.

There’s something to be said for a guy that takes difficulties in stride. Lose your job? No problem. Apocalyptic tidal wave on the way? Big deal. Look at men in power. Does a captain start sobbing like a baby if his team’s down a few points? Does a CEO call his mom when his company’s new flavored cheese spay doesn’t take off like he thought it would? The ability to face issues with aplomb, without shedding a tear or calling your friend for backup, is the mark of a truly confident man. Nobody likes a pouter, especially those who put their faith in you (friends, girlfriends, bosses, etc.)

Be the graceful dude. Be the one who loses his job and responds by sending out 1,000 resumes the following  day. Be the guy who gets shut down at the bar, accepts defeat and moves on to her friend. You don’t have to be overly aggressive to be a fighter. Sometimes all it takes is being able to stand there, face your issues, and move on.

I’m not sure what becomes of Don Draper over the next three seasons (I’m trying to watch them all before the season 5 premiere next month), but I’m sure I’m in for more demonstrations of extreme confidence.  I can only hope that I’ll have as much grace under fire as Sterling Cooper’s cool-headed Creative Director. At the very least, I can always throw on an early 60s suit and make-believe.

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About John Brhel John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.

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