Perhaps more important than survival supplies and ‘stuff’, I believe one of the greatest survival tools to possess is awareness.
Awareness of self, others, and your environment.
Awareness Of Self
To know your own abilities.
To know your own limitations.
Understanding your position in the current environment.
You might ask yourself, “What do other people see when looking at me?” In other words, be self-aware of what you’re doing, saying, or how you’re coming across.
Being self aware in the moment of your thoughts.
If you have ever been in a situation where you may have experienced everything happening in slow motion (e.g. adrenaline dump), you will have noticed details of your thought process and the event. A heightened sense of awareness of your own self as it relates to the event or situation.
Awareness Of Others
The knowing of, or observing others around you.
Situational awareness of other people.
Understanding motivations, viewpoints, and intentions of those whom you interact. Don’t just ‘hear’ them, listen to what they’re saying. Words have meaning.
Quick assessment (can happen subconsciously) for ‘out of the ordinary’ behavior in a given environment.
Awareness Of Your Environment
Your environment changes as you travel through your day. Therefore, recognize those which carry higher risk to self. Know what ‘condition yellow’ means…
Related to your environment is information awareness. What’s going on out there…
Be aware of your normalcy bias as it relates to your environment.
With practice you might even learn to engage in a heightened state of awareness, like Jason Bourne…
You might consider that the first and foremost greatest survival tool is awareness. The mind which interprets input and then makes decisions about what to do next.
99.9% of people simply go through their day while doing their routines. It’s usually pretty regular. It’s also pretty easy to get caught up in that regularity and to let your guard down – even though one’s normal environment may feel safe (normalcy bias).
You can practice heightened awareness anywhere. All you have to do is focus on you, others, and your environment. The key word is ‘focus’. Become the observer.
You may be surprised what you discover.
Side note: You might also consider the military concept of the OODA loop (observe, orient, decide, act).