This article defines situational awareness and daydreaming, discusses the helpfulness of both, and discusses when to switch from situational awareness to daydreaming or vice versa. This article also discusses the reasons why, depending upon the environmental circumstances, it can be critical to switch appropriately from one such state of mind to another.
One definition of situational awareness is, “understanding the current environment and being able to accurately anticipate future problems to enable effective actions.” This concentrated awareness of the current environment is a valuable skill that preppers seek to develop. This skill is especially valuable in environments where preppers face possible victimization from the hands of criminals. Kim’s game is one example of a way to train people in the skills of situational awareness.
The opposite state of mind to situational awareness is daydreaming. During an emergency, however, daydreaming is a dangerous state of mind. Nevertheless, this does not mean that daydreaming is never a good state of mind to use.
In the right environment, daydreaming is a helpful state of mind for people. In a safe environment that has minimal distractions, daydreaming helps people to creatively solve problems. This fact has been backed up by research. The solutions for many problems have come to people when they are daydreaming. Such “aha” moments usually occur while daydreamers are idle or while they are doing a low demand activity such as taking a shower.
To daydream productively, the daydreamer should daydream not only about the benefits of a goal, but also about the obstacles to that goal and how the daydreamer can overcome those obstacles. It also helps to be relaxed and in a playful mood. Examples of distractions might be TV programs or video games.
It is very important for people to know when and how to switch between these two states of mind. Understanding the color codes of danger is a good way to develop this ability.
Some people should be more cautious with daydreaming than other people. Younger people, for example, usually have not had as much experience with the dangers of the world as have older people. As another example, travelers might not be as familiar with their destination city as they are with their city of residence. Thus, younger people and travelers should be more conservative about when and where they give themselves permission to daydream.
It is important for people to develop situational awareness, but daydreaming, done appropriately also is a valuable skill and a pleasant way to solve problems. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.”