Have you ever walked into a room on a mission to retrieve something important only to stand there and think, ‘What did I come in here for?” how many times have you held your keys and thought, ‘where the heck are my keys?’ Or, with glasses resting on your head, say, “Where did I put them?” Incidents like these are more common than not, especially with age.
We often hear the sage advice to ‘be mindful” daily, which might help with your keys and glasses, but what benefits can being mindful provide you in terms of personal security and self-defense? It allows you to become more deliberate, consistent, and purposeful.
How is being deliberate a valuable tool in your preparedness kit? Most hard skills, such as defensive driving, firearms, and hand-to-hand combatives, require good eye-hand-coordination.
Defensive driving schools teach you the when and how of exigent circumstance acceleration and deceleration and how to execute specific defensive maneuvers, all of which require you to coordinate your hands and feet with your eyes while making split-second vehicular control decisions. All of it requires your undivided attention. The more hairball the situation, the greater the need for mental focus.
It doesn’t even need to be a hairball defensive driving situation. Just trying to park your car in a tight spot or make a super-tight three-point turn can take considerable mental and physical effort. Deliberately making each mechanical movement places your mind ahead of the physical action allowing you greater control of the vehicle both mentally and physically.
In professional firearms training, the body cannot go where the mind has not been. Top-level performance shooting instructors teach, “Reach out to your intended target and touch it with your mind first,” then follow through with rapid and accurate shot placement. Deliberately placing your mind on the target first affords you better control of your muzzle, the sights, and the trigger as part of the shooting process.
In the world of combatives (hand-to-hand, mixed martial arts, defensive tactics, et al.), fight coaches often state, “Watch yourself first accomplish the task with your mind’s eye.” Put it out there mentally. If you can see it clearly with your mind, you can make it happen with your body. Deliberately visualizing and projecting technique with your mind’s eye sets you up mentally to move skillfully against your opponent with conviction and precision.
Consistency is the king of the hard skills world. Being able to execute a pit maneuver or manage a high-speed turn greater than eighty-five percent of the time means being consistent.
It also applies to your gear. Consistency is having your carry bag meet in the middle of your pack. Why? So that no matter where you are and what you’re doing under any level of duress, day or night, you know exactly where they are so that you can reach for the middle of your bag and access those zippers.
You place your same everyday carry (EDC) holstered firearm in the same real estate location on your body for personal carry. The same goes for your mag pouch and your fixed or folding knife.
How is gear consistency beneficial? It builds those kinesthetic movement pathways which push that physical activity toward the subconscious— allowing you to go to the same position without thought or wasted time.
An excellent example is needing to go to guns in a critical high-stress situation when you don’t have the mental bandwidth to focus both on your shooting mechanics and the ever-morphing conditions of a real-world threat engagement.
Consistency with a firearm means that you can repeatedly accomplish the task of firing x number of rounds at x number of targets in x amount of time with a guaranteed x number of hits. If you can do it one time, it could be luck. A second time could be chance. You have achieved repeatable consistency when you do them correctly the third, fourth, and fifth times.
Your defensive shooting skills should be so hardwired that they no longer require thought. That frees up your mind to process relevant information and make split-second life-saving decisions during a dynamic and high-threat firearm response scenario.
Some people stay very busy, constantly on the move and spending copious amounts of time doing lots of things. However, being productive doesn’t necessarily mean making progress. You can be busy as a one-armed man in a wallpaper hanging contest all day. Are those physical activities pushing you toward your intended purpose, or are you simply running around in circles on a hamster wheel?
Clearly defining your goals and objectives allow you to reverse-engineer and streamline your activities to achieve those goals or that objective.
Keeping your mind on task with the intended purpose in your mental sights is like keeping your vision ahead of the curve on a long and winding road. Your car will go where your eyes lead. The same applies to the mind leading the body. The fruit of your present moment physical labor can only come from a preset purpose.
Any trained motor skill requiring mind-body coordination requires you to be deliberate. Consistency is the mark of a master in being able to perform a specific task repeatedly on demand. Being purposeful is to determine your desired result and then build your plan of action to meet that result. The benefits of being mindful reach far beyond the spectrum of self-defense applications and keeping track of your car keys.