I don’t think for a moment that I am the only one out there that has a lot on their plate. I can only run so many 20 hour days before I am just plain worn out. Physically mentally, and even emotionally. I’m not unique in that I eventually wear out. At the same time, I would bet that a lot of the folks that are listening to this podcast tonight are pretty self reliant when it comes to taking care of themselves and their loved ones. It is pretty hard to trust someone else with the valuable commodity that we strive to protect. So what do we do when we have to wind down. Today we are going to take a look at giving ourselves the green light for condition white.
Cooper’s Color Codes
- Condition White – Unaware, not alert, oblivious.
- Condition Yellow – Aware.
- Condition Orange – Alert and aware but with a specific focus.
- Condition Red – Alarm. You are prepared mentally to fight.
I intentionally gave the NRA states of awareness along with the Cooper Colors. I like the nostalgia of the Cooper’s color codes but at the same time, especially when I am teaching the NRA scale is pretty intuitive. Why teach the colors and what they mean when we can just teach what they mean… anyway. Ian Kinder Live Safe Academy .
Those of us in the self-defense and preparedness worlds tend to turn up our noses to those that are unaware or in Condition White. This makes a good bit of sense, but at the same time, it is pretty hypocritical. EVERYONE spends time in their life being unaware whether we want to or not.
When it Comes to Condition White, it isn’t if, it’s When!
Let’s be serious. You are planning on going to bed tonight right? Let’s also realize that life is not perfect. Does you day always go so smoothly that you are able to maintain condition yellow awareness without fail. What about when you are on the side of the road with a flat tire. You are probably in the state of alert, but focused on the FLAT TIRE. What about all the other threats around you? You are unaware. So just these couple of examples show us that the state of being unaware is simply a fact of life. Hopefully our stays in white are appropriate in duration, company and location. Let’s take a look at those parameters.
What is the Appropriate Amount of Time to Move to Unaware?
Have you ever lost the screw out of your eyeglasses, or the pin out of your watch band? Those are pretty common experiences that happen to people that take our focus from the world around us and put it into a relatively small area. We NEED to find that item, or at least that is what we perceive. In that split second that we are watching that watch band pin tumble to the ground in slow motion we are oblivious to the world around us. For all intents and purposes we are in condition white. This happens repeatedly day in and day out as we zero in on potential threats when we move to Alert on situation A we are unaware about B-z that are still happening around us. Unless we need to elevate to FIGHT we must immediately broaden our horizons and bring the rest of the world back into view. We have a split second to evaluate our focus and then we either need to act on in, or move back to aware. See what it around us and then address the issue. If that watch pin drops and is bouncing toward a storm drain and we lunge for it without moving back to aware there are several possible consequences one of which is being slammed by the beer truck that is hauling down the street.
We can also find ourselves in unaware due to other circumstances:
- Being preoccupied with a task
- Distracted with unrelated thoughts
- Environmental factors that obscure sight or sound or both
When we find ourselves being drawn away from awareness toward unawareness we need to recognize it and intentionally refocus ourselves.
In the Right Company, Unaware may be OK
I can’t do it all alone no matter how hard I try and at some point in time, I need to take a break to relax. That is why the company I keep is important. Hving someone that can take your place while you take can make all the difference.
Think about individuals that:
- Have the skills needed to complete the task.
- Have the related knowledge.
- Have earned your trust.
If you find folks that fit the bill it can really be a win win. Remember, everyone needs a break, including the person that is taking over for you. They scratch your back you scratch their back. Pretty simple. For me, most of the time that person is my wife which works out really well as we are together a lot. The problem is, when I’m depending on her to pick up the slack when I relax we aren’t relaxing together. I would encourage you to branch out and develop trusting relationships with other like minded people. Over the course of an outing, a group of four or six adults can rotate through the day or evening keeping an eye on the surroundings. All it would take is, a group of like minded folks and a commitment to do your job when its your turn to do it and making sure those that are on watch aren’t chemically reduced to unawareness!
Look to develop relationships like this over time and remember two important points:
- Our intention here is not to develop some inseparable partnership. If things don’t seem to be working out, walk away. Be slow to give trust and quick to take it away.
- You are always better off picking those that you trust rather than letting them pick you. You are much less likely to be taken advantage of by someone you choose where an individual that chooses you may have chosen you as a target.
Location, Location, Location
At home with the doors and windows closed and locked, pistol in holster and on belt, feet up and relaxed sounds pretty good to me. It is time to turn on the TV or play some cards with friends, you get the idea. Especially when you are in familiar surroundings it wont take much to bump you back to where you need to be in case things turn south. An unfamiliar sound is all it takes to shock you right from unaware to aware, alert or alarm.
We have to be comfortable heading to condition white in our own homes. That is where we spend the most time unaware. In bed asleep. If you are uncomfortable letting your guard down in your home while you are awake, you need to change something before you go to sleep!
Our home is where we have the most control over our environment and it is where we should be able to let it all hang out. The farther we move away from the control whe have in our home, the less time we can afford to spend unaware.