Be Alert, Not Paranoid

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Where is your focus?

One of the things we include in all of our firearms training classes is  situational awareness training. After all, it’s what your 360-degree scans are all about. But what about the times that you are not shooting, like walking out of the store to your car. Do you stop in the middle of the parking and adopt “finger gun” sul and start scanning for threats? I hope not!

What about just scanning your head a little and observing what’s going on? If you are in the habit of scanning and actually making mental notes, then you are probably in condition yellow, or an external wide focus. That’s where you should be as much as possible.  It’s also not as tiring staying at the level of awareness!
You may think this is just tiring or unnecessary. If you are working yourself up too much, maybe even becoming paranoid, then that’s not quite where you want to keep your focus. Being aware of your surroundings is a good thing in moderation. You do not need to be hyper-vigilant all the time. The time for that is when the hair on the back of your neck stands up or you see something imminent.

Find the Balance

The key to maintaining your advantage over bad guys, seeing them coming before they get to you, is finding an external wide focus that doesn’t tire you out or make you paranoid. The smoke shop clerk in the video did just that and saw the bad guys coming into the store.  If he hadn’t seen them so early, they might have had the drop on him.  Instead, he had good situational awareness and gave them some love.

One of the simplest things to start doing this is to actually look up while you’re walking! How many of you tend to look at your feet or avoid making eye contact with people as you walk? Break that bad habit today and look up. You’ll be amazed at what you see. Make eye contact and greet people.
We might be a little biased about that since we are in the south but it is a good way to humanize yourself right off the bat. It’s also a way to show confidence, which just made you a harder target. Observe things around you but don’t get caught up in scanning. If you start getting nervous about not being able to see and observe everything, back off the intensity a little. Life is no fun when you’re making yourself miserable.

Enjoy life. Have fun, but pay attention.