What is Situational Awareness?

Situational awareness is the knowledge of others and how they impact you and vice versa.

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Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

As much as I love fencing and one-on-one combat, I have an equal love for melee combat.

Melee combat, for those unfamiliar with the concept, involves combat between two or more fighters against like or greater numbers. The dynamics of combat change dramatically when the numbers increase.

Tactics for two-on-two differ from one-on-one. Now multiply that by a LOT. Tactics for dozens versus dozens are much more complex (and at these numbers you must consider overall strategy and tactics for small groups within them).

Other factors include what sort of situation for combat you’re in. Fighting in an open field is very different from a broken field or a bridge or in the woods.

One on one combat or melee combat, situational awareness must be taken into consideration.

Terrain and where others are will impact both types of combat. If you watch almost any movie fight scene you will see examples of using the space to your advantage (i.e. fighting in a bar, someone grabs a bottle or a chair to attack or defend themselves.) Knowing what you have to work with during any sort of combat can make the difference between victory and defeat.

This, of course, applies to lots of real-life matters, too. When you drive, you can’t just pay attention to the road. You need to be situationally aware of the cars on the road with you, traffic lights, weather issues, and numerous other factors that can impact your trip and getting to your destination.

Situational awareness in life is part of mindfulness and conscious reality creation.

Know the path you are on

When you go for a walk you may or may not be completely aware of all the aspects of the path you take.

If it’s a nice, clean, paved path you are likely to just walk. Of course, you need to check to makes sure you are remaining on the path. There are times you need to dodge poop or a slick pile of leaves or a puddle.

When you hike in the woods or in rocky terrain you need to be differently aware of your path. Now you must watch for things that could trip you up, injure your limbs and joints, and if you’re ascending or descending taking more consideration for your breathing and stamina.

We all know people who walk through life literally and figuratively blind. They don’t see what is going on around them. Sometimes this has to do with themselves — but mostly we notice it regarding their disregard.

Situational awareness accounts for other people you encounter on your literal or figurative path. Humans are social creatures. With few exceptions, we live among others.

If you are constantly bumping into people or knocking them down — unintentionally — you may lack situational awareness. It could be a result of insufficient attention without, too tight a focus within, or just inattention.

The Philosophy of Pathwalking cannot be practiced without situational awareness. When it lacks, you may find yourself impacting others unintentionally and causing future issues that, with situational awareness, could have been avoided.

Hence, knowing the path you are on in life is not just about you. Situational awareness takes in the overall big picture to prevent accidents, blind stumbling, and lessen potential hurt to yourself and others.

Literal situational awareness

We have all encountered people who lack situational awareness.

My current neighbors upstairs seem to be utterly unaware that we live below them. They step heavily, have a child who jumps a lot, and either blatantly or blindly ignore that we live down here — and they make a lot of noise.

This is a choice. Ignoring situational awareness leads to disagreements, confrontations, hurt feelings, and other negatives.

For example — smokers. Some smokers are very conscientious of nonsmokers. They choose to smoke in places where they will have little to no impact on everyone else.

Yet we all have encountered smokers who will blatantly disregard you, blow smoke in your face, and assert their “rights” to smoke where and how they please.

A very unfortunate current example — holiday travel. We are in the middle of an out-of-control pandemic. Yet, rather than do the smart thing, isolate and stay home, tons of people are going to gather with families and fly all over the country to do that. Given how many asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 have been the epicenter of the spread — this is a serious lack of situational awareness.

You are not an island unto yourself. The things you do impact other people. Being aware of this is situational awareness.

Figurative situational awareness

This is the intangible aspects that exist in everyday life.

For example, let’s say I decided to get in my car, abandon everyone and everything, and drive west to start my life completely over. This might be massively beneficial to me — but it will have an impact on other people in my life.

My wife would be displeased (to put it mildly) if I just took off. There would be hurt feelings among family and friends that I up and left without any regard for them. Creditors would come after me for unpaid debts. Issues from responsibilities I drop would impact others.

Situational awareness is the recognition of this. Just because I am striving to live the best life I can for myself doesn’t mean I do so in a vacuum. I count on certain people and things — and they, in turn, count on me.

This is where The Secret and the Law of Attraction can get abused. The lack of situational awareness on the part of those attempting to consciously create reality in one way or another will impact others. Nobody lives in a vacuum, and though the impact may be tiny it can spread in unexpected ways.

For more understanding of how that works, look up chaos theory and the Butterfly Effect.

Also — you cannot force others to YOUR way of thinking. You can’t make other people’s reality for them. For example, watch Trump and his supports trying to force their will on the election results.

Just because I can’t think, feel, nor act for anyone else — and I can’t make anyone do what I want them to — doesn’t mean I can ignore them, either. Everything I do has an impact. Situational awareness can clarify what this could be.

Self-care is not selfish

I state this a lot because people massively misunderstand what selfishness IS. Doing things for your own good is not selfish. Selfish is knowing that what you are doing will cause harm.

Admittedly, if you abandon people in your life to start a new life that knowingly causes harm. But this is where intent comes into play. The harm you’ve caused is hurt feelings, lost connections, and similar intangibles. It sucks a lot and will be massively uncomfortable.

Yet this still differs from selfish intentional harm. Selfish intentional harm is taking more than your share knowing you leave others without. Or running away and abandoning people, such as in my earlier example.

For example, it’s a person or company hoarding billions of dollars just to show off their “wealth” and make their few shareholders feel good — rather than having more than enough for themselves while helping those who work for them live more comfortably.

Situational awareness helps you recognize the line between harm that may occur resulting from changes you make and intentional harm. When people care about you — and you care about them — anything you do to change yourself could impact them negatively.

But that’s not on you. That’s on them. But if all you do is be who you think people want you to be — and in the process lose yourself or be untrue to who you are — you miss out.

Look, we each get one chance, in these meat suits, to live this one life. Taking that into account, you need to choose and decide what that looks like for you.

Situational awareness is the knowledge of others and how they impact you and vice versa. When you choose a path for your life, it’s the recognition of how others will be impacted by it.

How conscious and aware of the people and things around are you?

Thank you for reading. I am MJ Blehart. I write about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, and similar life lessons.

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Originally published at https://titaniumdon.com on November 25, 2020.

Written by

I am a practitioner of mindfulness, positivity, philosophy, & conscious reality creation. I love to inspire, open minds, & entertain. http://www.mjblehart.com

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