We all worry. It is part of the human condition. Regardless of whether we are in control of a given situation or not, we worry about it. We worry about money and our well being probably more than any other two topics. Now, money is not what we do here, so, that leaves us with well being. This week we will discuss worry and our well being as it pertains to personal safety and protection.
When do we worry about our personal safety? When we feel in danger of course. We may get into driving in bad weather at some point, but, for this discussion lets use the example of walking down a big city street at night.
You are walking down the street and you worry about that guy loitering, smoking a cigarette, looking right at you, at the door of an obviously closed shop. What are worried about? That he will mug you, he is the lookout for an active burglary? Our imagination has a tendency to run away and go worst case instantly. He might be waiting for the bus, or a friend. The point is, we don’t know, this is why we worry.
As you approach a situation that causes the hair on your neck to stand up, and you begin to worry what is your plan? What if ____(fill in the blank) happens? What am I going to do, who is with me, what are obvious danger signs, etc.
A big part of training and mental preparedness is playing the “what if” game and going through mental simulations. Going back to our example, as you approach this suspicious individual what is going through your head? Do you begin to pray, panic, looking for possible help nearby, or: do you begin to analyze and assess the possible threat? Which of these is most prudent? Ok, that was kinda a trick question, you should throw up a quick “flare prayer” and then begin to assess the threat.
What am I going to do if he starts walking towards me? What if he asks you for change? What if, what if, what if… Let’s begin to break this down. If you find yourself in this position you already want to have played what if, making critical decisions in an adrenaline filled moment, you may get yourself in trouble.
Even in mundane, and known safe situations, run through a what if. At the grocery store, the gas pump, the stop light, etc. Ask yourself, what is that guy pulled a gun or a knife; what if he tried robbing the place; or, what if he started beating his girlfriend? You need to know the laws and your capabilities and apply them accordingly you simulations. Combine that knowledge and play the what if game all the time.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Marine General James Mattis (Ret): “Be polite, be professional, and have a plan to kill everyone you meet.” Chew on this and prepare yourself mentally.
What can we learn:
Play what if regularly and appropriately.
Don’t go overboard. If a bank is being robbed by a 5 man team with automatic rifles, and you are across the street. Be a good witness and call the police. Do not interject yourself into this situation.
Be realistic and mentally prepared for anything!