SA, environment, and personal history- long

SA, environment, and personal history- long

This is a discussion on SA, environment, and personal history- long within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; So I've been thinking about throwing this out her for a while. And INccwchris's post in scenarios has kind of set this off. I have ...

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    VIP Member Array chiefjason's Avatar
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    SA, environment, and personal history- long

    So I've been thinking about throwing this out her for a while. And INccwchris's post in scenarios has kind of set this off. I have to admit something first and foremost.

    My wife's SA is better than mine. Likely always will be. So why?

    I used to work as a Wilderness Counselor with at risk males. At a point in my career I was studying William Glasser, who specialized in and developed Choice Theory and Reality Theory. In one of his books he talks about how awareness relates to power, or more specifically lack of power.

    Simply put, people who are in a position of being subordinate tend to develop more awareness of their surroundings than people who are in more dominate positions. Before anyone gets too wound up, there are not absolutes here. I've seen people who should have been clueless be unbelievably aware.

    If you don't believe it, ask the secretary if the boss is having a good day. Or a kid if mom/dad are having a good or bad day. Ask a wife if her husband is having a good day. They will know. Because it is important for them to see the clues about how someone feels in order for their day to go smoother. Has anyone ever had a secretary tell them it's not a good day to talk to the boss about that? They see something in the boss that tells them he would not be receptive to the idea right now. Ever come through the door and have a child tell you mommy/daddy is in a bad mood? They need to know that to know how to deal with that parent and not get yelled at or punished. This is particularly true in abusive parent situations.

    Does the boss need to know if the secretary is having a bad day? Not really. He may care less. Does a parent need to know if the kids are having a bad day. In a loving relationship, yes. But if the relationship is abusive they could care less. Why? Because they are in the position of power and do not have to know that information. It does not effect the person with the power as much as it effects the person who does not have the power.

    Why does my wife have better SA than me. She had to have it growing up. It made her life easier. You learn when to stay out of the way.

    Why is mine less. I was one of the bigger guys in class till high school. I just simply did not get messed with much. So it was of no use to me to develop this as a life skill. Not trying to brag, I wish it WAS better developed. As it stands, it's a work in progress.

    How does this relate to CC? If you have spent most of your life in a position of less power, where you needed to be aware of what was going on, you may find yourself wondering what all the fuss is about. Good for you. It's likely so ingrained that you don't even think about it. If you have spent your life in a position of relative power you may be behind the learning curve. Trying to catch up on what the cues and tells are of a stranger with bad intentions. That's where I find myself. Catching up. It helps that I am aware of the issue and some of the reasons why. And I can turn the SA on more now than I used to.

    A quick story from my past. When I was a counselor I had to start wearing my watch with the face of it under my wrist. Why? If a situation was headed towards a physical restraint with a student I would turn my watch around to keep it from getting beat up on the ground. One day a kid commented that, "Someone is getting ready to get restrained." I asked him what he meant later. He told me it was simple, I was turning my watch around so that I could restrain someone without messing it up. And that's some serious SA from a 14 yr old male!

    Of course lots of things can teach you to crank up your SA. Gangs, the street, military, LEO, and many others. And some of those are positions of real power who, under the above theory, may not need it. But it becomes imperative to their survival anyway. So they develop it. But the folks who have developed it from the ground up, as kids or young adults, can have some mighty strong SA. I know my wife does.

    Fire away, argue or agree. I've been meaning to post this up and have not gotten around to it till know. If I can find the book that references this I will pass that also. But it's one of William Glasser's books, just can't remember which one.
    I prefer to live dangerously free than safely caged!

    "Our houses are protected by the good Lord and a gun. And you might meet 'em both if you show up here not welcome son." Josh Thompson "Way Out Here"


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array EvilMonk's Avatar
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    Good post, good points.

    It's easier for someone described as having "no natural enemies" to fall into the trap of lowering their SA. The thing is that I can see criminals including lack of awareness into their criteria list of things that "mark" a potential victim. Anyone, no matter how big/intimidating/obviously strong, can be a victim if they don't know what's going on around them.

    Keep your head on a swivel and stay safe!
    That which does not kill us leaves us broken and bleeding...

    Donít mess with the guy who can barely stand up. His remaining options for self-defense don't include your survival.

