Situational Awareness And A 360 Mindset
What is situational awareness? It’s simply (not so simple for some) knowing what’s going on around you. Did you notice the word, “around”? That means 360 degrees – more than just what’s in front of you…
How many people do you observe during any given day, who are ‘tuned out’?
Situational awareness is a mindset. A frame of mind. It is a choice that you make (to be aware). The mindset itself is a learned and eventually habitual behavior of observing your surroundings – including ‘your back’. It involves mental conditioning that might be considered ‘forced paranoia’ at first – but then eventually becomes natural and almost subconscious.
We don’t have eyes behind our head and our eyes aren’t on the side of our head either, so we can only see in front of us, as well as into our peripheral vision.
A problem (with situational awareness) is that our world is spherical. Up, down, and all around. So to achieve the highest level of awareness you must have a mindset of 360 degrees…
A ‘360 mindset’ is one in which we keep tabs on what’s going on all the way around us – the entire environment that we’re in.
First, WE MUST NOT BE TUNED OUT. Which begs the question,
“Why do so many people stare down into their ‘smart phones’ all the time?”
Here’s what you need to do. When the time is appropriate to be particularly situationally-aware (e.g. when you’re out and about – outside the home – in public places, etc..), simply remember to ‘tell yourself’ to be 360-aware. At first (until it becomes natural), as long as you’ve consciously told yourself, then the rest will happen naturally as your brain takes over to fulfill your desire to pay attention. You will then do what you need to do to observe your surroundings.
For example, when walking, your brain will put you in condition yellow (relaxed alert) as you occasionally turn your head and observe left, right. Since you’ve told yourself to be 360-aware, you will turn your head far enough for your peripheral vision to capture what is behind you.
Another example, while in your vehicle and having reached your destination – before you get out you will take a few brief seconds to have a quick look around first.
A 360 mindset is the next level of situational awareness. In addition to knowing what’s going on in front of you, it takes a bit more conscious effort to know what’s going on behind you.
Next time you’re out in public, observe how few people actually look like they know what’s going on in front of them (situational awareness ‘101’) while even fewer seem to be aware of their 360 (situational awareness ‘102’).
Observe how many people walk with their head angled downward to the walkway in front of them as they walk with their thoughts – tuned out of their environment. Observe how many have their heads down in their electronic gadget as they walk. It really is quite amazing.