How To Develop Situational Awareness. Every establishment that I walk in or around I have been trained to assess any situation. How many people, What kind of people, exit routes, languages and conversations that I understand. It’s something I was taught years ago when I was trained with the Military and working for the Government. A habit that I choose not to break. The truth is, I couldn’t stop if I tried. (especially if you used those skills to save your own life or someone else’s)
This kind of training exists among intelligence officers and military personnel. It’s called ‘Situational Awareness’ and it essentially involves being able to quickly and easily identify key facts about your surroundings.
Situational awareness is important for everyone though and certainly for those interested in cultivating a warrior mindset. It allows us to identify potential threats faster so that we can avoid or neutralize them. It also allows us to move quickly and efficiently when the situation calls for it and ultimately it lets us keep ourselves and others safer.
The problem is, most of us have our mind on other things: things like our office, Angry Birds, debt, and relationships. The list goes on and on…
How do we get our minds back in the game and start paying attention to the things that matter to us and to those we care about?
The OODA Loop
This is A method developed by Air Force fighter pilot/military strategist John Boyd.
OODA is a four-step process that tells us to:
First then, you must observe. This means that you mustn’t completely relax and kick your feet up. In neuroscience terms, you mustn’t let your ‘default mode network’ kick in (essentially, you must keep your mind on what’s happening). You should be relaxed yes, but also alert. Definitely the first lesson in situational awareness.
Position yourself in any room in such a position that you can see the maximum number of people and avoid letting people get the jump on you. A good example would be the corner of a room with your back to the wall. Remain near an exit where possible.
The next step is to orient, which in this context means looking for specific things. Establish a ‘baseline’ by thinking about the normal behavior and conditions for a certain area. Look out for examples of deviation from this norm. Does someone look uncomfortable? Is someone inappropriately dressed? Is there a noise that shouldn’t be there?
Next, decide whether or not to act and how to act. Have a plan of action and do not hesitate. Trust your instinct at this stage and if in doubt, practice caution. Someone acting suspiciously or potentially violently? Try moving away from them, or alerting them to security. Then get your family out of there.
Practicing these situational awareness tips could one day save your life and at the very least, they will help you to adopt a warrior mentality that will be felt by those around you.