Situational Awareness – OODA Loop
By: Patrick Allan, Lifehacker.com
In a world of smartphones and headphones, we often forget how to be aware of our surroundings. That can be dangerous—or rude, depending on the situation—but you can help yourself out with the “OODA Loop” learning system.
Originally developed by Air Force fighter pilot and military strategist John Boyd, the OODA Loop is designed to help you quickly assess every situation so you’re ready any possible outcome. Brett and Kate McKay at the Art of Manliness highlight the major steps:
The four steps of the OODA Loop are Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. In a head-to-head competition, like air-to-air combat, a violent confrontation in a parking lot, or even political contests, the person who can cycle through the OODA Loop the fastest wins.
When it comes to being aware of current situation, however, the Observe and Orient steps are the most important. As McKay explains, Orient tells you what you should look for and how to turn it into usable information. For example, when you walk into a coffee shop, observe and note how many people are inside and where the exits are located. That way you can Decide on an emergency escape route and Act on it if the time comes. It might seem silly to always prepare for emergencies like this, but it’s not silly when something actually happens. It’s easy to do, and with enough practice you’ll find yourself doing it automatically. Being safe mostly comes down to preparation, so make yourself as safe as possible.