Have you heard of the term “situational awareness” before? It is a term which originated with the U.S Coast Guard, and is an ability used to “identify, process, and comprehend the critical elements of information about what is happening to the team with regards to the mission.” To simplify it, it is the ability to pay attention and know what is going on around you at all times.Situational awareness is useful for any person, anywhere. You don’t have to be in the military or coast guard to benefit from this ability – every commoner will find it to be an incredibly important skill for day to day use. In this article, we will be discussing some of the ways that you can increase your situational awareness.
A person’s state of potential focus and awareness should always stay within “Condition Yellow”, meaning that heart rate is normal and even though there’s no specific threat, you are alert as you take in your surroundings. It can be best described as “relaxed alert”. Staying relaxed is an important part of situational awareness. It allows you to maintain razor sharp focus, a calm demeanor, and you can get more information about what’s going on around you. Another part of observation is to always stay at a good vantage point. When entering a shop or restaurant, keep your back to the wall and quickly locate the nearest entrances and exits.
When entering a new environment, you must first establish a baseline for that environment. A baseline is an expected behavior in any given environment (what is considered “normal”). For example, the baseline at a club would be people banging their heads, dancing to the music, chatting noisily with friends, etc. By establishing a baseline, you are able to easily recognize when an anomaly takes place. An anomaly is something that either shouldn’t happen but does, or should happen but doesn’t. By orienting yourself with your environment, you kick your situational awareness skills up a notch.
Always be ready to make a decision if the situation calls for it. You might need to make a quick getaway in the case of a robbery or heist. Hesitation is your worst enemy, and fear is the mind-killer.
Act upon your decision and you will find that most of the precautions you put in place paid off in the end. By following these four steps, your situational awareness is sure to improve.