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    Member Array rolltide13's Avatar
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    im a big guy (6'3") and yet i did catch quite a bit of flak as a younger kid. i feel that i have the benefit of growing up with size and the need for SA at an early age. but to the OP i completely understand the point you are trying to make, and i think it was well put.

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    Distinguished Member Array Hoganbeg's Avatar
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    Interesting, but I'm not sure how much it's worth in a practical sense. How would one apply this to real life?

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    VIP Member Array Brass63's Avatar
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    Good thoughts and observations. Understandiing where we've come from is often the first step.
    The United States Constitution © 1791. All Rights Reserved.

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    VIP Member Array miklcolt45's Avatar
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    chief,

    I think you are right on. I grew up in one of those homes where I needed to know what emotional state the parents were in...for emotional, if not physical, self-preservation. I could tell you from a block away how they were doing--by how the cars were parked in the driveway.

    I carry that awareness of being very perceptive of others' emotional states. It is a good thing, and a bad thing, depending on situation.
    When my gut tells me something about someone, I listen. I'm not always right, but it is rather incredible how often I am right.

    Now, is that training or genetics? Beats me. Probably some of both.

    I think you are right on target.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliott

    The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
    Albert Einstein

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    New Member Array enewman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoganbeg View Post
    Interesting, but I'm not sure how much it's worth in a practical sense. How would one apply this to real life?
    I may miss your point, but I will chime in and see if I can put this in a practical sense as it applies to myself, and my experiences.

    I am on the other side of the spectrum size wise compared to the OP. I was always short and slender. As a result, I tended to be picked on a fair bit. When you are the target of harassment you start profiling at an early age (say what you want about the unfairness about profiling, but it is natural, and important), you may not realize your doing it, but figuring out quickly, that the big guys like to pick on you, or being alone in a bathroom in a public high school means you might be in for some trouble. As a result, you pay more attention to comings and goings of those around you. Footsteps, voices etc. You start wandering into an area and wonder to yourself "where do I go if someone starts messing with me". I was small, being trapped someplace may mean I couldnt extract myself from a situation. I dont think its paranoia, I think its is a built in survival mechanism the smaller/weaker/ more docile creatures use to prolong survival chances.

    How does this relate to real life? I am older now, but not much bigger. I STILL tend to walk into a place, and watch for potential trouble. I look for escape, allies, and opportunities should I have a problem and the need arise. I relate this largely to my experiences as a child.

    I also learned to monitor the emotional state of those around you, the body language. It has to date served me very well, and has gotten me out of more problems than I will ever be able to recount, simply because I grew up watching and seeing things. You can tell if you watch what kind of mood someone is in, and the mood they are in is likely to indicate how they interact with you, or people around you. Clues, like the watch turned around for instance, can allow you to help friends and family before the need arises. They may also give you an indicator of when its a good time to move to the back of the room, near the door, or to intervene on your friends behalf before things turn ugly.

    My opinion on this is that it is hands down one of the most practical things I developed over my childhood, and I really believe the OP is right. I am confident these skills can be learned anytime in life of course, but I know I picked mine up early, and I suspect many of those who have a higher level of situational awareness may have at least ingrained good practices at a young age.

    As the OP stated, his correlation between more powerful people and less SA is likely a good one. Its sort of a "the higher on the food chain you are, the less predators you have to watch for" approach to situational awareness.

  8. #8
    3D
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    chiefjason was the book: "Take Effective Control of Your Life" __William Glasser, M.D., 1984? He discusses both Choice Theory and Control Theory in it.

    miklcolt45 & enewman :my childhood experiences parallel yours and consequently I am very SA and EA (EmpathicallyAware).

    My opinion: Although it may be 'learned' easier as a young child (that's when any "facility" happens) I know it can be very effectively developed or improved any time in life either by choice (as in being motivated by interest or desire); or by circumstance/s (as in being in a dangerous situation). I think a key component is getting into the habit of really paying attention to NOW and not being mentally preoccupied in some reverie about the 'past' or 'future'. Staying "present". I know it sounds trite but I can make it a challenging exercise for myself at times.

    [Is this a NC thing?? chiefjason Hickory, NC / enewman also NC / 3D Summerfield, NC __what's up with that?? ]
    "It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end"____Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519

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    VIP Member Array oakchas's Avatar
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    How do you apply this in real life? Pretty simply...

