Some people are naturally observant. I’m not one of them. My wife can sprint through a crowded airport on a holiday weekend wearing noise-canceling headphones and then proceed to describe everyone there, who has middle seats on their next flight and which of their kids are taking violin lessons. On the other hand, I could trip over Jabba the Hut playing “I Am the Walrus” on a set of kettledrums and not notice.
What’s the moral of the story? I have to work at situational awareness. No, I mean it. I deliberately have to “switch on” when I’m out and about or the world will pass me by while I remain blissfully unaware. As a result, I’ve had to learn and develop some techniques and hacks to help me spot potentially dangerous anomalies and lifesaving opportunities during my daily travels. Maybe some of these strategies will help you too.