Awareness is the foundation for all endeavors. In the absence of awareness all plans can collapse. The world is a complex place and no plan is able to anticipate every variable. When executing a plan it is awareness that will make visible clues to new variables that may arise. Problems some will interpret as accidental or conspiracies against them may have in fact just been unanticipated variables that could have been avoided with more keen attention. In the presence of competent awareness unforeseen variables can be avoided, or turned into minor speed bumps. Failures under the light of awareness can be seen in their truest form and learned from and not repeated. Awareness makes you more robust.
Tasks Distract from the Surroundings
Watch this fledgling bat learn a lesson on spatial awareness.
To be fair Bruce was tricked into learning that lesson while sparing with a superior foe. Whenever someone runs into me they immediately blame my size, not the fact that they were looking in the opposite direction of where they were walking. Watch these two people learn about spatial awareness the hard way engaged in a not so tasking activity.
It is very easy to laugh at the above gifs. But just replace the fountain with the Grand Canyon. Okay, some of you might still laugh at that. Schadenfreude aside, what if this was the subway? I’m sure if I looked hard enough…
…that wasn’t a hard search actually. Keeping aware of your surroundings is key to your survival.
Absurdity aside, how is a selfie related death even a thing? Is a Social Media push notification greater in value than life itself?
Are you Accustomed with the Area
This Tsunami stone warns people not to build homes below it. If you do build below it your house can be consumed by a wall of water. Like the above tsunami stone, I am giving you warnings, that your life, is in fact greater, than a selfie. Go through this quick mental check list before taking a selfie.
- Am I walking?
- Am I standing in traffic?
- Am I leaning over significant cliff or dangerous area?
- Am I taking a picture of myself doing a dangerous activity that requires my undivided attention?
If you answer YES to these maybe you should consider not taking a selfie. Is this picture worth more than my life itself? If it is, have you considered you can’t post it if you are dead?
Know the lay of the land. There is a reason cops are put on a beat. They are told to patrol an area over an over. This serves the obvious purpose of looking for anything suspicious but also to get a sense of what is normal for the area and have intimate knowledge of how to navigate it. If they are called for a burglary at the jewelry store on their beat they already know the victims, the location of the store, the quickest route during rush hour, but also who may have seen the burglary take place. When chasing the burglar they know not to jump over that fence or to take that alley instead of another. Their knowledge gives them a distinct advantage.
Thinking about cliff jumping? Have you swam around in the water below today? Did someone go in before you?
Don’t be Lazy with the Lay of the Land
Maybe you have cliff jumped a spot a thousand times but last week a boat sunk right where you normally dive and current low visibility in the water is obstructing it. Your life and well being is worth spending the ridiculously small amount of time it takes to swim the dive area to check for debris. There is a reason you fear the jump. Instinctively you know its dangerous. Ignoring instincts invites peril. I wonder if the kid who jumped above had ever heard of ‘Look Before you Leap.’
Be aware, always, but especially when driving, because you actively have others lives in your hands. Don’t be over confident in your knowledge of your route home. Maybe you have driven a road a thousand times so you decide “I can look down at my phone for a minute.” Until you are fortunate enough to own an automated car, a deer can leap out in front of you and kill you, and others, for neglecting your spatial awareness. Or the road can burn out right underneath you.
Heed the warnings of those before you. Learn from the mistakes of the people in these clips. Don’t build a house on sand. Pray for good weather but tie up your boat. If you aren’t aware of your surroundings and the environment doesn’t accidentally kill you, someone, with superior awareness may take advantage or even kill you. Don’t withdraw money alone in a dark alley after the sun went down. Pickpockets on subways are looking for signs that you are unaware. Las Vegas wins a minimum of 51% of all their bets. Don’t be the sickly gazelle on the Savannah, rather, be a sheep dog ever vigilant for wolves, to protect yourself and the ones you love. Preferably a cute sheep dog.
Check out the rest of the Awareness Series:
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Update 12/27/15: Man walks off cliff distracted by his phone. Too bad he didn’t read this article first.