Last week, I had the privilege of meeting Brandon’s kick ass new dog, Castor, over a breakfast meeting. He’s a beautiful Belgian Malinois straight from Holland. Upon meeting him, he seemed just as friendly and happy as any ordinary dog (I’m assuming Brandon gave him the “signal” that I was a friend, not a foe), but after observing him throughout the morning, it became apparent just how special he is, and that he is not an ordinary dog.

There was not a single noise, person, car, leaf, or insect that moved without catching Castor’s attention. Seeing his head snap back and forth made my head start to do the same, thinking, What is he looking at? Who’s there? What was that sound? Talk about being alert. He made me realize my observation and awareness is still really weak, and that although it is unrealistic to be paranoid, being consumed in my own world gets the best of me more often than not, despite my best efforts to pay closer attention to my surroundings.

The following is an excerpt from Escape the Wolf, which I thought was interesting and relevant in relation to some of our past posts on self-awareness and visualization. (Which I know we’ve already driven home, but these are some good pointers and drills to help make you better!) Thank you, Castor, for the much needed reminder!

Excerpt from Escape the Wolf: Keep in Mind Drills

Keep in Mind (KIM) drills are great for increasing observation and retention performance. This training drill is used in sniper-related military training and requires a partner to set up several different objects, in a particular order, spread out within a designated environment. You then have a limited amount of time to observe and retain the details of the pre-staged environment. Once the time is up, you must write down everything observed and sketch exactly where each item was located. Doing this regularly increases your ability to observe, retain and remember small details.

As mentioned previously, you need to pay attention to perceive and retain information. Remember, too, that perception can play games with you. Most people use Hollywood and the media as their frame of reference for what a threat looks like. This type of reference limits you.

Often, real threats are unassuming and invisible in the environment. Don’t filter out the real threats because of false stereotypes. Be as concerned about the baby-faced teenager who is hanging out (and probably eyeing your purse or wallet) as you are the hulking “foreigner.”

Photo Credit: Helmut Newton