One Of Your Greatest Survival Tools Is Awareness

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).


5 Drills For Situational Awareness
3 Drills To Practice Situational Awareness In Your Car
3 More Drills To Practice Situational Awareness


  1. Even with Jason Bourne heightened awareness, intelligence is required to act on that awareness. Forrest Gump success outcomes in bad situations is the exception and what they make movies about. Even when all the probabilities are known, the money trail is obvious, and the dire outcomes are all around them, people will follow the herd.
    At one time, I believed that modern people would never again just sing louder as the transport trains rolled by. These last two years have reset my perception of humanity.

  2. I have found out that it’s true – the weaker will be targeted first.
    I am now a senior, senior citizen, in my 80s.
    Three times over the past several years, I have been accosted by younger, stronger people. Two male, one female; sensing weakness.
    Fortunately, I was able to extract myself from the situations, only slight bruised.
    Now, I am very much more aware of my surroundings, and always have a razor knife with me.
    (Meant for slashing, not stabbing.)
    Not going down without doing some serious damage to arms that reach for me.

    1. Good for you! What kind of knife did you buy? I am older as well… ! Thanks!

      1. Mrs. T –

        It’s known as a ‘Box Cutter’. Has a razor inside a handle, that slides in and out of the handle with a thumb button.
        Easy & safe to carry. Very easy to operate.
        Any Hardware store would carry several different varieties.
        (If I ever had to use it on someone, I would tell the cops later, that I was using at home to cut up some boxes, and I forgot I still had it in my pocket.)

    2. I know exactly what you mean. Recently in the parking lot of a grocery store I was grabbed by a young mean and like you I am what is considered elderly in my late 70’s. I think it was because of my grey hair and beard. He was quiet surprised, I think, when I knocked him on his behind. I saw him coming since I am very diligent about my surroundings. Had pistol in my pocket but did not need it for the fool. My friends are always teasing me about preaching situation awareness at the but it is very necessary unfortunately.

  3. Want to have a little fun?
    Take a walk down a Sidewalk in some City or Town somewhere.
    Notice the number of sheeple that have their faces stuffed into a Stupid-Phone or some other distraction as the blindly walk along.

    Absolutely ZERO Awareness.

    1. So true. We went to the doctors last week and I sat back watching. After filling out the required paper work and taking it back to the desk. 99% pulled out their phone before even sitting down and buried their brain. The up side is it is easier to study others while they are oblivious. The thieves will not be being oblivious but watching who is. Also I suppose you are aware of the Apple Air Tags and how they are being used to track people to their houses. Especially put on cars/vehicles to steal or do you look rich?

      1. Mrs. U,
        OMG, ride the train in Japan, no talking, can’t use the phone for calls on the train there, say forty people in that cab, it’s almost a guarantee that 37 will have their noses semi-permanently affixed to the device, amazing!

    2. The good thing about them being blindly attached to their electronic umbilical cord is it will help thin out the herd a lot faster.

  4. Along with awareness, be honest with yourself on your capabilities and possible outcomes. This is tough for me being a relatively new Senior Citizen. Physical labor projects now are much less ambitious than they were in my younger years. I have a gas fireplace and I do not heat with wood. I have lots of propane bottles around and several buddy heaters.
    Even 11 years ago, when I started posting on this site, my body has changed and my physical capabilities have diminished. A big part of awareness is not getting into situations I cannot get myself out of. The older I get, the more I stay away from crowds. I also watch the news but do not obsess over the news simply to obtain information about traveling to Portland, OR for any reason. The nearby city where I do work, I watch the news and make a point of going in and getting out in a reliable car by most direct route possible. Both cities can become the sites of street demonstrations that can turn into riots and confrontations in a heartbeat. I’ve lived here long enough, I have a good idea where it is safe to go on a given day.
    Now, I am another old guy that is on BP medications and a back bone that feels like it is made out of glass on some days. That is why my preparations are set up around my bugging in as opposed to bugging out these days.

  5. Similar, DADA (Data, Analysis, Decide, Act), not an exact definition, but close enough. If I recall correctly it’s from either CIA or Seal training (I cant recall what I had for breakfast two weeks ago). A short ebook was published, which I downloaded a few years ago. When out and about observing things (people watching) exercising DADA keeps me from mentally drifting too much (zoning out) or tunnel vision.

  6. Sometimes having your cell phone out and ‘reading’ news allows one to watch everyone else without appearing to do so provided you are sitting in the right place.

  7. Many older residents in my building get up early, go out early and do not go out on foot after dark. We had a fake health care worker come into the building dressed in scrubs. She had a history of doing this in different cities. My neighbors found her at their medicine cabinet looking through their prescriptions and had no idea who she was. The condo board told us to always keep our unit doors locked even when taking the trash to the garbage chute down the hall. If young to middle aged people are walking behind me on outside, I move over and let them pass. We had an outlaw type of man on a motorcycle driving in our condo parking lot, hostile expression, vest with patches Very suspicious. Obviously I reported it to the superintendent and the condo board. He just did not look like the adult child of a senior or a building resident. Obviously never let in anyone you do not know. If you provide a sob story and it is minus 40 below you are freezing, etc. I will gladly call the police for you so that they can come to the condo to verify your identity, to determine if you should be on the property. The homeless on street drugs have invaded the leafy suburbs. They live outside apartment buildings, in area parks, in alleys, etc. A few years ago they were mostly downtown miles away. A couple of years ago one of them came right up to me on a youth bike and just before he invaded my space I yelled at him to get away from me or I would call the police. I only wear running shoes outside.

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