“I Do Not Fear An Army Of Lions Led By A Sheep, I Do Fear An Army Of Sheep Led By A Lion.”
-Alexander The Great
In our “Situational Awareness” blog we discussed the importance of being able to identify and process information that alerts you to a potential threat. As we said, “It’s paying attention and knowing what’s going on around you!” We also discussed knowing the environment you’re in and learning to read the atmospherics that allow you to be proactive in establishing your defensive posture. We called this “left of bang.”
“Left of bang” is a state of mind, and it’s the first step in developing one’s “street smarts.” It is a way of looking at and assessing the information known about our environment and the atmospherics we are analyzing in real time. It’s knowing when to flip that switch in your head and observing the world through a predator’s eyes and with a survival mindset.
Nikita Khrushchev said, “If you live among wolves you must act like a wolf.” First thing’s first: Predators don’t attack out of the blue, even if their prey feels that way. Statistics say overwhelmingly that a significant percentage of western society view themselves more as victims i.e. “prey” than as predators. What this means is they protect from a defensive mindset rather than an offensive one. But, to be honest, the “prey” mentality is the least effective approach to a threatening situation.
A predator on the other hand follows a pattern of thought and actions that is ingrained within their instinct. Humans by nature are predators, even if most fail to realize it. We have the instinct, but it’s been subdued through social re-engineering from our childhood and continues into our adulthood.
That predatory instinct contains our “sixth sense”, that gut feeling or that tingle that runs up our spine which kept our ancestors alive in a world surrounded by bigger and better predators. Our ancestors believed their predator instincts were important because they knew that their own survival depended on those instincts. With any hostile event, there are indicators and precursors to that attack, but most people fail to identify them.
Society says to be polite, don’t stereotype, don’t profile, stop being paranoid, don’t worry about it, or, if it happens, it happens. That social rewiring suppresses those instinctive weapons that were designed to keep us safe. People are not suspicious, but their activity is. Most of the time people fail to see that activity until it’s far too late. Why? Because our predatory radar is offline or at best set only on the intrusion of our personal space. Good “predatory radar” will detect a threat far enough in advance to allow time and distance to take the appropriate evasive action to avoid a dangerous situation.
In nature, animals are born with a certain destiny; They are either predators or prey. A deer cannot opt to hunt the wolf, or a shark choose to eat seaweed. They are biologically hardwired to be exactly what they are, predator or prey. This is the natural order of things and being predator or prey isn’t a choice,
We, on the other hand, are different. We choose our destiny by the decision to be either prey or predator every day when it comes to getting what we want out of life. Modern society encourages us to pursue a “prey mentality” and in fact places a negative connotation on the word “predator.” We are taught to believe that a predator’s personality traits are bad because they are hard to control, they chase what they want, they go it alone, and their aggressive. In short, predators are dangerous. And while we deem criminals as predators – and accurately so – it’s the heightened awareness and instinct we are all capable of that we look to hone in the predatory sense that can be used not to cause harm but rather to preserve ourselves from it.
Predators are also survivors. A predator follows a pattern of thought and action that is ingrained within their DNA. Humans by nature are predators, even though most don’t realize it. We have the instinct, but as noted it’s been subdued through social re-engineering.
This “prey mentality makes people focus on fending off whatever unpleasantness or misfortune they view as “coming after them”. They are constantly in defense mode and never try to take an offensive point of view. This prey mindset is rooted in fear, which like any human emotion, has its place and function. However, this prey mentality can be very destructive if used improperly or in excess, i.e. “Being that deer in the headlight.”
With a “predator mindset” we alleviate fear and think logically and with reality. Predators think about themselves and what they want. They rationalize the facts, whether they like them or not. Predators accept the situation for what it is and move on undeterred. A predator knows the world is not fair but navigates through it. They know there is more than one way to get something done and what can’t be won today, can be won tomorrow.
In business, war, sports, or nature, the inability to evolve guarantees failure. Surviving in the urban jungle requires adaptability, improvisation and the ability to overcome adversity. Learning to flip that switch in our head and to turn on that “predator mindset” is the foundation stone of “street smarts.” From here you begin to see the ambush points in and around your areas of travel, the people being stalked by criminals or the terrorist looking for a “target of opportunity”.
Developing one’s predator mindset to enhance their street smarts is one of the many personal security modules of training the team at Trident Response Group can provide you, your family or your company. Please come and see us and learn more about our services.