Any combat veteran does this routinely, personally I can’t turn it off and it drives my significant other crazy sometimes. We walk into buildings, rooms, down the street, etc. and I determine where our points of egress and cover are, among other things. If you get good at it (repetition), it’s a subconscious and fast process. The objective of the game is to have an escape or attack plan constantly, it’s the ultimate “what if” scenario. It’s something that is constantly employed down range and especially during missions or patrols. Situational awareness is the ultimate objective and is still extremely relevant to everyday life. It prevents complacency and that’s the ultimate killer.

Projection in this manner creates a game you play. The process gets you looking around at your surroundings. You begin to identify objects around the room you’re in and where all the entrances and exits are, where the cover versus concealment is in the room. Eventually you graduate to buildings and eventually bigger things like areas or city blocks. A lot of “the game” depends on how well you know your surroundings physically. The major fluctuation in the game, or unknown variable, is people. You begin to watch the people who enter your “bubble” or who come within your awareness range and with that you evaluate them accordingly and realistically prepare for their most probable course of action or at the very least have gained the benefit of being aware of their presence.

Everyday civilians may view this exercise as something out of a Jason Bourne movie but that simply isn’t the case. Anyone can play, and anyone can become extremely proficient at it. I keep calling it a game but really it’s a life skill. It can save you from a car wreck or physical assault, probably something as trivial as tripping or knocking over a cup of coffee though. Regardless, situational awareness equals survival and should be taken seriously because you may find yourself in a situation someday where it saves you from physical harm.

Pictures courtesy of the author