How to Avoid Impediments to Your Situational Awareness

How to Avoid Impediments to Your Situational Awareness

Maintaining constant and effective situational awareness is an essential facet of survival, whether facing a SHTF scenario or during the normal course of our lives.  It’s important to recognize that there are times when we’re not always on top of our game, and it’s very easy to lose our “edge” without even knowing that it’s happening.  Let’s take a look at a few common issues that can erode our ability to be vigilant and cloud our judgment.

Being Complacent

One of the biggest reasons that people get into dangerous situations is because they let their guard down.  A lot of this happens as we get familiar with routines and create a sense of normalcy.  We have habits, routines and schedules.  We take similar routes to work, eat at the same time in the evening and go to stores or malls without thinking of any risks.  Why?  Because we’ve done it a thousand times before and never had any problems.  So we relax, stop worrying and spend less time thinking a few steps ahead of the moment.  Unfortunately, these are the times when tragedy or disaster strikes and we are the most vulnerable.

Misguided Perceptions

Our perception of the world around us dictates how we think, feel and respond to every situation we face on a daily basis.  Without getting too lost into the world of psychology, we ultimately create our own reality.  This reality is part of how we as humans cope with uncertainty and fear.  We like to think things are okay when they’re not.  We like to feel safe when we are in danger and we tend to look at the bright side when there is none.

We actually need to train our brains to undo these natural responses in order to see things for what they really are.  Unfortunately, this is a very active process that many of us do not walk through on a continual basis.  Our perceptions can cloud our judgment, influence our decisions and lead to us making serious, yet unnecessary mistakes.  Consequently, our situational awareness can diminish simply because we don’t want to view the world or our surroundings as they really are.



We can overload our senses, send our minds racing and zoom through life with tunnel vision a lot easier than we think.  Overload comes in many forms.  It can stem from taking in too much information at one time.  It can come from being inundated with too many problems at once.  It can occur if we don’t keep our emotions in check.  It can come from being too busy or too exhausted.  No matter the reason, overload distracts us and keeps us from focusing in on the situation at hand.  It keeps us thinking about everything but the present, and this can prove to be fatal.

Stress from Perfectionism

Accomplishing the mission, being fully-prepared, accounting for every possible contingency.  These are all things that we strive to accomplish in our preparedness efforts.  However, we must allow for defeat, setbacks and mistakes in order to be focused and flexible enough to adapt when necessary.  The constant striving to have all of our ducks in a row, following the checklists and being in a constant state of readiness can all keep us from taking in the details that surround the task at hand.   The more we focus on our ideal situation can take our attention from the moment, and leave us vulnerable to being caught off guard.

Remember that situational awareness is a learned behavior that requires active attention.  It’s important to train the mind to be in the moment and find ways to cope with everything else without getting distracted.  Part of that process is being aware of these pitfalls and finding ways to deal with them.  None of us are perfect, and even the most astute survivalist out there needs to find ways to keep their head in the game in order to be mindful of their surroundings.  Train yourself to quickly dismiss distractions, emotions or feelings that can take your mind off of the moment so you can get your attention back on the task at hand.

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