Three seconds to think about three things that raise your situational awareness.
Situational awareness is a heavy word which to some can imply knowing about everything that is going on around you at all times.
This perception is impossible to achieve but you can increase your awareness of what’s going on with little tiny nudges towards behavioral habits that keep you out of the robo-fog of the complicit melancholy and redundancy of everyday life.
3 seconds-3 things
Entering a situation happens, whether it is public transit, the public domain or a private home or venue.
Magnify the situation and it can be a office meeting, a party, fight or argument.
As we enter a situation, take a split second to scan for exits, obstacles and advantages.
Exits are doors, windows, hallways, stairwells, etc.
Obstacles are any negative influence towards your escape, examples such as people, pets, patio furniture, etc can hinder your exit.
Advantages are positive influences you can use to aid in your escape. Distraction, destruction, defense are 3 things to consider.
What distractions can you create, how can you destruct available options to aid you (breaking a window) and what objects can you utilize to defend yourself, what objects can shield you?
Exits within a micro situation like an argument or fight can be as simple as taking two steps back and walking away.
A simple exit can diffuse a situation instantly.
The eyes of others are the windows to the world around you.
One second spent scanning the eyes of others as you enter a situation can tell you years of history.
Ten sets of eyes staring you down as you enter a room is a sign, ten sets of eyes staring out the bus window in shock alerts you to the fight on the sidewalk. Eyes buried in the sidewalk or lost in their phone is a sign. Eyes undressing you or inviting aggression, mocking you or providing comfort.
The eyes of others are worth the effort to engage.
Awareness towards the emotional vibe and temperament of a venue is easier than you think. You’re scanning for signs of aggression, sounds of discourse and that “gut” feeling that things are “out of place”.
Body language and placement will warn you of distress, aggression and a split second visual scan of an area is a best practice.
3 seconds-3 things
Simply practiced over time can create positive behavioral patterns that keep you habitually aware of your surroundings.
To date, because of these practices I have avoided being struck by a crashing UFO, randomly attacked by a European Werewolf while hiking off the beaten path and numerous enchanted garden Gnome attacks.
Not to mention the last minute exit from a crowded elevator as an intestinally uncomfortable overweight plumber wearing 7-11 nachos on his greasy “Spartan race” hoodie pushed his way towards the back.
Situational awareness is everyone’s responsibility.