Situational awareness is being aware of one’s surroundings, identifying potential threats and dangerous situations.

It is more of a mindset than a tangible hands-on skill.

It can be applied by anyone with the resolve to do so.

Here are a few drills to help practice your own situational awareness skills:


Situational Awareness – Bad Things Do Happen

First though, to establish a mindset of situational awareness, one must recognize that threats do exist. Bad things do happen, and it could happen in your realm – even when you feel ‘safe’.

One must also be of the mindset to take responsibility for one’s own personal security. The ‘authorities’ cannot be everywhere (and we don’t want them everywhere). They cannot stop every potential criminal action. People need to look out for themselves to the extent that they can.

The situational awareness mindset also entails trusting your “gut” or instinct. Often a person’s subconscious will notice subtle signs of danger that the conscious mind has difficulty quantifying or articulating.

Have you ever suddenly had that feeling of danger without being able to put your finger on it – so to speak? Ignoring such feelings can lead to serious trouble.

Discipline and conscious effort is required to practice situational awareness. Effort is required to pay attention to your surroundings. Eminent danger or hostility can go unnoticed when you are distracted.

Though after awhile, your conscious efforts of observation will become subconscious and instinctive. It’s not paranoia. It’s common sense.


Situational Awareness Drills

Here are a few drills to improve your situational awareness skills:

1. Identify all the exits when you enter a building.

2. Count the number of people in a restaurant, subway or train car.

3. Note which cars take the same turns in traffic.

4. Take a look at the people around you and attempt to figure out their stories. Imagine what they do for a living, their mood, what they are focused on and what it appears they are preparing to do, based merely on observation.

5. Next time you’re in a parking lot, look for – and count – the number of cars with people sitting in them, whether you’re walking to the storefront, or coming back to your car, or even driving through.

Engaging in such simple situational-awareness drills will train the mind to be aware of these things almost subconsciously, even while in a relaxed state of awareness.

Continue reading: Situational Awareness Tips

Situational Awareness: Watching Others

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