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How to Develop Your Situational Awareness to Survive Anything

Posted by Justin on

Good situational awareness is one of the most important skills someone can learn. It’s not only great for appearing sociable and outgoing – it can also be an excellent defensive tool that can help you survive anything.

If you practice situational awareness, you won’t be taken by surprise by potential dangers, such as muggers or cars speeding down the street, and you’ll be able to extricate yourself from any hazardous situations faster than others.

But how do you develop situational awareness to use it as a defensive tool? Let’s break it down in detail:


Observe & Orient: The Two-Part Key to Situational Awareness

Good situational awareness is dependent on two parts: observation & orientation.

This habit loop was created by John Boyd, an Air Force pilot and a military strategist. In a nutshell, it involves observing your environment, gathering as much information as possible with your senses, then orienting yourself.

Observation is fairly self-explanatory. The orientation part of this loop tells you what you should be looking for and understanding what to do with your information.

When practicing situational awareness, be sure to:

  • Observe your environment
  • Orient yourself according to what you see, hear, or smell
To give you a real-life example, say you’re in a nightclub that is packed with rowdy patrons. You should observe their behavior, identify the entrances and exits, then orient yourself so you can get out in a hurry if necessary.

Practice Your Prediction

Situational awareness is a skill like any other. The more you practice it, the better you’ll become at it.

You can practice your situational awareness by making predictions about where people will go or what they will do. Notice things in your environment and the behavior of other individuals. Then make predictions about their next actions.

You’ll be surprised how accurate you’ll eventually become after just a few weeks of actively observing your environment and orienting yourself to pay better attention.

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Notice Hazards, Then Players, Then Plan Your Next Move

When practicing situational awareness, it’s important to observe things in your environment in the correct order.

First, you should notice objects, including potential weapons or hazards. These can include knives, guns, or even things like slippery floors.

Then you should notice people. Pay attention to their gender, size, and potential physical threat level. Then get a feel for the attitudes or behavior of everyone around you.

For example, noticing a 250lb man acting antsy should make you a little more alert compared to noticing a 100-pound woman who is calmly chatting with her friend.

After noticing people, identify any nearby entrances and exits. Good situational awareness isn’t always about fighting; it’s often about escaping a potential fight before it becomes dangerous.

Remain Vigilant

Above all else, train yourself to remain vigilant. This doesn’t mean you have to be on edge 24 hours a day. But you should maintain a moderate level of situational awareness and alertness at all times.

Keep your head up, keep earbuds out of your ears, and calmly go about your business. Occasionally sweep the area and notice objects, people, and entrances and exits. Orient yourself according to the information you observe.

Get this habit down pat and you’ll become a master of situational awareness faster than you can imagine.

Situational awareness is a skill that you’ll hone over time, eventually getting so good at it that you won’t even need to think about it.

In an uncertain world, having that head start to leap into action can mean the difference between being tangled in a sticky situation without your defenses prepared, or having the edge you need to succeed.


Thank you for reading, stay strong patriots. 

Justin | FamTeeWorld

Maine, USA

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