    If you were the "school bully" you were feared everywhere you went... You got so accustomed to this that you were completely unaware that the 98 pound weakling you took lunch money from every day was rushing you from behind with a baseball bat. He cracked your skull, and you left school in an ambulance.

    If you were the 98 pound weakling who got his lunch money taken every day, you were always on high alert... And sometimes you thought of ways to get even... one day, there was a baseball bat left on the recess grounds and you took it and ran up to Bluto and cracked his skull!

    Now we've all grown up...

    Billy, 98 pound weakling, is a computer nerd making $200K salary and stock options... He's still scared, doesn't go out much, has a gun and a permit, won't even get on an elevator with other men... and so on...

    Bluto became an iron worker, he works high iron when he can... makes about $60K a year... He ain't scared of nuttin' but he's got his gun and permit, too... And way back in middle school, he learned to "watch his 6." Problem is, that's all he watches... he couldn't recognize a threat coming right at him... but nobody will sneak up on him from behind.

    Because of our environments growing up (you are what you come from), we developed skill sets to protect us... sometimes those skill sets are unbalanced. We need to round ourselves out... understanding that while the world is full of bad things, everyone and every situation are not the OK corral, and that all threats will not come from behind.

    There are times when it's perfectly okay to be in white... or at least low yellow... there are times when it's wise to ramp up the SA.
    Train your SA.
    Go to a mall, watch people; go to wally world, watch people; go to a club, watch people; go to a somewhat seedy bar; watch people; go to a college campus; watch people.
    Rats!
    It could be worse!
    I suppose

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array chiefjason's Avatar
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    3D, I think it's either "Reality Therapy" or "Counseling with Choice Theory" both or which are buried in my garage right now. I thumbed through "Choice Theory- A New Psychology of Personal Freedom" last night and did not find the passage I wanted.

    Hoganbeg, heres an example of what I am talking about. We were in a store a few weeks back. Large big box craft store. I'm looking for something and the wife and kids are just roaming around. She pegs this guy as being out of place in the store. She watches him walk the entire store once, never looking at any merchandise. Just watching everyone in the store. We pass him on the way out on his second lap. I placed him at least as out of place and made a note of it. She asked me if I had seen him in the store. This time I could say yes, but it's not always the case. She basically felt that he was checking out people, and not in a good way. Possible looking for a potential target. She could have been very wrong. But how many other people had no idea this guy was doing something besides shopping? She made him early, and watched him most of the time we were in the store.
    I prefer to live dangerously free than safely caged!

    "Our houses are protected by the good Lord and a gun. And you might meet 'em both if you show up here not welcome son." Josh Thompson "Way Out Here"

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    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    Interesting, but I'm not sure how much it's worth in a practical sense. How would one apply this to real life?
    This is probably one of the most thought-provoking posts I've seen here. "How much is it worth"? If you can't extract value from it, then it's worth nothing to you. If you can see what the author is talking about, this is extremely valuable information.

    Even at a basic level, this post goes a long way toward furthering our understanding of the definition of the term "Situational Awareness." As most of us will agree, SA is a LOT more than merely "being aware of one's surroundings."

    If you only think that SA means "being watchful," then you are only seeing the 5 percent of the iceberg visible above the surface. In fact, it is a very complex term with deep ramifications regarding success in a strategic environment.

    Here, we see a facet of SA with regard to awareness of social cues. Y'know, one reason why we sometimes think that dogs are almost psychic is because they are experts at reading human behavior. They have to be - canine culture is all about knowing the "order of the pack." There's dog 1, dog 2, etc. They are always interested in their position and rank in the pack. Likewise with humans, we constantly evaluate our order in the scheme of society. Who is dominant and who is subservient has a lot to do with the color of our SA.

    As martial artists (I hope that most of you think of yourselves that way), reading a situation correctly requires an intimate understanding of human relationships and what is expected from and anticipated by social players. Frequently, success in a combat situation is contingent on re-ordering the status of participants. Thinking of oneself as being the "alpha dog" in all situations would perforce lead to a sort of blindness, a foggy perception of what is happening in the flow of behavior around you.

    The takeaway message I get from this is to sharpen up and pay attention to the small cues.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

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    Distinguished Member Array tcox4freedom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miklcolt45 View Post
    chief,

    I think you are right on. I grew up in one of those homes where I needed to know what emotional state the parents were in...for emotional, if not physical, self-preservation. I could tell you from a block away how they were doing--by how the cars were parked in the driveway.

