Staying Aware And Alert Is The Goal

With so much changing so quickly it has become even more important to practice being aware and alert. Without these two characteristics you are predictably reactive.

Heighten Sense Of Awareness For Life

Our goal should be to live our life in a heightened sense of awareness. The world is a marvelous place despite the chaos we are enduring at the moment. To truly live a fulfilling life means you are capable of appreciating your surroundings. When we take in the sights we are in essence practicing awareness. We can avoid or at least be prepared by practicing awareness. Very few people look for conflict, look to start trouble. Many will do just about anything to avoid. They are avoiding not because they saw the problem in advance, but because they really have no other options by that point.

Being Aware Means Being Alert

Being Alert Means Being Prepared

As you move through the world, you are perceiving your surroundings through multiple senses. When we talk about awareness we must talk about alertness as well. While seemingly the same, they are different. To me alertness is a readiness of mind. Meaning, through your awareness you have determined a potential threat. At this point, you are now alerted to the threat and start planning on how to manage said threat. While I can be aware and lack alertness, I really cannot be alert without awareness. Practice being aware and alert to help avoid being surprised. Moving out of condition white is the most important step towards awareness. Condition white is being unaware and unalert.

Prioritize To Reduce System Overload

Behind the wheel of a vehicle it is implied we are in condition yellow. You should not operate a motor vehicle if you can not be aware of your surroundings. The moment you make contact with the road you are putting your life and the lives of those around you in danger. How you manage the danger is what allows you to make it home at the end of the day. As you navigate the roadways you are constantly perceiving threats and have to quickly evaluate whether they are threat towards you or something near you. The problem with being aware is when you receive too much information. Our brains evaluate whether this threat is a threat directed at us. Then whether we need to take immediate action.

High Alert Means Low Aware

What I love about this idea is it’s fluidity. Our daily lives are permeated by dangerous situations. The problem is when we discard the dangers or fail to see other dangers. When a motorist veers to avoid hitting an animal on the road, but veers into oncoming traffic. While they recognized the danger of hitting an animal, they failed to keep aware of their surroundings and the oncoming car. When we reach a certain point of alertness it includes taking action. When we are observant we are prepared to take action. We have started to create a plan. We fail to see the unknown threat because our attention is directed at the known threat. It is hard to blame the person since they were at a heightened sense of arousal, but it still makes for a complex problem to solve.

When you can be proactive in your way of thinking, even if your preparation is not perfect it will more than likely be good enough. Not being aware and not seeing the threat gives you no option other than to react, usually with a suboptimal outcome.

2 thoughts on “How Alert And Aware Are You, Really

  1. Ed Bonawitz says:

    Jeff, thank you for this insightful point-of-view. I’m not sure why this is the case but I have noticed that the simple act of practicing EDC has increased my awareness and alertness while outside the home. Do you have any advice or techniques that you use you maintain increased awareness and/or alertness either at home or abroad?

    • Jeff Gonzales says:

      No problem and the best advice is three fold.

      1. Avoid distractions when in public
      2. Look for what doesn’t belong
      3. Trust your gut instinct

      Try to be biased towards action, versus inaction. Hope that helps.

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