Maintaining situational awareness is an ongoing task- not something you learn once and automatically continue. Dangerous situations don’t happen to most of us on a daily basis- while this is generally a good thing it does allow our brains to easily focus on other things- leading to a dangerous false sense of security.
Here are 5 common barriers that reduce our ability to understand a situation. Understanding each of these will barriers can help you recognize them. With time and a little practice you can strengthen your own mindset to focus your awareness when you are in places or situations that require you to do so. Remember that the OODA loop is your framework for maintaining situational awareness- simply reading this article will help you Orient to these barriers.
Perception (based on faulty information processing)
Perception is an individuals view of reality. This can be affected by these dangerous contributors:
- Past experiences – these may or may not be helpful. If something appears similar to a past experience we are likely to respond accordingly to the situation in progress
- Filters- sometimes we don’t acknowledge information that does not align with our mental picture
- Expectations- sometimes we interpret new information in our environment in a way that aligns with our plan or expectations
Congratulations- reading this has broadened your personal depth of experience. Now you know what the 5 common barriers to effective OODA execution are. When you’re in public or in a potentially dangerous situation and you recognize them the best thing you can do is work on refocusing yourself. Losing your situational awareness increase your risk of making mistakes you could have avoided under more typical circumstances. Practice the mindset and it will be harder to lose it when you need it.