‘You’re just a bunch of fun aren’t you,’ she said.
‘Yeah, you’re right.’
‘I’m going to put you through to the next round,’ she was smiling, ‘you should hear back in a couple of days.’
I was applying for Survivor.
We had a Skype interview. The video quality was bad but she was beautiful.
Skype calls are like blind dates. I only talked to her via email beforehand. So I had no idea what she looked like.
Then we were dialing in. I had a pile of notes next to me. My brother and I had spent an hour or so practicing potential questions.
This was a big moment. We watched Survivor as kids, now I had the chance to be on it. A real life TV show. This was my chance!
The call connected.
‘Hello, can you hear me?’
‘Hi there, I can hear you.’
‘Oh wait, I can’t hear you, let me fix something.’
She fixed it.
‘There we go are you there?’
‘I’m here, nice to meet you,’ I smiled.
‘Okay, Daniel right?’
I forget her name.
‘Let’s do this.’
We got into it. And then the inevitable question was there.
‘Why should we choose you to be on Survivor?’
This one always comes up.
‘Why should we pick you for this job?’
Or even if it doesn’t, it comes up in other forms. When you’re a date, the other person is trying to figure out if you’re worth another date. But instead of asking ‘why should I keep seeing you?’, they ask questions like ‘are you religious?’
I told her why I should be on the show.
The same thing I told my brother when we practiced.
‘I should be on Survivor because no one else will play the game like me.’
Crap. Everyone would’ve said that.
‘How will you play the game differently?’
She was good.
‘Driving Uber I meet a new customer every 10-minutes. Working at Apple, I talked to a new person every 15-minutes.’
I went on.
‘To provide a quality service to someone, you have to figure out their needs. You have to understand them. That’s what I’m good at.’
‘So no matter who’s there, I know I can get close to them, lead from the front and at the same time know when it’s time to sit back,’ I was rolling with it, ‘I call it the co-pilot strategy.’
She loved that.
‘The co-pilot strategy?’
I have no idea where this came from. An unexplainable force.
‘The co-pilot has enough control but isn’t the main guy. When it comes time to vote someone out, it’s often the one who stands out too much, the pilot.’
‘Oh I see, you’ll stay high enough in the tribe, but not too high to stand out.’
We kept talking. The conversation was supposed to go for 20-minutes. But we ended up going for an hour or so.
By the end of it I was in love. Or was it lust? I get the two mixed up.
She put me through to the next round. An in person group interview.
We had to attempt the same challenges as we would if we got on the show. My team won all the challenges.
After the group interview I saw a girl looking at Physics books at the bookstore. I stopped her on the way out.
‘Were you looking at Physics books?’
‘Yeah, I was.’
So how do you be so charismatic and confident you get through to the second stage of Survivor?
If you know the questions are coming, practice them.
This goes for any kind of scenario. Got to give a talk? Practice it. Going for a job interview? ‘Why should we hire you?’.
I practiced the exact questions she asked with my brother before the interview. I had a head start.
B) Get good at something
Being confident is being good at something.
If you’ve got some skills, own them. So you hear someone is looking for a few art designs, and you can draw. ‘Hey I can draw up a few things for you.’ Will it work all the time? Probably not. But at least you put it out there.
I’d been practicing understanding people for the past four years driving Uber and working at Apple. And I was good at it. So I told her. It’s easy to be charismatic about something you’re good at.
C) Practice again
This one is important enough to list twice. You don’t get good at something without practice. And practice usually involves being bad at something for a period of time.
It’s normal to lack confidence when you first start. But over time, your skills will improve and your confidence will begin to grow.
D) Tune the voice in your head to suit the conversation
There’s always that voice. The one telling you you should say something. Or telling you to go and talk to that girl. It won’t always be the right words. But the nervous energy will be there. Shape the energy to match the scenario.
I had no idea where the co-pilot strategy came from. The nervous energy must’ve sent it out. So I ran with it. And the subconscious took over.
There’s no way to get this to happen except to keep showing up. And learn how to use the energy when it arrives.
In the meantime, better to practice what you need to say or the skill you’re working on.
I think I would’ve won Survivor if I got on.
If you manage to get on, use the co-pilot strategy. Tell me how it goes.