    I carry that awareness of being very perceptive of others' emotional states. It is a good thing, and a bad thing, depending on situation.
    When my gut tells me something about someone, I listen. I'm not always right, but it is rather incredible how often I am right.

    Now, is that training or genetics? Beats me. Probably some of both.

    I think you are right on target.
    mikl..
    Sounds like what I went through as an abused and "at risk" kid.


    chief..
    I was almost ready to disagree with you. (I thought you were going to say that working with troubled kids weakens your SA.) But, after reading your post I think you are 100% on target.

    Excellent observations and thanks for sharing your experience!

    My wife and I have worked with troubled kids as well. I have also worked with ex-cons, drug/alcohol addicts and opened my house up for people in transition. I actually think my upbringing, together with my experience over the last 30yrs as helped me "perfect" my SA skills.

    I know the ability the "read" people and evaluate "potential" threats has definitely improved over the years.

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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    An interesting piece.

    I agree that those in more subordinate positions generally develop a more acute sense of awareness than those in more dominate positions. Perhaps it is due to the more frequent use of power over them exercised by those in more dominate positions. The desire to avoid the unpleasant exercise of this power induces them to be more aware of the circumstances and conditions that preceed or indicate the possible exercise of that power. This often leads to the use of that awareness in virtually all situations, not just those around more dominant individuals.

    Those in more dominate positions, having power exercised over them less frequently, tend to have a less acute sense of awareness. The problem is that they do not recognize that those in more subordinate positions, while they do not often, can exercise power over them. Using the secretary as an example. She may be more aware of the bosses mood as she doesn't wish to get chewed out. The boss may be less aware of her mood, not realizing that she can screw up his schedule, or other actions, that will get him chewed out.

    The recognition that action against one can come from those more dominate or more subordinate or those with more or less power helps to create more awareness regardless of ones own particular position. This can happen earlier or later in life depending on the circumstances of each individuals life, including family life, environment and occupation, to name a few.

    The level of awareness attainable by any individual, once the recognition of its value is perceived, varies with a number of factors. The physical and mental attributes of the individual, the methods used to acheive a particular level of awareness and the amount of distractions in ones life, are some.

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    Ex Member Array Treo's Avatar
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    I think this is quite valid but I also think it goes out the window for cops, combat vets and anyone else who works in a high threat environment.

    I won't go into great detail here but I grew up in an environment such that I lived on the edge of orange most of the time. I was also taught to never ever show emotion. This plays out in my life now in ways that I've caught flack for here but that's really who I am. If I don't know you I won't answer the door for you, you will not approach me (there's a differnce between walking by me in Wal Mart and approaching me) and I will not involve myself in your problems.

    I worked w/ troubled kids for a while my first year in college and I still have teeth marks on my arm and a mark on my head to remind me to never take my eyes off of a threat

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    Senior Member Array Tala's Avatar
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    I also tend to agree with what the OP was getting at. :)

    Quote Originally Posted by shockwave View Post
    Here, we see a facet of SA with regard to awareness of social cues. Y'know, one reason why we sometimes think that dogs are almost psychic is because they are experts at reading human behavior. They have to be - canine culture is all about knowing the "order of the pack." There's dog 1, dog 2, etc. They are always interested in their position and rank in the pack. Likewise with humans, we constantly evaluate our order in the scheme of society. Who is dominant and who is subservient has a lot to do with the color of our SA.
    Also, dogs are at a disadvantage interacting with us because they don't naturally speak English (or any other human language) so in the same way that a blind person may learn to listen better, a dog learns to read our physical language to compensate for not understanding the words. (of course they do learn the choice words pretty easily, my Chow dog hides if you drop an F bomb.....and it's not like we've ever been mean to her - we're usually cussing the internet/computer/modem lol)

    Hoganbeg, heres an example of what I am talking about. We were in a store a few weeks back. Large big box craft store. I'm looking for something and the wife and kids are just roaming around. She pegs this guy as being out of place in the store.
    Having a good sense of what is "normal" for a situation is the key here. Most guys don't normally go to craft stores unless their significant female half draggs them along, (what were you looking for by the way? j/k!) so a guy by himself roaming around is gonna stick out to anyone who knows the "norm" of that particular place.
    I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them. -- John Wayne as John B. Books in "The Shootist"

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