Here's one trick for tackling any stressful situation, according to a former undercover DEA agent

Being a good shot won’t necessarily keep you alive in a gun battle with drug runners.

That’s something that retired DEA agent, “Deal” author, and Cipher Brief contributor Mike Vigil learned on the job.

He explains that skill set isn’t always your most crucial weapon in any given stressful situation.

Vigil credits one thing with getting him through the gunfights that erupted during the many undercover jobs he worked during his long career with the DEA: his calm mindset.

“The more dangerous a situation, the more deadly calm I became,” Vigil says. “That saved my life many times.

He recalls regularly visiting the firing range for mandatory testing. He notes that being able to consistently hit a static target at a gun range typically doesn’t amount to much in a close-range shootout.

“People would get so nervous in a gun fight — they’d be shooting up in the air, to the sides, or even on the ground, thinking they were shooting straight,” Vigil says. “I always remained calm and always could get those shots off very accurately because I was calm.”

Vigil believes that this sense of unshakeable calm comes to him naturally. However, he says remaining unfazed in the face of adversity is a skill that can be valuable in any aspect of life.

“I guess the best tip I could give anybody is there are three types of people, when facing danger,” Vigil says. “One will be paralysed by fear and not move backward or forward. There are others who will retreat and call it advancing to the rear. Then there’s others who will move forward and confront the danger.”

In order to effectively deal with stressful situations, Vigil recommends getting in a mindset that allows you to confront problems head on.

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