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Anyone who has seen the Bourne Identity might be interested in the notion of situational awareness. There’s a scene toward the beginning of that film where Jason Bourne is trying to work out his identity. He’s alarmed at the way his own mind has been trained to work and explains that within minutes of walking into a diner, he has assessed the weight and strength of other patrons, memorized the car number plates of the cars parked outside, identified the exits and even noticed that the bartender is left-handed.

This kind of training really does exist among intelligence officers and military personnel. It’s called ‘situational awareness’ and it essentially involves being able to quickly and easily identify key facts about your surroundings.

Situational awareness is important for everyone though and certainly for those interested in cultivating a warrior mindset. Situational awareness allows us to identify potential threats faster so that we can avoid or neutralize them. It allows us to move quickly and efficiently when the situation calls for it and ultimately it lets us keep ourselves and others safer.

Problem is, most of us have our mind on other things: things like our office, Angry Birds, debt, relationships and the girl at the office with the short skirt.

How do we get our mind back in the game and start paying attention to the things that matter to us and to those we care about?

The OODA Loop

In the excellent Art of Manliness article, writer Brett McKay describes a method used by Air Force fighter pilot/military strategist John Boyd. OODA is a four step process that tells us to:

Observe

Orient

Decide

Act

First then, you must observe. This means that you mustn’t completely relax and kick your feet up. In neuroscience terms, you mustn’t let your ‘default mode network’ kick in (essentially, you must keep your mind on what’s happening). You should be relaxed yes, but also alert.

Position yourself in any room in such a position that you can see the maximum number of people and avoid letting people get the jump on you. A good example would be the corner of a room with your back to the wall. Remain near an exit where possible.

The next step is to orient, which in this context means looking for specific things. Establish a ‘baseline’ by thinking about the normal behaviour and conditions for a certain area. Look out for examples of deviation from this norm. Does someone look uncomfortable? Is someone inappropriately dressed? Is there a noise that shouldn’t be there?

Next decide whether or not to act and how to act. Have a plan of action and do not hesitate. Trust your instinct at this stage and if in doubt, practice caution. Someone acting suspiciously or potentially violently? Try moving away from them, or alerting them to security. Find an area has an unusual vibe? Then get your family out of there.

In today’s modern world, we don’t tend to think of people as warriors anymore. Most of us are pencil pushers rather than fighters and it is very rare that we ever have to put ourselves in harm’s way or take on a gang of enemies.

This is a good thing for the most part, but it has resulted in many of us becoming soft and weak willed.

And the reality is that we don’t need to give up on being warriors. Just because we don’t need to fight anymore, that doesn’t mean we can’t approach modern challenges as warriors. It doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from adopting a warrior’s mindset.

And it doesn’t mean that there really aren’t any modern warriors left. There are those fighting on our front lines and there are those who simply approach modern challenges and obstacles with the mindset of a warrior from times gone by. In this post, we’ll take a look at what makes a true warrior and at whether you might fit that mold.

If not, then this list will help you to better understand the areas where you should aim to improve your conduct…

Takes the Harder Path

The warrior is someone who has a steadfast mission and who knows what they want to achieve. They have a purpose and a reason for being and as such, they are driven like few others.

Thus, the warrior doesn’t give in and take the easy route. They don’t relax on the couch and eat cake, they don’t blame others for their mistake. The warrior is happy to take the harder path if it takes them closer to their goal and if it helps them to become stronger in the process.

Sees Obstacles As Challenges

In a similar vein, the warrior does not see challenges as something to be feared or cursed. When things are going wrong, the warrior relishes the opportunity to develop themselves and to test themselves.

Doesn’t Give In to Fear

The warrior is not without fear, but they have it under control. The warrior knows how to use their fear as a motivator and how to suppress it when appropriate.

Stays Calm in a Stressful Situations

When everyone else is panicking, the warrior stays calm and focussed. They know what they need to accomplish and they know that getting in a flap won’t help anyone.

Looks After Their Body and Mind

While there may be few physical fights left, the warrior knows that they owe it to themselves and to those around them to look after their bodies and to train for a battle that may never come. The warrior doesn’t allow themselves to grow weak in times of plenty, they train, they hone and they respect their bodies and minds.

Takes Responsibility

The warrior is quick to take action and to make decisions, the main reason being that they are not afraid to take responsibility for their action. They gladly carry a great weight on their shoulders, knowing that they will face whatever comes.

You can check out How to have a Bulletproof Mindset of a Fearless Warrior HERE.

 

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