awareness and preparation


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The Bushido Shoshinshu has this interesting entry titled Escort:

When a warrior is on duty and accompanying his lord on a journey, it is essential that he have a clear understanding concerning the place of stop-over that night which direction the lord’s encampment faces, how wide the area is, what roads lead into it and to have a general recognition of the place before the sun sets. The reason is that, should the encampment be in danger during the night from a sudden fire or a bad shift in wind direction and the lord have to suddenly leave, one should be able to take lead and direct the lord to safety. Moreover, when the sun has set, one should chat with the local people, making landmarks of the mountains, forests, temples, and shrines that could be seen from the area; and one should ask about, and have an understanding of the directions, east and west. This is also done with the intention of being able to answer quickly should something happen during the night, and the lord asks one for directions.      

Further, should one be on foot when accompanying his lord, he should precede him going up a hill and follow him going down. Although this seems extremely trivial, it is one of the mental attitudes taken by a warrior on duty.      

One should take these words as keys and make some effort in turning them about in his mind; and, as he is a warrior in service, should strive without negligence, night and day, in the effort to help his lord in some way at least once. This is the basic intention of a warrior.

I find it an interesting anecdote about the importance of awareness, preparation and mindset. Think about this passage for a minute and apply it to your everyday life. How often do you think about exactly where you are? Could you direct 911 to your location? Do you know the address? What direction and near what cross street are you while you drive to work?

I make a habit of finding seating in restaurants where I can see the entrance and most of the room while putting my back to a wall or corner if possible. In my career I do many of these sorts of things; not pulling up directly in front of houses, approaching cars in a special manner, walking into convince stores from the side lot and looking in through the window before entering to buy a coffee…and many others. This is not done out out of fear or paranoia, just out of habit. Awareness and a bit of forethought will keep you alive a lot longer than fighting skills.

What sort of parallels can you find that apply to your everyday life?

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One thought on “awareness and preparation”

  1. Something as mundane as putting a baby into a car seat can create an awareness gap if you don’t consciously decide on a ‘how to’ that will prevent easy approach/access.

    I started out just doing the usual put the kid in the seat while sticking your arsh out the open door…then my wife asked me what would I do if…and I realized I’d gone “White” (Color Code) on this simple moment.

    Now, I will either get in the car and close the door or be 2/3’s in the car with only one foot out. Thanks to auto-locks, I can lock the other three doors while I’m sliding the kiddo into the car seat too.

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