My friend Kat has a really good article on what “situational awareness” is and why it’s so vital in the world of self defense. I’ve read dozens and dozens of articles on this topic, but this is one of the few that I’ve seen with actual concrete tips on how to pull your head out of your phone and wake up to the world around you.
One of the things that prevents us from paying attention to what’s going on around us is normalcy bias, which was wonderfully described by that wizened sage Yogi Berra as “Things are more like they are now than they’ve ever been.” As an example of what this is, when I was younger, I lived at home and worked a job that required me to stay out much later than my parents went to bed. I didn’t want to wake them up when I got home, so I learned how to navigate our house in the dark.
And then one night, my parents re-arranged the furniture on me, and I went @$$ over teakettle when I walked right into the sofa. That’s normalcy bias. I didn’t have to pay attention to my surroundings, because my surroundings never changed.
Until they did, and quite suddenly, I ended up on the floor, dazed and wondering what the heck just happened. I was literally walking around in the dark, unaware of my situation, and when that situation suddenly changed, I was the worse for it.
Making the connection?
So, what could I have done to prevent this? What I ended up doing was, I started to carry a flashlight on me on a regular basis and use it when things got dark. As I progressed in my career as a photographer, I started to look around more, because good photos are all around us, we just need to look for them. I started to apply the same rules of the road that I use for driving in my everyday life.
It’s not hard, we just need to do it.
If you’re looking for more ways to look out for yourselves and others, I highly recommend next month’s “Refuse To Be A Victim” workshop at Fellowship Church. Registration for this award-winning personal safety class closes at the end of this month, so sign up today.