The Danger Zone: 5 Legendary Lessons from Sterling Archer
For a lot of men, we imagine what it would be like to live a life in espionage. What could be better than being surrounded by fast cars, state-of-the-art gadgets, weaponry, beautiful women, and saving the world every other week? The answer is nothing. Since 1953 Ian Fleming’s fictional character James Bond has captured the eyes of men (and women) all around the world. Men are so engrossed in the idea of becoming a kick-ass spy that there have been hundreds of spy novels, television shows, and movies taking a stab at the covert life style of a secret agent. Just look at movies like the Jason Bourne and Austin Powers series, or the television shows Alias and Burn Notice, everyone wants a piece of the action!
In 2010 a new animated series on FX hit the TV screen and America hasn’t looked back since. Show creator Adam Reed decided he wanted to take the spy game in a very unique direction. The result was one of the greatest animated shows of our generation: Archer! In this hilarious cartoon interpretation of James Bond, the star of the show is secret agent Sterling Archer who works for the intelligent agency ISIS (International Secret Intelligence Service) and operates under the code name “Duchess”. Archer is a self-proclaimed “world’s greatest spy” who can be described as arrogant, selfish, misogynistic, highly promiscuous, and borderline alcoholic.
Without further ado, here are 5 legendary lessons we can learn from Archer:
1. Tenacity will get you far in life
Archer: Danger Zone!
Archer has the persistence of a child to get what he wants. But you know what? He also saves the world by relentlessly tearing through bad guys. Whether you’re attempting to annoy a friend, being a secret agent, asking someone on a date, making that big sale, or starting your own company, you often need to be determined. Want to be successful? You’ll need to be tenacious in the face of adversity, learn from failures and readjust strategy; giving up is for the mediocre.
Need more proof? Take a look at several of the Legends below. I’m willing to bet you were unaware of their letdowns:
Walt Disney was fired from his job as a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas”. He then started a number of businesses that quickly failed and went into bankruptcy before creating his now billion-dollar empire.
Thomas Edison failed over 1,000 times before he succeeded at designing the light bulb.
Stephen King’s hit thriller Carrie was rejected 30 times, which lead him to throw the draft in the trash. His wife encouraged him to finish the work and resubmit it. King is now considered one of the best-selling authors of all time. You get the idea. No matter what your goals are, seize life by the balls and go get what you’re after.
2. Get a Role Model
Archer: Burt Reynolds is my spirit guide.
Lana: Did you say man-crush?
Archer: No. I’m pretty sure it was “shut up”.
Every man needs that male role-model figure in his life to teach the ropes and guide through a path to legendary success. Take a look at Archer’s role model, Burt Reynolds, for example. Who better to idolize than one of the manliest men in recent history? Driving fast cars, kicking-ass, and stealing the hearts of women young and old with that flawless, thick mustache; Burt Reynolds is a clear-cut candidate.
We may not all be able to have Burt Reynolds as our mentor, but whether it be someone you know personally, such as your father, uncle, or big brother; possibly a historical figure like Theodore Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, or General Patton; even a fictional character like James Bond, Indiana Jones, or our favorite principal George Feeney from Boy Meets World (you have to admit, the dude always had the right answers), having that person there that can recharge your batteries when the going gets tough is essential for development. They offer sound advice and guidance which is essential for any man who wishes to make something of himself.
3. Be cultured
Archer: Wait, there are animals?
Lana: No, Animal Farm.
Cyril: How do you not get that?
Archer: No, I know what an animal farm is.
Cyril: Not an animal farm.
Archer: Maybe we can stampede a flock of goats down the hall.
Lana: ANIMAL FARM IS A BOOK!
Archer: No, it’s not Lana. It’s an allegorical novella about Stalinism by George Orwell, and spoiler alert, IT SUCKS.
One thing young men are lacking these days is a general knowledge on a wide variety of topics. People enjoy the company of a man who can contribute something to the conversation outside of discussing recent sexual conquests and his average BAC level. Archer is one who is always prepared to dish out cultural references and witty puns to lighten the mood.
Instead of spending your free time increasing your XBOX Live ranking or perfecting your flip cup flipping speed (you’re not in high school anymore, play a real man’s drinking game) pick up a novel (check out The LC’s Must Read Motivational Books for starters) or newspaper, visit a museum or an art show, learn an instrument or a new skill and build up your worldly knowledge repertoire. The more you are educated on a variety of topics, the easier it will be to initiate and engage in meaningful conversation; it will make you that much more interesting. You don’t need to become the modern-day Thomas Young, but having basic knowledge on a wide-array of topics will take you one step closer to becoming legendary.
4. Look the part.
Archer: I’m getting my turtleneck. I’m not defusing a bomb in this!
There is nothing more disappointing than meeting a young man who has the potential and assertiveness to become legendary, only to have it undermined by bad hygiene and/or a subpar wardrobe that causes one to assume he just finished a GTA: V all-nighter. Sure, college provides the freedom to experiment and live life at your own pace, but that is no excuse to look like you belong in a Seth Rogen movie. Most of you will roll out of bed, throw on a pair of basketball shorts, the first t-shirt you see lying on the floor, a baseball cap, and head to class. However, if you want to become a legend on campus and want people to take you seriously, then you need to look the part. Take the cash that you’re going to throw away on cheap liquor or a bar tab and invest in a wardrobe befitting a gentleman; it will pay off.
5. Work hard, play hard.
Let’s be honest; there’s a good chance one of the major reasons you chose the university you attend(ed) was due to the social scene—nothing wrong with that. Sure college is strenuous, but this is one period in your life where you get to cut loose without the overbearing responsibilities you’ll face once entering the work force. With that being said, in order fulfill your mission of becoming legendary, it’s best to take a work hard/play hard approach.
College gives you that opportunity to discover yourself, your interests, and future career possibilities. However, how do you expect to accomplish this when you spend all of your free time bottoms up under a bottle of Jack? School, internships, and extra-curricular activities need to be priority one. If you waste your time trying to #YOLO your way through college, you may find yourself waist deep in student loan debt with nothing to show for it.
Seize every opportunity to get involved on campus and expand your horizons. More importantly, get involved for the sole purpose of beefing up your resume. When you are applying for a job, the legends that were involved in extra-curricular activities, clubs, held leadership roles, internships, and had a part-time job are going to be sitting at the top of that resume pile. Get out there and become that legend on campus. Focus on school and gaining relevant experience. Then, at the end of the day, by all means, buy yourself a red-eye on the Whiskey Train (age permitting) and celebrate your success.
Ultimately, your goal as an undergraduate is to not only capitalize on the limited amount of time you have to prepare yourself for the professional world, but to ensure that you are that much higher on the resume pile—and to have fun while doing it. Hone in on these 5 tips from Archer and you will be one more step above the rest of the competition. Remember: if you think like a legend, you will live like a legend.
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