Spidey-Senses: Developing Situational Awareness in Real Life

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Web slinging from one building to another and superhuman strength might not be possible for us normal humans (unless a radioactive spider is lying in wait somewhere). But Spider-Man’s Spidey Sense or sixth sense is within reach of our mortal hands. Outside of Marvel’s fictional universe, this iconic superpower is identical to intuition or situational awareness. Like Spider-Man’s ability, developing enhanced situational awareness can alert a person to dangerous situations before they materialize and escalate.

Unfortunately, with the advent of technology, society is more distracted than ever. People texting, listening to music, and hunched over their phones while walking is a common sight. It’s rare to find anyone with their heads up observing and cherishing their surroundings on the streets. This is worrying as researchers have found that texting and walking has resulted in 11,100 pedestrian injuries. Multitasking is not good for human brains as they work best when focusing on one task at a time. Other senses are compromised when there is divided attention.

Observe and familiarize

Practice is key to developing situational awareness. You will not be able to know what to watch out for and execute the necessary steps if you spend your time engrossed in the internet world. You are better off having an Uber accident attorney on call while distractedly walking in Los Angeles.  Observation and familiarization are basic skills of situational awareness. One needs to know what the warning signs are to be mindful of by establishing a baseline in given situations. Noise levels, untoward smells, movement of people, and even the manner of dressing are examples of criteria to notice.

If you are familiar with what is normal and isn’t, you can assess if the irregularities are a potential threat. You’ll know if you need to disengage, leave the area or alert the authorities. Selecting good vantage points where you can observe the entire environment can help in preparation. You can identify exits and roadblocks to avoid for a swift escape. If you’re sitting with your back to the restaurant, it might be too late to react when something happens.

Awareness exercise

Training your skills

There are different training exercises one can do to improve their Spidey Sense. Get into the habit of taking in the different elements of your environment. Why not try playing the eyewitness game. Describing people especially to the police is a valuable skill. Next time you’re out in a café, pick a random person you can see and note down some characteristics that can serve as concrete identifiers. Is the person clean-shaven? What kind of hairstyle and clothing is the person wearing? You can even take a photo and compare what you’ve written.

Another helpful activity is doing an exit interview with your friends whenever you leave a certain area. Ask each other questions on what they have observed of their surroundings. How many staff members were there? What were the decorations on the wall and which ones are prone to fall during an earthquake? What dishes were the people on the next table having? This exercise helps you notice things that you tend to ignore and miss but could prove vital in an emergency.

We are always daydreaming of having superpowers without realizing some abilities can be possible to acquire in reality. Situational awareness is an innate characteristic that can be honed through practice and training – no radiation needed.

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