I want to share a training tip with you today. This is something I do regularly, and I think you could benefit from it as well.
First, a bit of context. We are witnessing an increase of terror attacks in public places, whether as a part of a terror organization, or unstable individuals, or copy cats inspired to gain world recognition through our instant 24 hour news cycle. These attacks aren’t just limited to third world countries. It’s happening all over. No exceptions of venue: attacks can happen at airports, train stations, bus stops, schools, malls, coffee shops, offices, nightclubs, or a regular busy street. And when you think you’ve identified a pattern, it will happen somewhere else. Living in panic and paranoia is not the answer. Being prepared is a must.
We can’t know how we will respond until we’re actually in this situation. We know one thing: We don’t want to be there when it happens, not us, and not our loved ones. What we can do is prepare.
You should already know the standard response when encountering an active shooter: Run, Hide, Fight. But the details of what that really means is impossible to understand or explain in one short email.
I would like to dive into one important skill for prevention. This skill is awareness—attention to details.
Being aware of what is going on around us right now will help us notice what might happen in the near future. Any action out of the ordinary can send us warning signs. Recognizing these warning signs will give us more time to be ready, prepare, and hopefully prevent the worst from happening.
We live in a time where distraction is a normal thing. Sounds, lights, and screens are all around us, in our pockets and hands. It is easy to neglect being aware, and fall into these devices and distractions and ignore our surroundings. It takes effort and training to increase conscious awareness and fight selective attention.
There are a few training methods to combat what is called “inattentional blindness.” One that you can start doing right now is two or three times a week, pick something to pay attention to, such as a single color, object, sound, or physical feature. Each time, choose a new thing to focus on, and focus on recognizing that thing throughout the day. Doing this exercise will improve your ability to focus on the details of your surroundings.
Not just for survival, awareness is also good for creativity, such as in art and sport. Test your attention skills with this simple video and then prepare yourself for responding to a public shooter.
Never say, “It will never happen to me.”
“So that one may walk in peace.”