The situation awareness - what is about and how the development of this ability can help us in our lives.
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Situation Awareness: Development Of A Versatile Ability

The situation awareness - what is about and how the development of this ability can help us in our lives.
What does "situation awareness" mean? Situation awareness means understanding what is happening around us so that we can then make the most appropriate decision that will lead us to the achievement of our goals, whatever these goals are as long as they are realistic.

Hitchhiking and in everyday life as well, during the years, I went through different experiences which developed in me this ability. Based on my own experience the situation awareness can be reached in three phases:
1st) whatever is being done, stop doing it;
2nd) observe and analyze what is going on, the actions and their effects;
3rd) decide what is the optimum next thing to do to change the situation in your favor and start doing it.

Someone once said that "only idiots expect different results doing the same thing", which put in other words means that when we pursue a goal many times we have to try different ways to achieve it.

As hitchhiker, I say that the Art of Hitchhiking, based on how I saw its development in myself, is a mix of three ingredients: Attitude, Experience and Luck. Sometimes it can happen that in spite of the right mindset and attitude, in spite of the experience accumulated over the years, in spite of having been in that place 10 times before and knowing it like the palm of my hand, without luck I go nowhere. And if there is no Luck there is nothing to do about it. Some other times, it happens something else: the day starts well, I am lucky, and everything goes well. Up to a point. And that is when I start to think that something must be wrong with what is happening and that I can do something to change the situation in my favor so that I can achieve my goal, which in this case related to hitchhiking consists in reaching the place where I want to go. This is the point when the situation awareness steps in: I can change the situation, first by observing, analyzing and understanding what is going on and then by doing something different than what I did up to that moment.

When I realize that something must be wrong, I become aware of the present situation by analyzing the events that happened in the time frame between the moment when I started pursuing my goal and the present moment. This is what situation awareness is about: being aware of what is happening so that we can then change the situation in our favor to reach our goal.

Here is an example of a simple hitchhiking fact that happened to me once but which had relevant effects on my trip of that day.
In September 2014 was colder than in other years and I was hitchhiking on an European road on which I have hitchhiked many other times before. Dressed in layers, as outer layer I worn a light-blue t-shirt, which inspired serenity in the drivers that noticed me on the road and made them stop to give me a ride thinking that I must be a friendly person, while as inner layer I thought to wear a long-sleeves t-shirt to keep my arms warmer, but since I had no bright colors I put a black one. In the early afternoon, as it got warmer, I removed the light-blue t-shirt I worn in the morning leaving on me only the long-sleeves black one, but as I was focused on getting rides I quickly removed the blue one not paying attention to the fact that now I was looking like a man dressed in black - and if we consider the importance of colors in our life, black together with all the other dark colors convey fear to our subconscious - which made people not stop to give me rides for the next few hours. After a while that I was not getting rides anymore, I finally started analyzing the situation asking myself why this was happening: I was in a good spot where vehicles could stop, I was sure that the people in the area where I was used to easily take hitchhikers, I was visible from enough distance, and then when I analyzed myself the answer was crystal clear - people felt scared of giving rides to a stranger dressed in black simply because black conveys fear. At this point, becoming aware of what was going on, I reached the situation awareness. Now I had to react to the situation I found myself in and change it in order to reach my goal (get rides, in this context). I put on my light-blue t-shirt again and 2 minutes later I was in a vehicle having a conversation with a nice driver and enjoying the ride.
Is a simple example, but I believe that conveys the message quite well: when something goes not as we want it to go, to get a different result we must do something different than what we did up to that point.

If You are hitchhiking and You get stuck, based on my experience accumulated during the years, I can say that there is always a reason why it happened - it could be the location, the people living in that place, the time, or You. After a while, if You see that what You have been doing since You got to that spot leads You nowhere, then don't insist thinking that a miracle will happen, because it won't and You will only waste your time and your energy. Instead, stop doing it and try to become aware of your situation by applying the three phases I mentioned above. Then try a new technique by doing something different than what You did up to that moment.

Of course, the situation awareness is an ability that once developed can be applied to many aspects of our lives, not only to hitchhiking, as is versatile. It enables us to achieve our goals faster. In time, based on how I noticed this versatile ability developing in myself I can say also that its accuracy is connected with our personal experience in the field we are applying it: the more experience we have in a certain field the more our situation awareness will be accurate in that field. This is relevant to keep in mind when we are engaged in an activity as members of a team or group of people, for example when hitchhiking with someone else, as in this case what is perceived should be communicated to the one in the group or team who is most experienced and let that person estimate the accuracy of the situation awareness in order to minimize the risk of failure that the new decision concerning the next optimum thing to do could imply.



Written by Claudio Adriano Dobre, 2014
People who met me say...

Hitchhiker and Adventurer from Europe
"Meeting with Adriano is like charging yourself with a positive attitude that leads to happiness and success and can change your whole life. With that I am saying that people like Adriano will never be lost. He will always find a way how to enjoy the time that he has for himself and others and get the most out of it, even if he is alone in the middle of nowhere."
~
Liva Juskevica