Ever heard the term? It’s my understanding that it is used at times in circles of the military. Basically it is a term to make it easy to remember. Having self awareness and paying attention to your surroundings is paramount.

I’ve picked up a swivel head doll and twisted his head. Until the spring stops moving he looks like he is shaking his head “no” to about a thousand questions. In essence that is keeping your head on a swivel. Looking back and forth, scanning the area and the people within your vision, possible threats and the like. This is a subtle and easy technique that neither looks paranoid or overly cautious. It just looks like you are aware of all that is going on around you and using your eyes and ears to their fullest.

I would like to challenge you to try it. The next time you are at a local store, remember to keep your head on a swivel. Now this doesn’t mean that if you’re with someone, you have to look ridiculous doing this. Just occasionally scan back and forth and make note of what you see, smell, hear and I dare say taste. Your senses are there for a reason and they can become refined with focused practice.

This reminds me of a police officer wearing a shoulder mike on his uniform. Someone talking to us may wonder how me make heads or tails of all the traffic or what sounds like gibberish coming across the air. Over time we learn to discriminate. We can be on a call, talking to people, talking on a phone, doing many things and all of a sudden the dispatcher says your call sign. You may have only been listening sporadically but you picked that number up as soon as it was call. Not only that, but you hear other important bits of information as well. That type of listening takes practice. When I was a rookie, I remember being in the patrol car and wondering just that, “How the heck am I supposed to know when they are talking to me or when am I supposed to be paying attention.”

That same type of skill can be practiced with your other senses. It will take deliberateness of intent and doing it every chance you get. In time you can hone these skills and you will find yourself picking up little things that maybe you didn’t pay attention to and catch in the past. It might even surprise you in a good way. Keep at it. For yourself and your family it is important.

Take care of each other,

Jeffrey Washington

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